Ms. Rachel Wong, President of Spirit of Enterprise
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. Good evening. I am delighted to join you for the Spirit of Enterprise (SOE) Awards Ceremony and Dinner 2022. Tonight, we are celebrating the outstanding achievements of 45 local business leaders from 39 organisations. They have achieved success in their respective fields and made an impact on our enterprise landscape.
Enterprises must be adept and agile to thrive and succeed
2. The past three years have been challenging for our businesses. As the global economy emerges from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are faced with several new challenges arising from heightened geopolitical tensions, global economic uncertainty and climate change.
3. To thrive and succeed amid the global headwinds, our enterprises must be adept and agile, quick to seize opportunities and able to pivot to new business models. These qualities form the foundation of successful entrepreneurship.
4. I would like to highlight two key areas of growth that entrepreneurs would do well to embrace and expand their efforts, they are - Digitalisation and sustainability. Several SOE awardees have scaled up in these areas and I would like to commend their examples. Let me elaborate.
Opportunities in Digitalisation
5. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digitalisation across the economy. Our enterprises have adopted digital solutions to offer new products and services, access and grow new markets and strengthen their business continuity plans.
6. One example is DFW Creative, a boutique marketing agency for the lifestyle industry. When the pandemic struck, DFW’s business was upended as many in-person events, a major source of the company’s revenue, were either cancelled or postponed indefinitely. To survive, DFW had to adopt new business strategies.
a. DFW pivoted and expanded its services to offer digital solutions such as 3D virtual events and live streaming to its clients. DFW also developed its own metaverse space known as METAJUPITER, which lets brands rent or engage DFW’s services to build a permanent presence in the metaverse.
b. These new services garnered interest from its existing clients and also helped DFW to gain new and potential clients from here and abroad.
7. My congratulations to Ms Charina Widjaja (Wee-jah-yah), Founder and CEO of DFW Creative, who will be receiving the SOE Award tonight.
Opportunities in Sustainability
8. Besides digitalisation, our enterprises, big and small, can tap into opportunities unleashed by the global move towards sustainability. To play our part in global climate action, Singapore has committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050. Our journey and aspirations to be carbon-free will bring about new growth opportunities for our enterprises. Areas such as agri-tech, green finance and low-carbon technologies are emerging green shoots of opportunities awaiting to be harvested. I encourage our enterprises to seize the chance to ride the green wave and thrive in a low-carbon future.
9. One of the enterprises that have already done so is Insect Feed Technologies (IFT), an agri-food tech startup founded in 2020. Its vision is to nourish the world sustainably by turning food waste and larvae into clean, high-quality protein for animal feed. The founder and CEO of IFT, Mr Sean Tan, is also one of the SOE-Neo Start-up Award honourees.
10. Even though it was doubly hard to start a company in the middle of the pandemic, Sean took that leap of faith to establish his agri-food start-up. He saw how food security had become a growing concern around the world during the pandemic and that the opportunity was ripe for his business idea.
11. In no time, IFT managed to secure more than $1.5 million of funding. It aims to build Singapore’s largest insect production facility, with ambitions to expand regionally. The company clinched the 2021 President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Startup Award for its contribution to the environment and society, as well as its pioneering technology.
Inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs
12. There are many enterprises among us tonight with equally inspiring goals and stories. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Board of Governors of SOE for its commitment to organising the SOE Awards and for its hard work in running initiatives such as the Student Interviewers Programme (SIP).
13. Since 2003, the SIP has benefitted more than 1,500 students from over 20 educational institutions by connecting them to business entrepreneurs who have excelled in their fields. I trust that the stories shared by the entrepreneurs will inspire our youths to take bold steps and embark on their entrepreneurial journey. Their entrepreneurial dreams can be a force for good and change that contribute to our society and community.