14 September 2015
16 local business leaders named Entrepreneurs of the Year
Chong Koh Ping

SINGAPORE - Founder of home-grown hairdressing chain and haircare product maker Bee Choo origin was named Entrepreneur of the Year together with 15 other local business leaders on Monday (Sept 14).

Madam Cheah Bee Chew, 55, was also one of three women entrepreneurs lauded at the award co-organised by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) and the Rotary Club of Singapore.

Speaking to The Straits Times at the awards ceremony held at Marina Mandarin, the second-time winner of the Established Entrepreneur Category said that she had come back to take part again because it was a "hard-to-get" award.

"I'd failed the first time when I tried three years ago. It's not easy to qualify and I see this as a validation of what I've achieved so far," said the Perak-born entrepreneur in Mandarin.

Madam Cheah first started her hairdressing business operating out of a five-room Housing Board flat in 2002 with one hair steamer, a chair and a hair wash basin.

By 2006, she had saved enough to open her first hair salon.

Today, she has grown the business to include three outlets, and a local factory producing herbal haircare products for distribution in nine countries and territories including Singapore, Thailand, and China.

"My focus is now on manufacturing and bringing my products regional. The Singapore branding is very strong and made-in-Singapore products are very well-received," she said.

Another woman entrepreneur recognised at the award was Ms Regina Lee, managing director of consumer goods distributor Amplitude Incorporated.

Sensing the potential in the food industry, Ms Lee, 40, had switched tracks from distributing Korean fashion to distributing honey and olive oil from Greece in 2014.

"I was looking for a recession-proof product as the fashion apparel business is easily affected by major economic downturns," she said.

Now, only in the second year of her new business venture, Ms Lee is on track to achieve S$8 million to S$10 million in sales revenue, a three-fold increase compared to last year.

For her achievement, she was awarded the New Entrepreneur award, which honours those whose companies have been in business from two to six years.

Overall winners from both the Established Entrepreneur and New Entrepreneur categories will be selected and announced at a ceremony in November.

CR: The Straits Times

Link: http://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/16-local-business-leaders-named-entreprenuers-of-the-year