Borden Company Pte Ltd, a home-grown pharmaceutical manufacturing company won first place in the 2014 Enterprise 50 (E50) Awards this evening. Coming in second place was Sunray Woodcraft Construction Pte Ltd, followed by Vigcon Construction Pte Ltd which was ranked third.
The E50 Awards celebrated its 20th anniversary with a gala dinner that was held at the Resorts World Sentosa Convention Centre. Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, presented the awards to Singapore's 50 most enterprising privately-owned companies.
The E50 Awards aims to celebrate the achievements of local enterprises and highlight the positive contributions of these enterprises to the local economy.
Celebrating two decades of entreprenuerial success
Over the years, local, privately-owned companies have played a vital role in Singapore's economy. Their vision, entrepreneurship and determination provided the second wing that propelled Singapore's economic development.
Jointly organised for the past seven years by KPMG and The Business Times, the E50 Awards has provided the list of promising, highly-regarded local companies to watch out for. The success of the E50 Awards is dependent on the companies coming forward to nominate themselves. This is because unlike public listed companies, it is the private companies themselves that are the sole source of their company's financial accounts.
Said Mr Owi Kek Hean, Deputy Managing Partner and Head of Enterprise Market Segment at KPMG in Singapore: "The E50 Awards began as a vision shared by the organisers, supporting organisers and sponsor to create an award that would allow us to recognise and reward the most enterprising privately-owned local companies.
Twenty years later, the core mission remains the same. An enterprise that knows how to adjust its operational procedures to meet environmental concerns, and in the process grow its profits, will stand out. I extend my heartiest congratulations to our winners."
Mr Alvin Tay, Editor of The Business Times, said: "The E50 Awards acknowledges the contributions of our local enterprises to Singapore's growth and development. The Business Times is supportive of our SMEs and has championed their achievements through its dedicated editorial coverage. Having benchmarked themselves against the rigourous criteria set, this year's 50 winners are well-positioned to thrive in today's challenging economic conditions and in the years ahead."
For the first time, the E50 Awards is presenting the 10-Year Award to trading firm Wee Tiong (S) Pte Ltd for winning the award for ten consecutive years. Though the firm has seen various changes to its business model over the years, the management has adapted itself with a forward-looking approach that has enabled the company to enjoy its present success.
Restructuring not easy, but beneficial
In tandem with the sectors' productivity growth rates this year, there were more E50 companies from the export-oriented sectors such as manufacturing, engineering services and wholesale trade, with the industry composition for wholesale trade rising two-fold from 8 to 16 percent.
According to research figures from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, domestic productivity remains stagnant nearly four years after the Government began its decisive shift towards productivity-driven. While export-oriented sectors posted healthy productivity growth, overall productivity was dragged down by productivity declines in the domestically-oriented sectors such as retail trade and construction.
Mr Owi said: "Many of these companies that I spoke to are struggling to cope with the tightening on manpower supply, and are facing challenges in improving their work processes and moving up the value-chain.
I believe this situation will improve as companies are increasingly taking up the productivity incentive schemes. This year, many of our winners have tapped onto these schemes to restructure and strengthen productivity amidst a tight labour market. The restructuring journey will not be easy, but will be beneficial to all enterprises.
With the advent of new markets, empowering technology and new attitudes, today's entrepreneurs are challenged to a degree never experienced by their counterparts in the past. Leaders that are visionary - acting as much for today as it does for the future – this is the entrepreneurship that any awards henceforth should celebrate", concluded Mr Owi.
The applicants this year were evaluated and ranked using both quantitative and qualitative criteria. Quantitative factors included financial performance indicators such as operating profit before tax, turnover and profit growth. The qualitative criteria included management and marketing strategies such as the applicants' business model and their innovations, management ideals and governance, market branding and overall potential.
The judging panel comprised senior management representatives from KPMG, The Business Times, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and SPRING Singapore. OCBC Bank marks its return as the main sponsor of the E50 Awards for the ninth year running, affirming its commitment to partner businesses for growth.
Mr Linus Goh, Head of Global Commercial Banking, OCBC Bank, said: "This year's winners continue to raise the bar, excelling with clear vision, innovation and effective cross-border management as they venture beyond home markets into new regions. There is strong evidence of a seasoned approach to delivering growth and transformation even in an uneven business climate. We congratulate the 2014 E50 winners, and look forward to continue our partnership with them as they scale even greater heights."
Mr Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, IDA, said: "IDA congratulates the E50 winners. Tech is becoming more and more pervasive both as an operations enabler and as a critical market development key. Enterprises that effectively use tech for business innovation and transformation will compete well and thrive in these conditions. We are glad that many SMEs are already investing in tech and we are happy to work with more SMEs to help on their journey."
Mr Teo Eng Cheong, CEO of IE Singapore, said: "Overseas expansion continues to be critical for Singapore companies of all sizes seeking to grow. Such companies with global mindsets contribute to our economy through generating good jobs, revenues and spinoffs to Singapore's economy. IE Singapore will continue to help these companies by providing access to markets, financing and building up their capabilities for internationalisation."
Mr Victor Tay, Chief Operating Officer, Singapore Business Federation said: "We are heartened to see a group of new enterprises populating the top 10 ranking in the E50 Awards. This rejuvenates the awards which is widely perceived as the cradle to recognize companies with public listing potential.
This year's E50 winners have shown exemplary leadership triumphing global economic challenges and domestic restructuring constraints. Their entrepreneurial attitudes will serve as role models to spur the collective Singapore business community to transform to the changing economic landscape with resilience and competitiveness. As the apex business chamber, the Singapore Business Federation will continue to assist companies in their quest to build capabilities and expand overseas businesses."
Mr Tan Kai Hoe, CE of SPRING Singapore, said: "I would like to congratulate this year's winners for their outstanding achievements. SPRING Singapore will continue to help local enterprises build capabilities and seize new opportunities in global markets; we support awards such as E50 as it showcases excellent companies which can be examples for Singapore SMEs to emulate."
For further information please contact:
Marketing & Communications, KPMG in Singapore
Tel: +65 6507 1546 / 8189 1640
Yeo Siew Chi
Corporate Communications, Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Tel: +65 6319 1586 / 9749 5105