50 local companies celebrated for enterprising spirit and adaptability to change

50 local companies celebrated for enterprising spirit

Onn Wah Precision Engineering leads the pack; Many companies moving away from short- to a long-term growth


Singapore’s 50 most enterprising companies for 2017 were announced at the Enterprise 50 (E50) Awards Presentation and Gala Dinner this evening. Leading the pack this year is Onn Wah Precision Engineering Pte Ltd. Agribusiness firm Robust International Pte Ltd clinched the second place, while Expand Construction Pte Ltd followed in third place.

Themed “Innovate, Grow & Succeed: Staying Competitive In Today’s Economy’, the winners of the annual E50 Awards stood out from their competitors by building sustainable businesses at a time of global economic upheaval and challenging business conditions, both abroad and domestically. The awards were presented by Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat at the Resorts World Convention Centre.

Organised by KPMG in Singapore and The Business Times, the highly-coveted annual awards have been firmly established as a benchmark for excellence in today’s business environment. The E50 Awards is supported by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, Singapore Business Federation (SBF), SPRING Singapore and Singapore Exchange (SGX). OCBC Bank is the main sponsor.

Mr Jonathan Ho, Partner and Head of Enterprise at KPMG in Singapore said: “Profitability aside, the winning companies have demonstrated strong business acumen, innovation and leadership. They have adopted an innovative mindset to do business differently for long term growth, including relooking at their processes and business operations. This suggests many companies are aiming to grow their businesses rather than simply focusing on managing their costs.

“The key challenges have not changed in the last three to five years, but the focus, in terms of how local enterprises have overcome these challenges, has. The E50 winners are a testament to the strength and resilience of entrepreneurship in Singapore”, added Mr Ho.

Mr Wong Wei Kong, Editor of The Business Times, said: “The E50 Awards has continually recognised the efforts of local enterprises in contributing to Singapore’s economic development. This year’s E50 winners have clearly displayed that they understand the value of innovative transformation which will enable them to thrive in today’s increasingly competitive landscape. Despite this period of global economic disruption, they have well-positioned themselves for success with their relentless drive and tremendous resilience. The Business Times congratulates all the E50 awards recipients for their remarkable achievements and will continue to support our SMEs through our dedicated editorial coverage.”


Entrepreneurial success

This year saw 30 new winners across a diverse range of industries – among them a private education institution, a food and beverage (F&B) company, and a company that provides printing and packaging services. These three companies also made it to the top 10 on the list.

The manufacturing sector made up a larger percentage of winners (18 per cent) as the sector kept up its strong pace of growth. There were also more F&B companies among the winners, with an 8 per cent increase compared to last year.

Trading firm Sudima International; Feinmetall Singapore Pte Ltd, a precision engineering enterprise; and Omni United (S) Pte Ltd, a tire manufacturer and distributor were recognised with a 5-year award, which is presented to companies who have made it to the E50 list for five years.

Vector Infotech Pte Ltd was conferred the ‘Enterprise 50 Special Recognition Award – Internationalisation’. This award is presented to a company which is able to identify its competitive advantage and leverage on its capabilities to seize overseas opportunities.

The panel of judges comprised of senior management from KPMG, The Business Times, IE Singapore, SBF and SPRING Singapore.

Participants were evaluated against a rigorous set of quantitative and qualitative criteria. Quantitative factors include financial performance indicators such as operating profit before tax, turnover and profit growth, while qualitative criteria include management and marketing strategies such as the applicants' business model and their innovations, management ideals and governance and overall potential.


Innovative growth strategies

This year, a greater emphasis was also placed on the company’s efforts to implement effective and innovative growth strategies in today’s fast-changing business environment.

Given Singapore’s small domestic market, many E50 companies are looking to build scale and access to new markets. They have shown that innovation and going digital does not have to involve a major business restructuring. Rather, it is about how these strategies are applied to serve customers better. Mao Sheng Quanji Construction Pte Ltd and Ya Kun (S) Pte Ltd are examples of how companies go beyond technological advancements to focus on new products and services to meet customer demands.

It is also noted that many of the E50 winners this year have adopted corporate governance and risk management practices to value-add their businesses. Resources are allocated on a consistent basis to sustain and to mature the risk management practices within the company.

Mr Ho commented: “We are happy to see more local enterprises adopting sound corporate governance principles no matter their size. While often associated with larger listed companies, adopting even basic corporate governance principles can also help smaller businesses grow more sustainably.” 


Quotes from E50’s sponsor and supporting organisations

“Against a backdrop of growing digitalisation and disruption, this year’s E50 Award winners have demonstrated their agility and perseverance. Leveraging technology, these companies have continued to challenge and refine their business models, and innovated to find new ways to differentiate and grow for the long term. We at OCBC are proud to be the E50 Award sponsor for the 12th year, and of the strategic partnerships that we have built with our SME customers honoured each year.” - Mr Linus Goh, Head, Global Commercial Banking, OCBC Bank

“This year’s E50 Internationalisation Award goes to Vector InfoTech, for its continuous efforts to seek overseas growth. Recognising the limitations of Singapore’s domestic market, Vector InfoTech aggressively explored a global strategy early on; its overseas sales now account for 40% of total revenue. Having built presence in over 10 locations worldwide, it did not rest on its laurels and is now riding on global opportunities such as the Belt and Road Initiative to expand into Central Asia. This is an inspiring case of how an SME can adapt and break into new markets. IE Singapore will work closely with Singapore companies like Vector InfoTech to innovate and scale up globally.” - Mr Satvinder Singh, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, IE Singapore

“SBF congratulates all E50 winners on their accomplishments. Against the backdrop of slower growth and disruptions across businesses and markets, it is encouraging that this year’s E50 cohort has risen to the challenges and are primed for long-term growth. SBF, as the apex business chamber, remains committed to help Singapore enterprises transform and build on their competitive edge and relevance.” – Mr Ho Meng Kit, CEO, Singapore Business Federation

“SPRING congratulates all winners of this year’s E50 Awards and is delighted to join everyone in celebrating the success of these enterprising companies for their pursuit of excellence and growth. These companies leveraged innovation to enhance their capabilities and create sustainable growth. We hope the Award would inspire more companies to push the boundaries and grow into regionally or globally competitive companies.” - Mr Ted Tan, Deputy Chief Executive, SPRING Singapore

“SGX congratulates this year’s E50 award winners, who have demonstrated their ability to innovate and adapt their business models to thrive in rapidly changing operating environments. We are committed to support the funding needs of our home-grown business champions as they scale and expand at each stage of their journey. Many past award recipients have successfully listed on SGX — last year’s winner Acromec was one example and a few of this year’s winners are also working towards an IPO. We look forward to having more great local companies for the public to invest in.” - Mr Chew Sutat, Head of Equities and Fixed Income at SGX


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