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Winning formula

Four exceptional entrepreneurs have emerged victorious at this year's EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 05:50
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(From left): Wong Ngit Liong, chairman/CEO, Venture Corporation Limited, chairman of EOY Singapore Academy; Michael Tan, group CEO and co-founder, Fullerton Healthcare Group Pte Ltd; Mark Lee, CEO, Sing Lun Holdings Ltd; Franky Oesman Widjaja, chairman and CEO, Golden Agri-Resources Ltd; Chan Chun Sing, Secretary-General, National Trades Union Congress and Minister, Prime Minister's office; Forrest Li, chairman and group CEO, Garena; Max Loh, Singapore and Asean managing partner, EY; Didier von Daeniken, head of Wealth Management, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Barclays; Neo Kah Kiat, PBM, founder, chairman and CEO, Neo Group Limited; Richard Eu, Group CEO of Eu Yan Sang International Ltd
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(From left): Max Loh, Singapore and Asean managing partner, EY; Michael Tan, group CEO and co-founder, Fullerton Healthcare Group Pte Ltd (EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Singapore 2015); Chan Chun Sing, Secretary-General, National Trades Union Congress and Minister, Prime Minister's office. Dr Tan will represent the Republic at the annual EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year (WEOY) award in Monte Carlo in 2016

THEY may come from vastly different industries, but the four winners of this year's EY Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) Awards have shown a knack for leveraging technology to give their businesses an edge in a constantly evolving landscape.

Max Loh, EY's Asean and Singapore managing partner, notes that the four entrepreneurs have "constantly pushed innovation to distinguish their businesses".

For instance, Sing Lun Holdings CEO Mark Lee automated the apparel company's manufacturing facilities, resulting in enhanced design capabilities, improved productivity and new product offerings.

Meanwhile, Michael Tan of Fullerton Healthcare used technology to evolve the patient experience, including digitising x-ray results and creating a mobile application that serves as an alternative to the physical consultation card for medical appointments.

At food and beverage player Neo Group, founder Neo Kah Kiat built a technology-enabled catering business where the kitchen and management of customer orders are automated, allowing the company to enhance productivity and the consistency of its products.

Finally, Garena founder and chairman Forrest Li has constantly innovated to engage with customers by steadily launching new extensions to the Internet company's popular online platform.

"Entrepreneurship plays a critical role in driving growth for Singapore. The award winners have demonstrated guts, persistence and conviction. They have turned opportunities into jobs and wealth for the communities," says chairman of the judging panel, Ho Meng Kit, who is also CEO of the Singapore Business Federation.

The four winners were chosen from a field of almost 40 nominated entrepreneurs.

An independent judging panel selected the winners based on their merits in fulfilling the six global judging criteria, namely entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance, strategic direction, global and community impact, innovation and personal integrity and influence. One of the four winners will represent the Republic at the annual EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year (WEOY) award in Monte Carlo in 2016 to compete with contenders from over 60 countries.

Singapore's representative to the WEOY award - Fullerton's Dr Tan - was announced at a gala event on Oct 14 at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.

SPECIAL HONOURS

Apart from the four category awards, this year saw two special honourary awards given out at the EOY Awards.

In conjunction with the expected formation of the Asean Economic Community by the end of 2015, the EY Asean Entrepreneurial Excellence award was given to Franky Oesman Widjaja, chairman and CEO of Golden Agri-Resources.

Mr Loh says: "As one of the largest palm oil plantation groups in the world, Golden Agri- Resources provides opportunities for employment and trade across Singapore, Indonesia and the rest of the region."

"Additionally, the organisation's corporate responsibility efforts in education, infrastructure and job creation have benefited many communities in the region."

On the recognition, Mr Widjaja says: "In business, I live by these four words . . . stability, accuracy, execution and resoluteness, respectively. For example, when we decide on a business model, we should do so steadily, without rush and with proper planning. When executing, we should do it correctly and firmly with full force."

The second honorary award given out last night was the EY-Barclays Family Business Award of Excellence, which was presented to Eu Yan Sang International.

"Winning this award reaffirms our belief that we can build a Singapore family business into a global brand, trusted and respected for generations for top notch quality products and services," says Richard Eu, group CEO of Eu Yan Sang International.

He adds: "This award comes at an opportune time as we are embarking on a journey of transformation to keep up with the changing times while keeping the family mantra alive."


In the spotlight

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year
Health Care
Michael Tan
Group CEO and co-founder, Fullerton Healthcare Group

"The healthcare industry in Asia is going through rapid transformation, and we've assembled a team of professionals who uphold the highest standards of medical care, championing constant innovation and partner collaboration to make healthcare better, more accessible and more efficient throughout the region. There is still much to be done, and disparities still exist in terms of health risks and outcomes, but we will continue to raise the bar as we make the patient experience easier, quicker and better, in our mission to become Asia's pre-eminent total healthcare solutions provider."

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year
Internet and Mobile
Forrest Li
Founder, chairman and group CEO, Garena

"Garena has experienced unprecedented growth over the past six years and it is encouraging to be recognised for the entrepreneurship, passion and dedication that I have put into the company. More importantly, it's great to share this accomplishment with my talented team that has made all these achievements possible - Garena would not be what it is without them. We hope to continue connecting the dots to bring about greater convenience and happiness to all our users."

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year
Food and Beverage
Neo Kah Kiat
Founder, chairman and CEO, Neo Group

"Beyond knowledge and fighting spirit, Neo Group's business ethos of integrity, responsibility, respect and teamwork has helped us gain many breakthroughs and recognition as the market leader. I share this award with my dedicated team, supportive customers and like-minded business partners. Thank you for your contributions and together, we will strive to bring our businesses to the next level."

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year
Manufacturing
Mark Lee
CEO, Sing Lun Holdings

"Winning the award is a key recognition not just of my efforts, but more importantly, the efforts of my colleagues and team-mates. They made this win possible, and this award is a reminder that an entrepreneur's success is not his or hers alone, but that of the team. We must always keep our customer in sight, and make all necessary changes to our business model - no matter how painful those changes are - to remain competitive and relevant to the megatrends of the century."