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27 Singaporean Entrepreneurs Win Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2016

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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”.

RECIPIENT LIST OF ASIA PACIFIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS 2016 SINGAPORE:

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

Engineering

  • 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

Retail

  • 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

Entrepreneurship

Women on Top in Tech – Daphne Ng, CEO of JEDTrade

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(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.)

Daphne Ng is the CEO of JEDTrade, a blockchain technology company focused on trade, supply chain, and financial inclusion projects in ASEAN. She is also the Scretary-General at ACCESS and Exco. of Singapore Fintech Association

What makes you do what you do?
I was introduced to blockchain technology in 2016 after I left my corporate banking career after 10 years. It was my mentor who first got me interested in this technology, which I then went on to delve further into, on its potential applications in the lending and trade finance space – domains where I came from.

How did you rise in the industry you are in?
Being in the space for 2 years and actively involved in the ecosystem, I was able to bring on the projects, network and a good degree of thought leadership in this vertical. Early on in the startup journey, our team faced many challenges. And to me, the key to rising above failures are two essential factors – resilience and support. While resilience is innate, I received a lot of help be it in terms of connections or advice. ‘Nobody succeeds without help’ rings very true for me.

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)?
From the start, I focused on my domain expertise in trade finance and the application construct of how blockchain and DLT can be applied to these use cases. Also, my strategy from the start was to build a technology company made up of 80% tech and engineers, which is also our key competitive advantage today. At the end of the day, deliverables are about strategy and execution, which includes building and leading an ‘A’ team.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work?
I have many mentors, which includes our company advisors (all of whom are well-known in this industry) and mostly informal mentors I meet via my connections, and on various occasions and circumstances. Creating opportunities also means putting myself in the right place, at the right time. And in my case, these were mostly organic and genuine friendships formed from the initial connection.

How did you make a match if you and how did you end up being mentored by him?
To me, a match in values is very important. It also takes humility to ask for help and be willing to listen to advice, which is important in order for mentorships to be successful – be it formal or informal.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?
I love this question! I am passionate about building strong teams and helping my people grow. I abide by the 3Rs when identifying talents: resourcefulness, resilience and right values. And then I invest in the ‘potential’ and this means giving them room to lead, make decisions and take risks.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?
My support of diverse talents, skillsets and characters can be seen in the make-up of our core team – all helming specific roles and each bringing their own value to the table. We need the sum of all parts to build a great company.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?
Great leaders emerge in times of failures and challenges, never abandoning the team, and always putting the team’s interests before her own. And I consciously live by these mottos every day.

Advice for others?
My advice to other entrepreneurs: be resolute and dare to be different. If you are going to follow others, then you will end up on the same path as them. No right or wrong; but I would rather chart my own path. This June, we are officially launching our blockchain project, Jupiter Chain (www.jupiterchain.tech), which have garnered much interest in the industry, even before we made it public. We believe this project is the epitome of marrying innovation with practical implementation, and we want to be the first to truly operationalize blockchain for our ecosystem projects in this region.


If you’d like to get in touch with Daphne Ng, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daphne-ng-%E9%BB%84%E7%91%9E%E7%8E%B2/

To learn more about JEDTrade, please click here.

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Callum Connects

Jace Koh, Founder of U Ventures

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Jace Koh believes cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Understanding it will enhance your ability to run and manage your business.

What’s your story?
My name is Jace Koh and I am the Founder of U Ventures. I’ve always been inclined towards investment and entrepreneurship. I’ve played a hand in starting businesses across these industries – professional services, cloud integration, software and music. I believe that succeeding in business is tough, but that’s what makes the rewards even sweeter.

What excites you most about your industry?
Everything excites me. These are my beliefs:

  • Why is accounting important?
    The accounting department is the heart. Cash flow is like blood stream, it pumps blood to various parts of the body like cash flow is pumped to various departments and/or functions in a business. It is vital to the life and death of the business.
  • Is accounting boring?
    Accountants are artists too. They paint the numbers the way they want them to be.
  • What makes a good accountant?
    A good accountant can tell you a story about the business by looking at the numbers.
  • Why is budgeting and projection important?
    Accountants are like fortune tellers, they can predict the numbers and if you wish to understand your business and make informed decisions, feel free to speak to our friendly consultants to secure a meeting.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore, and here’s where I want to be.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore is my favourite city. We have great legal systems in place, good security and people with integrity. Most importantly, we have a government that fosters a good environment for doing business. I recently went for a cultural exchange programme in Hong Kong to learn more about their startups. I found out that the Hong Kong government generally only supports local business owners in terms of grants. They’ve recently been more lenient and changed the eligibility to include all businesses that have at least 50% local shareholding. But comparing that to Singapore, the government only requires a 30% local shareholding to obtain government support. In the early days of starting a business, all the support you can get is precious. It’s great that we have a government that understands that.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best time ever to plant a tree was 10 years ago as the tree would have grown so big to provide you with shelter and all. When is the next best time to plant a tree? It is today. Because in 10 years time, the tree would have grown big enough to provide you shelter and all.

Who inspires you?
Jack Ma. His journey to success is one of the most inspiring as it proves that with determination and great foresight, even the poorest can turn their lives around. I personally relate to his story a lot, and this is my favourite quote from him, “If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure.”

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’ve faced multiple rejections throughout my business journey, and recently came across a fact on Jack Ma about how he was once rejected for 32 different jobs. It resonated very deeply and taught me the importance of tenacity, especially during tough times.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I live a life with no regrets. Everything I do, regardless of whether it is right or wrong, happy or sad, and regardless of outcome, it’s a lesson with something to take away.

How do you unwind?
I love to pamper myself through retail therapy and going for spas. I also make a conscious effort to take time off work to have a break outside to unwind as well as to uncloud my mind. This moment of reflection from time to time helps me see more clearly on how I can improve myself.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Taiwan! Good food with no language barriers and the people are great!

Everyone in business should read this book:
I don’t really read books. Mostly, I learn from my daily life and interactions with hundreds of other business owners. To me, people tell the most interesting stories.

Shameless plug for your business:
We’re not just corporate secretaries, we’re “business doctors.”
U Ventures is a Xero certified advisory firm that goes beyond traditional accounting services to provide solutions for your business. You can reach us on our website: http://uventures.com.sg/

How can people connect with you?
Converse to connect. You can reach me via email at [email protected] or alternatively, on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacekoh/

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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