28 November 2015
Entrepreneurs play important role in economic restructuring: Manpower Minister
Linette Lim

SINGAPORE: Entrepreneurs play a very important role in Singapore's economic restructuring, and Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say has called on them to strive for productivity improvements and innovative breakthroughs.

Mr Lim was speaking at the 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards organised by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and the Rotary Club of Singapore.

Sixteen local entrepreneurs received trophies from Mr Lim at the event on Friday evening (Nov 27). In his speech, the Manpower Minister said local enterprises are important to Singapore's future growth, as they contribute to nearly half of GDP and employ 70 per cent of the workforce.

He said: "The Singapore economy is in transition, we aim to become more productive, innovative and manpower lean. Entrepreneurs play a very important role in our restructuring of the economy, because entrepreneurs help to refresh our economy, change the rules of the game and change our lives for the better."

For the first time, there were two overall winners in the “New Entrepreneur” category, which is for businesses operating between two and six years. The accolade was shared by the founders of solar firm Sunseap Frank Phuan and Lawrence Wu, and Chiang Zhan Xiang of pizza company Pezzo.

Pezzo, which sells pizza by the slice, was set up three years ago. From an initial start-up capital of S$1 million, it now makes S$20 million in annual turnover. Mr Chiang said: "If you look at the offerings in the States and in Europe, pizzas by the slice are at every corner. But it wasn't prevalent here yet, so we thought it was a good opportunity for us to try and offer that in this space."

Pezzo is also unique because it operates on a takeaway kiosk model, which means it is less exposed to the rental and manpower pressures that affect most food and beverage outlets.

In the “Established Entrepreneur” category, which is for businesses operating for more than six years, the overall winner was Mr Kitnasamy Marudapan, chairman and CEO of railway construction firm Gates PCM Construction.

OCBC Bank, the main sponsor of the Awards, said this year’s winners "impressed with their adaptability and enterprising spirit".

Into its 27th year, the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards is the oldest entrepreneurial award in Singapore. It recognises local entrepreneurs who have shown outstanding performance as business owners.

Link: http://www.straitstimes.com/business/16-business-leaders-honoured-at-awards