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Emerging Enterprise Award 2018 looks to shine the spotlight on a new crop of young businesses

Singapore, 3 April 2018 - Benjamin Barker, Secret Lab and The Golden Duck. These are just some notable businesses that have been a part of the Emerging Enterprise Awards, and more businesses will be joining their ranks soon with the Emerging Enterprise Award 2018 (EE 2018), now open for applications. This is Singapore's only business award that reaches out to businesses with annual sales turnover of up to S$20 million per annum.

In order to qualify for EE 2018, companies must have been in operations for at most 10 years and a minimum of 30 per cent of shareholdings must be owned by Singaporeans or Singapore Permanent Residents. 

Jointly organised by Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) financial daily, The Business Times, and OCBC Bank, the annual award was launched in 2008 to recognise small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have been outstanding in their respective fields and to provide these deserving businesses with the needed resources to build on their capabilities for further growth. 

EE 2018 is also supported by Mastercard, Acorn Marketing and Research Consultants, Singtel, INSEAD, Wavemaker, Enterprise Singapore and the official auditor, RSM. 

Based on the positive response from last year's EE, there will once again be roundtables moderated by senior journalists of The Business Times covering topics on the state of entrepreneurship in Singapore and skills and leadership development. 

SMEs are key pillars in Singapore's economy. There are about 217,800 SMEs* in Singapore which makes up about 99 per cent of the total enterprise population in Singapore and contribute to nearly half of the nation's GDP. SMEs also play a significant role in the creation of jobs as they employ about 65 per cent of the nation's workforce. With Singapore's economic success closely tied to the continued vibrancy of the SME sector, it is paramount that the SMEs continue to build their business capabilities and raise the bar for business excellence. 
(*SMEs, as defined by Enterprise Singapore, are defined as enterprises with annual sales turnover of not more than $100 Mil or employment of not more than 200 workers.)

Up to three winners stand a chance to win the coveted Emerging Enterprise Winner title and prizes comprising professional and consultancy services, executive educational programmes and support in capability development offered by the respective EE 2018 partners. 
  • S$200,000 interest-free Business Overdraft facility from OCBC Bank 
  • S$20,000 credit in the OCBC Business Debit Card and a Mastercard Priceless Experiences travel package worth S$30,000, totalling S$50,000 per winner 
  • Strategic Brand & Product Development Research Package from Acorn Marketing & Research Consultants worth S$30,000 per winner 
  • Open Enrolment Programme Package from INSEAD worth S$30,000 per winner 
  • Consulting Package for Growing Businesses from RSM worth S$30,000 per winner 
  • Support from Enterprise Singapore in capability development 
As in past years, EE 2018 will also continue its tradition of honouring excellence in innovation and recognising promising startups through its Best Innovation Award and Most Promising Startup Award. 

Singtel and OCBC will present up to two winners with the Best Innovation Award. This award recognises emerging enterprises which have a strong culture towards innovation. Each winner will receive up to S$30,000 worth of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) business solutions package from Singtel and an interest-free Business Overdraft facility worth S$50,000 from OCBC. 

One company below three years old stands to walk away with the Most Promising Startup Award, which honours aspiring enterprises with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and has a commercially viable and sustainable product idea. In order to support younger companies in their marketing efforts, the prize package for this award has been enhanced. The winner will receive a digital consulting package and media inventory worth a total of S$50,000 from media agency Wavemaker, compared to the digital consulting package worth S$30,000 for last year’s edition. 

Emerging enterprises that meet the qualifying criteria will have until Friday, 1 June 2018 to apply. For more information on EE 2018, please visit

Quotes by EE 2018 Award Organisers and Partners

Mr Wong Wei Kong, Editor of The Business Times, said: "The EE award has served to empower startups and young enterprises for the past 10 years, by recognising their achievements and offering them the resources to expand their capabilities and scale up. It is undisputed that these young businesses will continue to play a vital role in the development of Singapore's economic growth and it is heartening to see our partners working together to provide them with a platform to propel their growth. On that note, as Singapore's only financial daily, BT will also continue to contribute and support the aspirations of these young enterprises through the EE award, and showcase their inspiring success stories."

Ms. Christie Chu, Head of Emerging Business, Global Commercial Banking, OCBC Bank, said: “The 10th edition of the Emerging Enterprise Awards last year was a milestone for us. As we start on the next decade of recognising young businesses and their achievements, we look forward to meeting Singapore’s next crop of promising entrepreneurs. Innovation and digitisation continue to be key themes so we hope that participating businesses will be able to share their ideas and learn from each other in order to better take advantage of resulting growth opportunities in Singapore and beyond.”

Ms Deborah Heng, Country Manager, Mastercard Singapore, said: “Mastercard has enabled many SMEs to succeed by equipping them with the right tools and processes as well as the mentorship they need to grow their business. In a highly competitive entrepreneurial space, it is important to acknowledge the enterprising spirit of SMEs that drives them to continually innovate, and initiatives like the Emerging Enterprise Awards play a key role in doing this. We are excited to support these awards and look forward to seeing the next big innovation.”

Mr Kwan Chong Wah, Founder, Acorn Marketing and Research Consultants Group, said: "Every year we have the opportunity to meet the most talented and entrepreneurial SMEs in Singapore at the Emerging Enterprise Award. We continue to be awed by the array of talent, innovation and achievements of these SMEs. It is gratifying to see how some of these SMEs have grown to take centre stage not just locally but abroad as well. The Acorn Marketing and Consultancy Group with offices in 11 countries in the region, are happy to be part of the Emerging Enterprise in providing the continual support to these home grown SMEs as they continue their growth here and regionally."

Mr Andrew Lim, Managing Director, Business Group, Group Enterprise, Singtel said: “As Singapore develops into a Smart Nation, technology is a key enabler which can give home-grown SMEs the much-needed boost to expand beyond our shores. Singtel is delighted to support the Best Innovation Award and committed to help SMEs harness technology and thrive in the digital economy through our suite of infocomm technology solutions and emerging technology such as the Internet of Things.”

Ms Mary Kwan, Regional Director Asia Pacific, Executive Education, INSEAD, said: "At INSEAD Executive Education, we are committed to helping Singapore’s promising SMEs embrace a culture of lifelong learning and develop entrepreneurial networks that will take their businesses to new heights. We are once again honoured to be the education partner of the Emerging Enterprise Award for the fifth year. Through the INSEAD-sponsored prize, which invites this year’s winners to take part in our Executive Education programmes, we hope to share with these companies our expertise and insight into the fundamental principles of growing and sustaining a new business, with the aim of helping them transform into globally competitive organisations."

Mr Kaka Singh, Chairman and Senior Partner, RSM, said: "RSM is delighted to be part of the collective driving force of the Emerging Enterprise Award to help fuel promising SMEs’ growth ambitions and help them stay ahead of the competition."

Ms Chew Mok Lee, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, ICM & Digitalisation, Enterprise Services & New Industries, Enterprise Singapore: "Over the years, the Emerging Enterprise Awards has helped to shine the spotlight on young, innovative and resourceful companies and to celebrate their entrepreneurial spirit.  As SPRING Singapore and IE Singapore merge to form Enterprise Singapore, we aim to provide streamlined and one-stop assistance to companies – be it upgrading their business capability or growing their international footprint. We are excited to work with companies participating in this award in their journey to become globally recognised brand names."
Mr Puneet Arora, CEO of GroupM Singapore, Philippines and Thailand said: “As the world’s leading media investment group, we believe in driving progression and innovation for the media industry. Likewise, we support young and aspiring start-ups who share the same ethos, strive to be game changers and want to contribute to delivering greater value in their industries. We are proud to be sponsors of the Emerging Enterprise Award 2018.”

Quotes from previous year's winners and finalists

Mr Ian Ang and Mr Alaric Choo, co-founders of Secretlab SG Pte Ltd (Winner of the Emerging Enterprise Award 2017) said: “The Emerging Enterprise Awards’ judging process made us ask ourselves hard questions and scrutinize our business plans – and we are definitely better off because of it. The recognition and support that comes with winning the award will also go a long way towards helping us grow.”
Mr Damien Tan, Chief Operating Officer, The Benjamin Barker Group (Winner of the Emerging Enterprise Award 2016) said: “The prizes from the Emerging Enterprise Awards are generous and relevant to businesses. We have used RSM’s consulting package to develop a customised cash flow management framework and attended INSEAD courses that have equipped us with the tools to shape our corporate strategic direction. These measures have truly made an impact on our business.”

Chris Hwang, co-founder and director, The Golden Duck Co. (Winner of the Most Promising Startup Award 2017) said: "The Emerging Enterprise Awards has given us a chance to stand amongst the business leaders of tomorrow. This was a golden opportunity for us - definitely a must-do for any emerging enterprise in Singapore." 


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Ms Liew Aiqing
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About The Business Times 

The Business Times, a member of the Singapore Press Holdings group, is South-east Asia's leading financial daily. BT brings to its readers daily corporate, financial, economic and political news, analysis and commentary on print and digital platforms. It provides readers with in-depth coverage of Singapore and Asian business and economic developments, as well as global trends that impact Singapore business. BT's lifestyle journalists bring busy executives the latest in recreation, entertainment, the arts, design, food and shopping. 

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Twitter: @BTbreakingnews

About OCBC Bank

OCBC Bank is the longest established Singapore bank, formed in 1932 from the merger of three local banks, the oldest of which was founded in 1912. It is now the second largest financial services group in Southeast Asia by assets and one of the world’s most highly-rated banks, with an Aa1 rating from Moody’s. Recognised for its financial strength and stability, OCBC Bank is consistently ranked among the World’s Top 50 Safest Banks by Global Finance and has been named Best Managed Bank in Singapore by The Asian Banker.

OCBC Bank and its subsidiaries offer a broad array of commercial banking, specialist financial and wealth management services, ranging from consumer, corporate, investment, private and transaction banking to treasury, insurance, asset management and stockbroking services.

OCBC Bank’s key markets are Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Greater China. It has more than 600 branches and representative offices in 18 countries and regions. These include over 330 branches and offices in Indonesia under subsidiary Bank OCBC NISP, and more than 100 branches and offices in Hong Kong, China and Macao under OCBC Wing Hang.

OCBC Bank’s private banking services are provided by its wholly-owned subsidiary Bank of Singapore, which operates on a unique open-architecture product platform to source for the best-in-class products to meet its clients’ goals.  

OCBC Bank's insurance subsidiary, Great Eastern Holdings, is the oldest and most established life insurance group in Singapore and Malaysia. Its asset management subsidiary, Lion Global Investors, is one of the largest private sector asset management companies in Southeast Asia. 

OCBC Bank has a long history of supporting SMEs. Our successful partnerships with them have helped us earn the following accolades: 
  • Best Small Business Bank by The Asian Banker – 2018
  • Asia’s Best Bank for SMEs by Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2016 – 2017
  • Best Bank for SMEs in Singapore by Asiamoney 2017
  • ASEAN SME Bank of the Year by the Asia Banking & Finance, 2011 – 2017 
  • Best SME Bank in Southeast Asia by Alpha Southeast Asia, 2013 – 2017 
  • Best SME Bank in Singapore by Alpha Southeast Asia 2010, 2012 – 2017
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