1. Good evening.
2. Thank you to The Business Times and OCBC for your continued efforts to organise these awards
a. To recognise the accomplishments of our emerging enterprises,
b. And encourage them on their enterprise journeys.
3. 2020 has been a watershed year.
a. COVID-19 has both accelerated and brought about even more changes to our economic environment.
i. Ongoing geo-political challenges,
ii. Rising protectionist sentiments in many countries,
iii. Supply chains disruptions and shifts,
iv. Rapid technological changes, and in particular, an acceleration of digital adoption through COVID-19,
v. Which has changed the way we work and do business.
4. So, in the midst of all this flux and uncertainties, the question we must ask ourselves is – do we see challenges, or do we see opportunities?
a. As some may say, if you see challenges and want to translate them into opportunities, join the Government.
b. If you see opportunities and want to leverage them, start a business.
5. Regardless of whichever perspective we take to address our current reality, circumstances do not define us. Our responses to circumstances will.
6. In Singapore, we are clear that we will not return to a pre-COVID world.
a. We have to change and pivot to new and emerging business opportunities, if we are to avoid being bypassed and made redundant.
b. This is why we are determined to not just to help our businesses tide through the difficulties in the past few months.
c. We want to position our existing and new businesses to take advantage of these new circumstances and thrive.
d. Our policies are concerned with both stabilising the current situation and helping our economy transition towards new opportunities.
e. That is the most responsible use of public resources – to help our businesses and workers adapt to the new circumstances, rather than to play defensive to maintain status quo or hang on to the past.
7. Our award finalists this evening are testament to our ability to flex with change, respond nimbly to rise above our circumstances.
8. That is our ‘can-do’ Singapore Spirit.
a. Our finalists exemplify this.
b. In their spirit of enterprise – always searching out new opportunities, even amidst the pandemic, to develop new business ideas and models, built new capabilities, and leverage innovation and new digital tools.
i. When thrown lemons, we make lemonade.
ii. And good ones too.
c. We are encouraged by their positive role modelling.
d. We look forward to even more businesses adopting the same positive mindsets to boldly explore new markets, and new ideas.
i. Perhaps you will find yourselves in the nominee list for next year’s awards.
9. On the part of the Government, we will continue to create the most conducive environment possible for our businesses to grow.
a. A stable political system for long term consistent and coherent policy execution.
b. A progressive regulatory environment that allows good ideas to be quickly tested and commercialised.
c. Superior physical connectivity with the rest of the world to serve global markets.
d. Intellectual property protection.
e. Diverse financing options.
f. A skilled workforce.
g. Talent development and networks.
h. These are the fundamentals that will continue to put Singapore in good stead as the business hub of the region to serve the global markets.
10. However, we are never complacent.
a. What we can do, others can emulate and even try to do better.
b. Hence, be it Government or businesses, we must continue to work closely together to stay ahead of the competition.
c. This is the Singapore way of competing as a team.
11. Let me once again wish everyone the very best in these difficult times.
a. I have every confidence that Team Singapore has the necessary fundamentals and the ability to distinguish ourselves from the competition amidst the pandemic.
b. I look forward to tonight’s finalists, continuing to inspire us all as they continue on their enterprise journey.
c. I also look forward to our successful entrepreneurs paying it forward by guiding the next generation of aspiring entrepreneurs.
d. Our definition of success – be it in Government or business, should be that the next generation can do even better than our generation.
e. Singapore will then grow from strength to strength and remain a shining Red Dot always.
12. Thank you.