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Secretlab CEO Ian Ang named EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2020

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Secretlab co-founder and chief executive Ian Ang has been named the overall EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) 2020 Singapore by professional services organisation EY.

SECRETLAB co-founder and chief executive Ian Ang has been named the overall EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) 2020 Singapore by professional services organisation EY.

He will represent Singapore at the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year competition to be held in June 2021, and compete against more than 60 other country winners for the world title.

Mr Ang, who, at age 28 is the youngest winner in the 18-year history of the EY EOY Singapore awards, said: "To win this award among so many other great, experienced entrepreneurs is an absolute honour.

"There is still much to learn, and it is still early days for Secretlab. There are far too many people that I'm indebted to, but I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed to our journey - staff, partners, investors and fans. Singapore will always be our home where we first started six years ago, and we're proud to be part of putting our little red dot on the world map in the e-sports industry and beyond."

Mr Ang, who also received the EOY award under the Consumer Products category, co-founded Secretlab in 2014 with Alaric Choo. The startup produces ergonomic gaming chairs that have become popular among gamers and non-gamers alike in more than 60 countries.

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Png Cheong Boon, chief executive of Enterprise Singapore and chairman of the judging panel, said: "Despite his youth, Ian embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and displays the business acumen of a seasoned entrepreneur. He spotted a niche in the ergonomic gaming chair market and went on to build Secretlab into a commercial success globally.

"With the courage to drop out of university to pursue his dreams and perseverance to build a product from next to nothing, Ian demonstrates how there are multiple pathways to success, the power of ideas and the value of continual hard work."

The other two EOY category awards were also presented on Monday, in a virtual celebration graced by K. Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law.

The EOY award for the Financial Technology category went to Richard Koh, founder and chief executive of M-DAQ, a fintech firm offering solutions for cross-border business; the EOY award for the Industrial Solutions category was given to Eric Leong, managing director and co-founder of Mlion Corporation, which provides foundation steel solutions for ports and waterfront development, civil excavations and power-generation projects in Asia.

The winners were selected from close to 50 nominations and assessed on six criteria: entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance/value creation, strategic direction, national and global impact, innovation and personal integrity/purpose-driven leadership.

The theme of this year's awards was "The Unstoppables", in reference to how the entrepreneurs have overcome unprecedented disruption and change wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Max Loh, Singapore and Asean managing partner, Ernst & Young, said: "Our winning entrepreneurs today demonstrate what it takes to be unstoppable - strategic vision, grit and agility - even in the face of a global crisis. They believe in opportunities amid challenges and have pivoted themselves quickly for a new normal, rethinking their business models and processes, and revitalising their products and services."

Other awards presented at Monday's virtual event included the EY Asean Entrepreneurial Excellence award, which went to Duong Ba Tran, chairman of Truong Hai Auto Corporation in Vietnam, and the EY Family Business Award of Excellence, which went to Hong Leong Group.

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