Speech by 2M Tan See Leng at the Launch of the Singapore Global Executive Programme

Speech by 2M Tan See Leng at the Launch of the Singapore Global Executive Programme

Distinguished guests, 

Ladies and gentlemen,


I am happy to join this landmark event today, especially with our students. I hope that the learning journeys provided all of you with a glimpse into the meaningful work as well as significant opportunities at our local enterprises.


The Government will support Singapore enterprises to strengthen their business capabilities and groom more global enterprises that can compete on the world stage. 


2. Many of you here are graduating soon and may be concerned with the current uncertain outlook that we face – not just in Singapore, but globally. But notwithstanding the near-term slowing down of global growthand inflation and energy prices going up with the Ukraine war, we have a unique opportunity here particularly in Southeast Asia, where we are currently in a relative oasis of calm. This is the region that you are graduating and entering the world in today. This is a place of opportunity.     


3. This is precisely why our Singapore enterprises must leverage this tranquillity, peace and stability we have in this region, and press on with transformation and growth efforts. I know itmay sound counterintuitive because companiesdo have to grapple with business cost and supply chain issues. But because of the calibre and talent that our Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), polytechnics and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) are churning out today, you can seize innovation and new opportunities to build resilience and sustain the growth momentum for the longer term.


4. I hope that through forums like this, we can encourage and nudge more companies and more of you to look into expansion overseas. Because this is key to allowing our companies to overcome the size and limitations that we face because of thesmall domestic market that Singapore is. As you build international markets and diversify revenue sources, it can be a central tenet for your growth strategy, and companies can then capture these opportunities and tap multiple new markets to scale their business.


5. To be competitive on the world stage, there must be a key differentiator. Not only must products and services be innovative with a compelling proposition that addresses specific needs, companies also have to be innovative in navigating unexpected curveballs and challenges.


a) In the case of Castlery, a digital-first, design & home lifestyle brand. 
b) In late 2019, they launched a new private label brand, Mopiowhich is targeted at the US market. 
c) To meet the complex shipping requirements on marketplaces such as Amazon and Wayfair, Mopio products are specially designed to be fully flat packed without any compromise in quality. 
d) Within two years in the US, Castlery's revenue increased six-fold, with majority of the group's revenue now coming from its overseas markets.
e) When shops could not open during the circuit breaker in Singapore in 2020, Castlery took the opportunity to launch its app with Augmented Reality features.  This has allowed customers to browse its products from the comfort and safety of their own home. 


6. We want to grow more enterprises like Castlery - locally grown but globally competitive. This new generation of Singapore global enterprises will become the needle-movers for our economy. Importantly, this means that they will create high value local jobs for all of our fellow Singaporeans. 


7. The Government’s Enterprise 2030 strategy supports this aim to grow high potential companies. As part of our strategy, we will enhance efforts and put in resources to help our local enterprises strengthen their core capabilities and be future ready.


8. Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) has various schemes in place to drive such efforts. It also engages companies closely to provide bespoke, dedicated and customised assistance. 


Talent is key to companies’ globalisation plans and we want to support companies in grooming talent they require for their plans. 


9. To support growth, the importance of talent cannot be understated.


10. Business growth must happen in tandem with talent development. Itis a virtuous flywheel – business growth attracts talent, and talent attracts even higher business growth. And as these talentcontinue to grow, new ideas are generatedand the virtuous cycle continues to grow


11. Many companies have shared their manpower challenges with me. In today’s jobseeker’s market, it is tough to find the right talent at the right place and at the right time. After you have gotten them, it is even harder to retain good employees in the system. And I understand it is especially hard for local companies and SMEs, as jobseekers may be less familiar with the opportunities that are available in these companies. The mindset has always been to pad up your CV by working for a big MNC, and as a result of that, the concept of joining an SME may seem less attractive.     


12. The Singapore Global Executive Programme (SGEP) we are launching today aims to bridge and address some of these issues. Over the next 3 years, EnterpriseSG will provide the resources and expertise to help up to 20 local high growth companies to enhance their human capital capabilities as well as attractiveness as employers. 


a) A key component of the SGEP is the structured talent development pathway,which is tailored to the needs of each selected company. 
b) There will be rotations among departments, global attachments, stretch assignments, and other learning opportunities to meet our young talents’ aspirations for professional and personal development. 
c) Additionally, the companies will offer dedicated mentors to groom these talents for future leadership positions.
d) Over a multi-year effort, companies will also work on enhancing various aspects of their human capital capabilities to improve talent recruitment, attraction and retention.


13. I am happy to share that our pioneer batch of SGEP companies includesCastlery, Commonwealth Capital and Sing Fuels. 
14. We also have a further good pipeline of companies for subsequent batches of SGEP, including AEMDurapowerand Rigel.


15. These emerging Singapore global enterprises have been carefully curated among the thousands in Singapore. You will get a chance to hear from some of the CEOs later during the dialogue.


16. I am excited to see how these companies will continue to grow by tapping on the pipeline of young local talent that they are developing


Global readiness is key to our workforce competitiveness and young talent can look to local companies for such opportunities 


17. I want to encourage all of our locals to seriously consider overseas exposure in the form of overseas work opportunities. The ability to understand and operate in different markets will give our workforce a competitive edge.


18. This is why the SGEP will, among other things, support promising young local talent to go on global attachments. This will super-charge their professional development early on in their careers. 


19. The SGEP will add to our existing suite of similar programmes to encourage such global attachments. It is my hope that these programmes will be able to develop a crop of young local leaders who can one day become regional and even global corporate leaders. 


20. I am delighted and excited to see our Singapore companies offering such exciting opportunities. 


21. As future jobseekers – I hope students and young Singaporeans like all of you here,  grab hold of these opportunities. Get to know our Singapore companies and their own unique stories of passion, ambition and how they struggled.  They are choice employers which offer good growth opportunities.


22. For example, Sing Fuels shared with me that their people are at the heart of everything they do. Their people are their biggest assets. That is why their senior management, including their CEO and CFO, invest their time to actively mentor talent for their personal and professional developmentWe are very encouraged to hear this, and hope more companies would come forth and join us.




23. To conclude, there are abundant exciting opportunities out there, and the time is now. Whether you are an enterprise seeking to expand internationally; or a young talent about to join our workforce. 


24. Go forth and conquer the world because it isindeed, your oyster. Whether as a business or talent, all of you will be able to find your own pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Thank you.
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