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Emerging Enterprise 2010 takes on a larger scale with prize winnings of S$1.2 million

New partners, Acorn Marketing and Research and, SingTel join panel of partners; launch of new Best Innovation Award

Monday, 11 January 2010 – Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH) financial daily, The Business Times, and OCBC Bank today launched the annual Emerging Enterprise 2010 (EE2010). Into its third year, EE2010 is supported by SPRING Singapore and NUS Extension. RSM Chio Lim is the official auditor for EE2010.

As Singapore’s only annual entrepreneurial award that reaches out to the smaller enterprises with sales turnover of less than $10 million per annum, EE2010 returns with increased winnings of S$1.2 million. Up to three winners stand a chance to receive prizes worth S$390,000 comprising an interest-free loan, educational and development grants, business consulting services, as well as brand and product development research services. A Best Innovation Award is also introduced to celebrate and recognise the spirit of innovation amongst our homegrown enterprises.

This year, EE2010 has garnered the support of two new partners, Acorn Marketing and Research and SingTel, both of which are well-established names in their respective industries. Acorn Marketing and Research will offer each winner S$30,000 worth of brand and product development research services, while SingTel will sponsor the Best Innovation Award, amounting to S$30,000 in business infocomm technology solutions, for one winner.

According to various market estimates, there are about 160,000 enterprises in Singapore and SMEs make up 99% of them. Of these, around 10% have a yearly turnover of S$10 million and above. The remaining 90% are mainly small or start-up businesses which would require additional resources and wholehearted support from many quarters, including financing, business advice and technology, in order to develop to their full potential. It is this group of SMEs that the award aims to reach out to.

Taking into account feedback from past participants, EE2010 has amended the qualifying and judging criteria to better reflect the diverse issues and challenges faced by SMEs in an increasingly dynamic business landscape. These amendments ensure that more SMEs will be able to take part in this year’s Award to acquire the resources and expert professional assistance for them to realise and develop their business capabilities.

Some of the notable revisions include

  1. The minimum paid-up capital of $50,000 applicable for private limited companies is no longer required
  2. The minimum annual turnover criteria of S$1.5 million has been removed, allowing companies with annual sales turnover of not more than S$10 million as at the last financial year a chance to participate in EE2010
  3. Instead of having to wait for two years, promising companies can now participate in EE2010 as long as they have been in operation for at least one year

This year, five more promising emerging enterprises stand a chance to vie for the top three positions. Instead of 10 top finalists, we will be shortlisting 15 top finalists for the final round of judging.

Similar to last year’s event format, 15 top finalists will be shortlisted to make their presentations in early May 2010 to the judging panel made up of representatives from EE2010’s partners. Up to three winners and one Best Innovation Award winner will be honoured in an award ceremony in mid May 2010.

Mr Alvin Tay, Editor of The Business Times (BT), said “BT’s expanded editorial coverage on SME issues reflects our strong belief in the sector's vital role as a key driver of Singapore’s economic growth and a creator of value through differentiated products and services. We have been pleased with the response to the Emerging Enterprise Award in its first 2 years, particularly the quality of the winners and the finalists. As co-presenter and media partner of EE2010, BT will continue to champion the SMEs’ success stories and recognise their achievements.”

With a long tradition of supporting the homegrown enterprises, OCBC Bank is one of the first banks to focus on serving the needs of the emerging businesses. The Bank is proud to return as the co-organiser of EE2010 for the third year running.

Said Mr Tan Chor Sen, Head of Emerging Business, Enterprise Banking, OCBC Bank: “This Award goes beyond providing the winners with funding as the prize winnings also provide the know-how to further build on their capabilities and bring their business to the next level. It also validates the efforts and credibility of the winners and open opportunities for them – new business partners, new markets and equity sponsors – as they grow and compete with the bigger players in the business arena.

By giving these businesses due recognition, we hope to inspire more thriving emerging businesses to scale greater heights and build their businesses into world-class brand names.”

As a show of its confidence in the potential of the winners, OCBC Bank also has the option to invest in the award recipients’ businesses and help them grow to their fullest potential.

Said Mr George Lee, Head, Group Investment Banking, OCBC Bank: “Despite a difficult 2009, we supported Emerging Enterprise 2009 and funded the 3 winning companies, helping them expand their businesses. I am pleased that we could continue our support this year, in EE2010, to once again reach out to the smaller enterprises, recognizing their achievements and rewarding them with tangible assistance and resources to help them grow. Now in its third year, this award program has become a key event in the calendars of many small businesses that I know of, and has encouraged many companies to vie for the winning positions. Every year, I look forward to meeting these entrepreneurs and never fail to be impressed by their business acumen, determination and perseverance. Together with Business Times and this year's co-partners, I look forward to honouring more small business entrepreneurs through EE2010.”

Other than the organisers, The Emerging Enterprise Awards is made possible with support from likeminded partners, including SPRING Singapore, RSM Chio Lim, NUS Extension, Acorn Marketing and Research and SingTel. Here is what our partners have to say:

Ms Chew Mok Lee, Group Director (Entrepreneurship & Innovation), SPRING Singapore:

“SPRING’s support for EE 2010 is in line with our objective of nurturing innovative startups to groom them into growth-oriented enterprises. We want to help emerging enterprises, especially the innovative ones, to build and enhance their capabilities to drive their future growth. We urge promising SMEs to come forward to participate in EE 2010.”

Mr Lim Lee Meng, Senior Partner of RSM Chio Lim:

"2009 witnessed the financial storm of the decade. The resilient who braved the storm can now relish the opportunities that are starting to emerge. EE2010 is one of them that is greeting emerging enterprises in the new year. RSM Chio Lim is pleased to be the official auditor for the third year to help unearth the gems among survivors of the storm."

Mr James Tay, Director NUS Extension:

“Higher education excellence will continue to be NUS Extension’s primary differentiator into 2010 and beyond. By extending our expertise to EE2010 winners as they transform strategic business initiatives into successful businesses, the partnership between NUS Extension and SMEs will enable them to take on growth opportunities as the regional economies recover.”

Mr Danny Lai, Country Business Manager for Acorn Marketing and Research in Singapore:

"Having started out as a small local business ourselves, we have a first hand understanding of the many challenges, and aspirations, of being an emerging business. As such, we stand with OCBC in supporting and recognizing the great potential which small businesses hold. The foundational research program we are providing as part of this award seeks to help the business recognise the value and potential of building their brands, products and services from an ongoing and active understanding of their current and prospective customers."

Mr Dumas Chin, Vice President for Business Sales, SingTel:

“Despite the recent flow of positive sentiments, SMEs still face the challenge of growing their businesses in an uncertain environment. Nonetheless, we believe SMEs are looking at ways to benefit from the projected market recovery.

SingTel is pleased to present the Best Innovation Award to motivate SMEs to seek out innovative ways to ride on the market momentum. It could be in business modeling to gain an edge over competition, the use of ICT solutions to reach out to their customers or reduce its operating costs. We believe innovation is already happening and we hope this award will surface the best from within the SME community.”

Starting from today till 12 March 2010, SMEs that meet the qualifying criteria can register for the award and submit their business plans. For more information on Emerging Enterprise 2010, visit

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About Business Times

The Business Times (BT), a member of the Singapore Press Holdings group, is South-east Asia's leading business daily. It is Singapore’s only financial daily and provides a complete guide on the local, regional and international business scene.

BT brings to its readers each day a comprehensive and concise package of corporate, financial, economic and political news, analysis and commentary. BT also carries features and the latest lifestyle trends in food, entertainment, shopping, arts, health, travel and design.

In June 1995, BT became the first English-language newspaper in Asia to go on the World Wide Web. Since January 2000, BT Online started to be available from 4am Singapore time (GMT +0800) and to offer news updates throughout the day.

Redesigned in September 2004 to engage a new generation of readers, a refreshing blue masthead, bigger fonts and friendlier layout were introduced. The content has been expanded to reflect a complete read, packing in loads of new features, such as speciality pages, a daily take on the health of the Singapore economy and dedicated regional pages.

For more information, visit

About OCBC Bank

OCBC Bank, established in 1912, is the second largest financial services group in Southeast Asia by assets. It is among the world's highest rated banks, with a long term credit rating of Aa1 from Moody's. OCBC Bank and its subsidiaries offer a broad array of specialist financial services, ranging from consumer, corporate, investment, private and transaction banking to treasury, insurance, asset management and stockbroking services.

OCBC Banks key markets are Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Greater China. It has a network of more than 490 branches and representative offices in 15 countries and territories, including 390 branches and offices in Indonesia operated by its subsidiary, Bank OCBC NISP.

OCBC Bank's insurance subsidiary, Great Eastern Holdings, is the largest insurance group in Singapore and Malaysia by assets, and its asset management subsidiary, Lion Global Investors, is one of the largest private sector asset management companies in Southeast Asia.

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