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27 Singaporean Entrepreneurs Win Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2016



Twenty-seven prominent entrepreneurs and business leaders from Singapore were named awardees of the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2016 at a glittering gala dinner at Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel.

Over 300 attendees were present at the by-invitation only event, comprising of industry leaders, leading entrepreneurs and dignitaries including Mr. Seah Kian Peng, Member of Parliament, His Excellency Mr. Nimal Weeraratne, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Singapore, Mr. Victorio Mario M Dimagiba, Jr., Consul General of the Philippines, Tan Sri Dr. Fong Chan Onn, Chairman of Enterprise Asia, and Dato’ William Ng, President of Enterprise Asia.

The Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards, or APEA, is a regional recognition program organized by Enterprise Asia, the region’s foremost association and think-tank for entrepreneurship. The Awards are presented to a handful of entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific each year, with award ceremonies held in over twelve countries every year.

The Awards are often compared to the Olympics for the stringent entry criteria and highly competitive judging parameters. Nominations of the Awards itself is by invitation, either by past and current awardees, a supporting trade association or the executive committee of Enterprise Asia. Nominees are then subjected to a series of rigorous tests, including financial verification by an appointed audit firm and a compulsory physical site audit and interview, culminating in a secret balloting process by Enterprise Asia’s executive committee.

Awardees are expected to be torchbearers of entrepreneurship and business leaders in their representing industries of respective countries, and adhere to a strict standard of personal and business ethics.

“We can say with certainty that the recipients of the APEA are like none others. Not only do they have to prove their entrepreneurial skills and experience in one of the toughest contests in the world, they also subject themselves to a pledge to uphold the highest standards of entrepreneurship, which includes allegiance to the two founding pillars of Enterprise Asia, namely Investment in People and Responsible Entrepreneurship”, says Dato’ William Ng, President of Enterprise Asia.

Recipients join over a thousand other alumni from across Asia Pacific, including Indonesia’s Ciputra, Chairul Tanjung and Mochtar Riady, Singapore’s Sam Goi and Yao Hsiao-Tung, Malaysia’s Teh Hong Piow and Yeoh Tiong Lay, Hong Kong’s Lui Che-woo and Lawrence Ho, China’s Jiang Xipei, Thailand’s Rit Thirakomen and India’s Adi Godrej, Rahul Bajaj and Brijmohan Lall Munjal.

Mr Joselito D. Campos, Jr. of Del Monte Pacific, who was named Entrepreneur Of The Year, said, “I am very honoured to be bestowed the APEA in recognition of our efforts in entrepreneurship and nation building. To harvest good fruit, we need to sow good seed and nurture it.”

“Receiving the APEA award is a recognition of our past efforts; a sign for trying even harder in the future”, said Mr Su Chung Jye, Executive Chairman, Regal International Group Limited.

“APEA lights the path to a healthy entrepreneurial spirit in Asia”, shared by Dr Jau- Fei Chen, Founder of E.Excel International Group.

“To take the company to another level, you need a bold vision, an ambition or even a dream. The dream has to be big and exciting enough and requires your full commitment. Then you will put your whole heart into achieving it”, said Dr Andy Adhiwana, Group CEO of Auric Pacific Group Limited.

“Success is not final. For continued success, a successful company must innovate everyday”, said Ms Shalini Kamal Sharma, Group MD of Formula One Furniche Pte Ltd.

The recipients in Singapore were selected from among 100 shortlisted candidates, ranging from talented young entrepreneurs to experienced industrialists.

Ng explained, “The APEA is aimed at promoting entrepreneurship. Beyond recognizing the efforts of these entrepreneurs, we hope to encourage them to continue taking their businesses to the next level, and in the process, providing more job opportunities to the people in the region, and help to drive the economy forward”.


Consumer Goods

  • Dr. Andy Adhiwana, Group CEO, Auric Pacific Group Limited

Education & Training

  • Dr. Jau-Fei Chen, Founder, E.Excel International Group
  • David Kwee, Chief Executive Director, Training Vision Institute Pte Ltd
  • Png Bee Hin, Chief Executive Officer/ Founder, LDR Technology Pte Ltd


  • Eric Phua, Managing Director, TEE International Limited

Financial Services

  • Dr. Tan Chong Koay, Founder/CEO/Chief Strategist, Pheim Asset Management (Asia) Pte Ltd
  • Andrew Au, Founder & CEO, AG Delta Pte Ltd

Food & Beverage

  • Entrepreneur Of The Year
    Joselito D. Campos, Jr., Chief Executive Officer/ Managing Director, Del Monte Pacific Limited
  • Aillyn Ang, Director, 320 Below Pte Ltd

Healthcare & Pharmaceutical

  • Anuj Khosla, Founder/ Chief Strategy Officer, KK Labs Pte Ltd

Hospitality, Food Service & Tourism Industry

  • Arun Madhok, Chief Executive Officer, Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre

Industrial & Commercial Products

  • Shalini Kamal Sharma, Group Managing Director, Formula One Furniche Pte Ltd
  • Philip Lee Tze Yong, Chief Executive Officer/ Managing Director, RAM SMAG Lifting Technologies Pte Ltd
  • Kenny Liu ZhenQi, Managing Director, The Super Group

IT. Internet & Telecommunications

  • Johnny Huang Shih Chia, Group MD, MAKA GPS Technologies Pte Ltd
  • Shashank Dixit, Chief Executive Officer, Deskera Holdings Ltd

Media & Entertainment

  • Giulio Dorrucci, Founder and Group CEO, PGK Media Group Pte Ltd Oil & Gas
  • Jonathan Lee, Managing Director, McPEC Marine and Offshore Engineering Pte Ltd

Professional & Business Services

  • Teo Jin Lee, Managing Director, ODE Consulting Pte Ltd
  • Ravi Arumugam, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Partner, RT LLP & RT Group of Companies

Property Development

  • Su Chung Jye, Chief Executive Officer/ Founder/ Executive Chairman, Regal International Group Limited
  • Dato’ Colin Tan, Group Managing Director, Hatten International Pte Ltd


  • Dr. Michael Tien, Founder & Chairman, Atlas Sound & Vision Pte Ltd

Trading & Wholesaling

  • Shu Setogawa, Director, MTG Pacific Pte Ltd
  • Doris Wee Hui Cheen, Chief Executive Officer, Wendell Trading Company
  • Peh Yeng Yok, Chairman, Yok Impex Pte Ltd

Transportation & Logistic

  • Danny Lo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Watt Wah Petroleum Haulage Pte Ltd


Lessons Learnt from The Lean Startup



The Lean Startup book authored by Eric Ries has been sitting on my shelf for quite sometime now, so since I am currently contributing to the making of a startup I figured I’ll take a look into it.

The book is divided into 3 parts, after reading the first two I had my mind blown with the pragmatic and scientific approach to building startups that is described in the book.

In this post, I would like to share some important insights that I gained regarding building highly innovative businesses.

Validating Value Proposition And Growth Strategy Is The Priority

Usually, a highly innovative startup company is working in its most early stage at building a product or a service that will create a new market.

Consumers or businesses have not been yet exposed to something similar to what is going to be built by the startup. Therefore the absolute priority for startups in early stage is to validated their value proposition i.e. to get real data about eventual customers interest regarding their product/service.

The other priority is to validate that the growth strategy that is going to be executed is, in fact, effective.

The growth strategy of a startup is its plan to acquire more and more customers in the long term and in a sustainable fashion.

Three kinds of growth strategies are described in the book:

  • paid growth in which you rely on the fact that the customers are going to be charged for the product or service, the cash earned from early users is reinvested in acquiring new users via advertising for example
  • viral growth in which you rely on the fact that customers are going to bring customers as a side effect of using the product/service
  • sticky growth in which you rely on the fact that the customers are going to use the service in some regular fashion, paying for the service each time (via subscription for example).

These growth strategies are sustainable in the sense that they do not require continuous large capital investments or publicity stunts.

It is important to know as soon as possible which strategy or combination of strategies is the most effective at driving growth.

Applying The Scientific Method

The scientific method is a set of techniques that helps us figure out correct stuff. After making some observations regarding a phenomenon, you formulate a hypothesis about that phenomenon.

The hypothesis is an assumption that needs to be proven correct or incorrect. You then design experimentations that are going to challenge the assumption.

The results of the experimentations makes the correctness or incorrectness of the hypothesisclear allowing us to make judgments about its validity.

In the lean startup methodology, your job as an entrepreneur is to formulate two hypothesis:

  • hypothesis of value (assumptions about your value proposition)
  • hypothesis of growth (assumptions about the effectiveness of the growth strategy)

These hypothesis are then validated/invalidated through experimentation. Following the precepts of lean manufacturing, the lean startup methodology prescribes to make experimentations while minimizing/eliminating waste.

In other words, you have to burn minimum cash, effort and time when running experiments.

An experimentation in the lean startup sense is usually an actual product/service and helps startups in early stage learn invaluable things about their eventual future market.

Sometimes startups learn that nobody wants their product/service, imagine spending 8 months worth of engineering, design and promotion work (not to mention cash) in a product/service only to discover that it does not provide value to anyone.

Minimum Viable Products And Feedback

As we pointed out earlier, an experimentation can be an actual product or service and is called the minimum viable product(MVP).

The MVP is built to contain just enough features to validate the value and growth hypotheses, effectively requiring minimum time, effort and cash.

By getting the MVP launched and in front of real users, entrepreneurs can get concrete feedback from them either directly by asking them (in focus groups for example) or via usage analytics.

Analytics scales better then directly talking to customers but the latter is nonetheless used to cross validate results from the former.

It is crucial to focus on metrics that creates fine grained visibility about the performance of the business when building(or using) a usage analytics system. These metrics are called actionable metrics because they can link causes and effects clearly allowing entrepreneurs to understand the consequences of ideally each action executed. Cohort analysis is an example of a analytics strategy that focuses on actionable metrics.

The bad kind of metrics are called vanity metrics, these tend to hide how the business is performing, gross numbers like total users count are an example of vanity metrics.

The author cites several examples of different startups that managed to validate or debunk their early assumption by building stripped down and non scalable MVPs and even sometimes by not building software at all.

You would be surprised to hear for example how the Dropbox folks in their early stage managed to created a ~4 minute video demonstrating their product while it was still in development. The video allowed them to get more people signed up in their beta waiting list and raise capital more easily.

Closing Thoughts

In the first two parts of the book, the author talks also about how employees inside big companies working on highly innovative products and services can benefit greatly from the lean startup approach, although very interesting this is not very useful for me right now.

The third part, talks about the challenges that arises when the startup gets big and starts to stabilize and how to address them. Basically it revolves around not loosing the innovative spirit of the early days, again, this is not very useful for me so maybe for good future reading.


About the Author

This article was produced by Tech Dominator. see more.

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Women on Top in Tech – Dr. Sanna Gaspard, Founder and CEO of Rubitection



(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Dr. Sanna Gaspard is the Founder and CEO of Rubitection, a medical device start-up developing a diagnostic tool for early stage pressure detection, assessment, and management. She is an Entrepreneur, inventor, and biomedical engineer with a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, healthcare and medical devices. She has received recognition and awards including being selected as a finalist for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards(’13), a semi-finalist for the Big C competition (’14), a finalist for the Mass Challenge Business accelerator in Boston, and taking 1st place at the 3 Rivers Investment Venture Fair’s Technology showcase (‘11). Her vision is to make the Rubitect Assessment System the global standard solution for early bedsore detection and management.

What makes you do what you do? 
I am driven to have impact and improve healthcare as I have a strong drive to problem solve, comes up with new ideas, and see them come to life.

How did you rise in the industry you are in? 
I first focused on getting the educational background and then I pursued the goals I have for myself. I got my PhD in Biomedical Engineering with a specialization in medical device development. Having the educational background is important as a woman and minority to assist people in taking your seriously.  After completing my PhD, I focused on bringing my invention for a medical device for early bedsore detection and prevention called the Rubitect Assessment System to market to help save lives and improve care.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
I started my startup, Rubitection , because I felt it was the best way to bring the technology to market. I knew that if I did not try to commercialize the technology, it would not make it to the doctors and nurses. I also have confidence that I could manage developing the technology since I had taken classes on entrepreneurship and had my PhD in biomedical engineering with a specialization in medical devices.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work? How did you make a match if you did, and how did you end up being mentored by him/her?
No, I don’t have a specific mentor in my field. I am looking for one at the moment. However, I do look up to Steve Jobs and Oprah as examples of how one can start with nothing and work their way up and build a successful, global, and reputable business and brand.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?  
I first try to find people who have fundamental technical or work experience to be competent to complete the work. I then evaluate the person for intangible skills like independent thinking, reliability, leadership, resilience, organizational skills, strong work ethic, open mindedness/flexibility, and good communication skills.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why? 
I consciously make an effort as a minority woman in tech, I intimately understand the need to promote diversity within my business and outside my business. I first hire the best people for the job and also make a point to hire women and minorities qualified for the position.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?  
It takes resilience, vision, being a team player, an ability to inspire others and delegate work, knowing your weakness, and knowing when to put your business or yourself first.

Advice for others?
My advice to others is to take calculated risks, pursue every opportunity, surround yourself with supporters, build your team with smart dedicated people, and stay focused on your vision. I am striving to implement this advice myself as I work towards commercializing my technology for early bedsore detection, grow my team, and recruit clinical partners to address an $11 billion US healthcare problem which affects millions around the world.

If anyone is interested in learning more about our work or company, please contact us at [email protected].

To learn more about Dr. Sanna Gaspard, CEO of Rubitection visit:

If you’d like to get in touch with Dr. Sanna Gaspard, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn:

To learn more about Rubitection, please click here.

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