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Speech by SMS Chee Hong Tat at the River Hangbao Hackathon

Speech by SMS Chee Hong Tat at the River Hangbao Hackathon

Mr Ang Wei Neng, Chairman of the River Hongbao 2019 Organising Committee,
Mr Edmund Cheng, Chairman of Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd,
Judges and Participants of the River Hongbao Hackathon,
Ladies and Gentlemen, 

1. A very good evening to all of you, and Happy New Year! Thank you for being here today at the inaugural River Hongbao Hackathon (RHBHacks), organised by the River Hongbao 2019 Organising Committee and sponsored by Mapletree Investments. 

RHBHacks is an important milestone for the annual River Hongbao event

2. River Hongbao has been an important event on Singapore’s annual festive calendar since 1987. It is a collective effort by community groups, corporations and government agencies to engage Singaporeans in appreciating our culture and traditions, deepening family ties and strengthening of community bonds through the celebrations. The launch of RHBHacks this year, an event specially designed for youths aged between 18 and 26, marks an important milestone for the River Hongbao celebrations by incorporating an additional element on youth entrepreneurship. 

3. We have about 30 teams competing in this hackathon. Congratulations to all the participants who have been shortlisted for the pitches today. I am encouraged to see the strong interest in entrepreneurship amongst our youth.  We know that not all start-ups will succeed equally.  Many will fail, a few will do reasonably well and a very small number will achieve spectacular results.  This is the hard truth of the business world.  But in coming up with the ideas and turning them into business proposals, I hope you have all benefitted from the process.  Even if you do not succeed this time, what you have learnt will be useful for your next venture.  It is this enterprising spirit, this never-say-die attitude which I think is most valuable for our young people to pick up and for Singapore to make this a part of our cultural DNA for the next lap of our country’s development.   
4. There is a Chinese saying, “台上十分钟,台下十年功”, a 10 minute performance on-stage requires 10 years of preparation. For our hackathon participants to present your pitches, I am sure you have spent an extensive amount of time and effort in market research, product planning and business model development. Success requires courage, innovation and determination. Whether you eventually become entrepreneurs or not, these qualities will serve you well in future.    

5. The Government will do our part to support Singaporean entrepreneurs and create a conducive environment for enterprise and innovation. Under the Startup SG umbrella, Enterprise Singapore works with industry and community partners to develop a thriving startup ecosystem in areas such as mentorship, market access and financing.  But Government can only provide a supportive environment.  Business success ultimately requires entrepreneurs themselves to turn innovative ideas into commercial profit.    

6. Besides pursuing their dreams, it is also my hope that our entrepreneurs bring about positive change and progress in society. I am glad to know that the winning teams, who will be operating their stalls at River Hongbao 2019, will pledge 70% of their profits to charity organisations. This is an important part of our social compact, where those who have succeeded give back to help the less fortunate and uplift others in society. 饮水思源,回馈社会。


7. Please allow me to conclude by thanking the River Hongbao 2019 Organising Committee and Mapletree Investments for providing the resources and mentorship for this competition. Let us continue to support the flames of entrepreneurship among our youths, and through these efforts, create a stronger economy, a more cohesive society and a better future for all of us.

8. Thank you.
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