Mr Linus Goh, Head of Global Commercial Banking, OCBC Bank,
Mr Wong Wei Kong, Editor, The Business Times,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good afternoon. I am honoured to join you today for the 14th edition of the Emerging Enterprise Awards. I would like to commend the Business Times, OCBC Bank and their supporting partners for organising the awards to identify and support the innovative endeavours of our up-and-coming enterprises.
2. This year, we saw an even greater number of entries, with more than 300 applications from various industries such as Infotech, Biotech, Robotics, Sustainable Energy, Food and Beverage (F&B) and Urban Farming.
3. Unlike past years, the site assessments were conducted online due to the COVID-19 precautionary measures. It was a tough battle among the top 15 finalists for the eventual seven awards which will be announced shortly.
The role of businesses: Redefine Processes, Reimagine Solutions, Reinvent the way forward
4. Doing business is challenging and even more so in the midst of a global pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many industries to recalibrate and review their strategies. I am heartened that many businesses are proactively capitalising on emerging trends to create new business opportunities.
5. This afternoon, I’d like to suggest 3 ‘R’s on how businesses can re-engineer their operations to ride the wave of change and grow: redefine processes, reimagine solutions and reinvent the way forward.
6. Firstly, redefine processes. One finalist, Nano Sun Pte Ltd (“Nano Sun”), exemplifies how this can be done. Nano Sun is a Singapore-based membrane manufacturing company which offers a wide range of multifunctional nano composite membranes for removing micropollutants from drinking water, water reuse and desalination pre-treatment.
7. On the back of over 20 years of research experience in the multifunctional nano composite membrane and water industry, Nano Sun continues to enhance its offerings by adopting automation and new technology. For example, with 3D printing, Nano Sun is able to develop membranes that treat an average wastewater plant in just four days.
8. Secondly, reimagine solutions. Take for example how Mr Popiah Pte Ltd (Mr Popiah) automated the process of selling popiah - a traditional wrap filled with savoury steamed or fried turnip and other ingredients like eggs and shrimp. Mr Popiah made use of innovative technology to dispense and sell popiahs via vending machines which led to quicker sales and greater convenience to busy consumers.
9. To make popiah more readily available, Mr Popiah also ventured into food manufacturing to transform a dish that is traditionally made and eaten on the spot, to a one that can be stored and sold in supermarkets.
10. Lastly, reinvent the way forward. One finalist that is pushing boundaries in its charge forward is Celligenics Pte Ltd (“Celligenics”) – a biotechnology company that specialises in the development of future-relevant solutions using breakthrough stem cell technology.
11. The company developed a proprietary technology that gives it access to a rare type of stem cells that combine the best of embryonic and adult stem cells from the human body. This unique technology would allow them to achieve superior healing qualities for therapeutic and cosmetic applications.
12. Let me recap the 3-Rs that can bring our enterprises forward – 1) Redefine processes through the adoption of technology; 2) Reimagine solutions to serve customers better; 3) Reinvent the way forward to capture new markets. These abilities will certainly help emerging enterprises transform, survive and thrive in the new normal.
13. Each of this year’s finalists have displayed in one way or another - the 3-Rs in action. I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to all 15 finalists. Singapore’s growth is boosted by local enterprises pioneering and capturing opportunities in emerging areas of new potential.
How the Government supports emerging enterprises - Streamlining business operations and providing regulatory assistance for innovation
14. The Government is sparing no effort to support our emerging enterprises. One of the ways we do so is by helping to simplify business processes and supporting innovation.
15. In November, we announced the enhancement of the GoBusiness Portal for the application of business licenses or grants.
16. GoBusiness provides a single consolidated touchpoint for all core business-to-government transactions. Emerging enterprises and new entrepreneurs especially will find the portal helpful as it offers customised access and recommendations to over 100 government assistance schemes such as grants, loans, tax incentives and capacity-building programmes.
17. From early 2022, enterprises will be able to access a personalised dashboard on GoBusiness. With that, you can get an overview of all your ongoing and past applications as well as direct access to over 300 Government-to-Business services. Users can register a new business, apply for and maintain different licences across various sectors, and even receive personalised recommendations on the kind of grants available, based on the business profile and transaction history – all these, in one stop! Take a look and check out the GoBusiness portal later today.
18. With more seamless Government processes in place, our companies can better focus on enhancing their productivity and business offerings. In addition, the Government also ensures that the current regulatory system continues to support innovative or novel business ideas.
19. MTI’s Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP) works closely with public agencies to provide timely, effective, and practical solutions to cut red tape and address regulatory concerns that businesses may face. So far, more than half of the 2000 suggestions received by PEP have translated to actual regulatory changes that benefit businesses. If you have any suggestions for improving current regulations or have a novel business proposition to testbed, we welcome your feedback and look forward to you writing to the PEP.
20. I encourage all businesses to continue to push boundaries, explore uncharted areas and break new ground. The Government stands ready to support you at every stage of your business journey.
21. Once again, congratulations to all the finalists and winners of the Emerging Enterprise Awards 2021. Thank you.