Mr Kurt Wee, President, Association of Small and Medium Enterprises,
Ms Lee Huay Leng, Editor-in-Chief, Chinese Media Group, SPH Media Trust,
Ladies and gentlemen
1. Good evening. It is my pleasure to join you tonight! Since its inception in 2002, the Singapore Prestige Brand Award or SPBA has recognised over 500 companies and encouraged them to adopt branding as an integral aspect of their business strategy. Tonight, we honour another 29 winners. I would like to extend my congratulations to all of them.
2. A strong brand often includes specific characteristics, such as quality, design, innovation, or reliability.
a. Many established brands typically take decades, if not centuries, to establish themselves.
b. However, many Singapore companies, including small and medium enterprises, have managed to achieve local and international brand equity in a much shorter period of time.
c. This is because of the strong reputation that Singapore companies already enjoy as a trusted and quality business partner.
3. However, as businesses and consumers face more choices in a growing digital economy, companies must continue to work hard to maintain and strengthen their brands. This extends beyond branding and marketing initiatives, to improving the products and services underpinning the brand.
Singapore 2030 and Enterprise 2030 will continue to guide our efforts to support and work alongside companies
4. Last year I shared our Singapore Economy 2030 vision and Enterprise 2030 strategy.
a. We will press on with our efforts to support the growth of high-potential companies into global champions and strengthen the core capabilities of the broad base of local enterprises.
b. In particular, we will work with companies to leverage emerging trends, such as digitalisation and generative artificial intelligence, to enhance their business proposition.
5. However, the Government cannot do this alone. I urge all of you to work with us, to innovate and transform your businesses. Tonight’s award winners exemplifies the spirit of transformation and innovation.
a. One example is Four Star Mattress, a winner under the Heritage Brands category. The company was established 55 years ago. Over the years, through its commitment to innovation, it has evolved from producing hand-processed mattresses to being the first to introduce individual pocket-spring mattresses in Singapore. Four Star Mattress’ investment in research and development has also allowed it to design products that cater to the diverse needs of its customers, including those with health conditions such as back ache and insomnia. This sets it apart from its competitors.
Trade associations and chambers play a vital role to facilitate business transformation, including internationalisation
6. Our trade associations and chambers or TACs also play a vital role facilitating business transformation and internationalisation. Businesses can leverage the networks within the TACs to explore and capture overseas market opportunities.
a. The GlobalConnect initiative by the Singapore Business Federation and Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry is an example of how TACs can help enterprises enter new markets in the region.
b. In the past 5 years, the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises or ASME has led over 1,000 companies to overseas trade fairs and business missions, covering more than 20 markets. The SME Centre@ASME has also provided advisory services to help SMEs maximise business opportunities at international trade shows.
7. I want to take this opportunity to thank ASME, not only for co-organising this event, but also for your efforts to support and uplift local companies. From advisory support to career conversion programmes and internationalisation activities, your team at the TAC and SME Centre have been invaluable in supporting our companies. I look forward to your continued contributions helping local companies to transform, innovate and internationalise.
8. In closing, congratulations once again to all the award winners tonight. I look forward to more companies following your examples, and to having more iconic and global brands from Singapore in time to come.
9. Thank you.