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Emerging Enterprise Award 2017 celebrates 10th anniversary with initiatives to help SMEs be future-ready

Number of applications has increased 8-fold since inaugural event in 2008

Singapore, 5 April 2017
 – Emerging Enterprise Award 2017 (EE 2017), Singapore’s only business award that reaches out to SMEs with annual sales turnover of up to S$20 million per annum, is now open for applications. The Award acknowledges promising startups and aspiring small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have been outstanding in their respective fields and provides these deserving businesses with the needed resources to build on their capabilities for further growth.

To be eligible for EE 2017 consideration, companies need to be in operation of up to 10 years and have at least 30 per cent of shareholdings owned by Singaporeans or Singapore Permanent Residents.

Jointly organised by Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH) financial daily, The Business Times, and OCBC Bank, the Award is supported by Mastercard, Acorn Marketing and Research Consultants, INSEAD, SPRING Singapore, Singtel, Maxus and the official auditor, RSM.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of EE and the Award was officially launched this morning at the SME Centre Conference 2017, a one-day conference targeted at local SMEs to help grow their business, and network with well-respected business leaders and knowledge experts. The conference is organised by the SME Centres and supported by SPRING Singapore.

In the past nine years, EE has honoured and celebrated the achievements of about 130 SMEs whose business models are as diverse as the industries that they represent. With the introduction of new partners, the EE has expanded to include new award categories given to honour business innovation, resilience and excellence. 

This year will see the introduction of a series of new initiatives to help the shortlisted EE 2017 finalists and SMEs improve their knowledge and capability base so as to be future-ready. Helmed by the EE 2017 partners, the events will help these business owners learn about unlocking the value of their brands and businesses, pick up best practices in e-commerce to boost their online businesses and learn crucial presentation tips. This is also in line with the government's recent push for SMEs to build up their digital capabilities.

There will also be roundtables moderated by senior journalists of The Business Times covering topics on the state of entrepreneurship in Singapore and skills and leadership development. The sessions involving past EE Award winners will look at how they have addressed topics on disruption and internationalisation of their businesses while overcoming the challenges they faced in their respective industries. 

SMEs are key pillars in Singapore’s economy. There are about 215,600 SMEs* in Singapore which makes up about 99 per cent of the total enterprise population in Singapore and contribute to nearly half of the nation’s GDP. SMEs in Singapore also play a significant role in the creation of jobs for Singaporeans as they employ 2 in 3 workers of the nation’s workforce. With Singapore’s economic success closely tied to the continued vibrancy of the SME sector, it is important that the SMEs continue to raise the bar for business excellence. 
(* SMEs, as defined by SPRING, refer to enterprises with annual sales turnover of not more than S$100 million or employing no more than 200 staff).

Up to three winners stand a chance to win the coveted Emerging Enterprise Winner title and prizes comprising professional and consultancy services, executive educational programmes and support in capability development offered by the respective EE 2017 partners.


  • S$200,000 interest-free Business Overdraft facility from OCBC Bank  
  • S$20,000 credit in the OCBC Business Debit Card and a Mastercard  Priceless Experiences travel package worth S$30,000, totalling S$50,000 per winner 
  • Strategic Brand & Product Development Research Package from Acorn Marketing & Research Consultants worth $30,000 per winner  
  • Open Enrolment Programme package from INSEAD worth S$30,000 per winner  
  • Consulting Package for Growing Businesses from RSM worth S$30,000 per winner  
  • Support from SPRING Singapore in capability development

As in past years, EE 2017 will continue its tradition of honouring excellence in innovation and recognising promising startups through its Best Innovation Award and Most Promising Startup categories. 

Singtel and OCBC Bank will present up to two winners with the Best Innovation Award. Each winner will receive up to S$30,000 worth of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) business solutions package from Singtel and an interest-free Business Overdraft facility worth S$50,000 from OCBC. This award recognises emerging enterprises which have a strong culture towards innovation - from finding creative solutions to solve business problems, creating a new untapped market for their products or embracing technology to transform their businesses.

One company up to three years old stands to walk away with the Most Promising Startup title and trophy, in addition to Maxus’ S$30,000 digital consulting package. This award celebrates and honours emerging enterprises with a strong startup spirit and has a commercially viable and sustainable product idea.

Emerging enterprises that meet the qualifying criteria have until Friday 2 June 2017 to register for the award and submit their business plans. For more information on EE 2017, please visit

Quotes by EE 2017 Award Organisers and Partners

Mr Wong Wei Kong, Editor of The Business Times
, said: "The EE Award has served as the launch pad for new fledging businesses to seek professional support to scale up their businesses and grow overseas. It has allowed them to profile themselves to prospective investors and business partners. Since its inception, the EE Award has seen a broad range of diverse business sectors represented, from life sciences and green technology to more traditional ones such as manufacturing and retailing. As the Award continues to evolve, its motivation remains the same - to celebrate the achievements of these emerging businesses. As Singapore's only financial daily, we will continue to champion the bold ambitions and inspiring business stories of our SMEs and unveil a new generation of ideas and innovation."

Mr Tan Chor Sen, Executive Vice President, Global Enterprise Banking, OCBC Bank
, said:"The Emerging Enterprise Award has evolved since it was launched a decade ago. The idea was birthed to give recognition to young emerging businesses that had been a largely neglected segment at that time, and provide them with the "fuel" to grow their business. Over the years, what the Award sets out to achieve remains the same, but the global business environment has changed dramatically with the advance of technology and with that in mind, we have introduced the Best Innovation Award and included a digital media consultancy package as part of the prize package for the Most Promising Startup Award winner. We want to ensure these promising businesses have the much-needed resources to further grow their capabilities for sustainable growth in this digital economy.

"To date, many members of our Emerging Enterprise Award alumni have gone on to scale greater heights and built their businesses into world-class brand names. We have seen an increase in the number of Award applications received each year, which goes to show that these young businesses see value in the Award. As we mark the 10th anniversary of the Award, we look forward to seeing and contributing to more success stories as we work towards building a vibrant and sustainable entrepreneurial eco-system in Singapore."

Ms Deborah Heng, Country Manager, Mastercard Singapore
, said: “We are pleased to support the Emerging Enterprise Award for the fifth consecutive year and help SMEs shine by bringing innovative solutions to them. In today’s fast-moving and highly competitive business landscape, we are continually enhancing our Commercial Payment solutions to improve the efficiency of payment processing for business owners.  Equipping SMEs with the know-how and capabilities to optimise operational flexibility can help businesses grow with confidence as they expand their footprint.”

Mr Kwan Chong Wah, Founder / CEO, Acorn Marketing and Research Consultants Group
 said: “The most gratifying part of our involvement in the Emerging Enterprise Award is working with the dedicated Team of Organisers and Partners to identify some of the most talented and entrepreneurial SMEs in Singapore. Apart from honouring their achievements, we have seen this event spur the SME participants to think bigger, and to look further. Many of these Enterprises, with their innovative products and services, would do very well in the region, as well as globally. The Acorn Marketing and Research Consultancy Group, with direct offices in 11 countries in the region, would be most supportive of these Enterprises should they decide to expand in the region. Afterall, we, too, are Singapore born and bred.”

Ms Mary Kwan, Regional Director Asia Pacific, Executive Education, INSEAD
, said:"The Emerging Enterprise Award plays an important role in supporting Singapore’s vibrant and diverse start-up ecosystem.  By celebrating the journey that promising young enterprises have taken towards success, the Award provides recognition for the hard work and passion that drive these businesses forward.  The Award is also an inspiration for other entrepreneurs and business leaders to embrace the spirit of life-long learning in their journey towards success.  As the education partner for EE 2017, INSEAD is proud to offer this year’s winners a place on our Executive Education programmes.  Through our research and teaching, we aim to transform them into globally-competitive organisations, capable of meeting the challenges of the ever-evolving business landscape . We are committed to helping businesses and entrepreneurs achieve long-term and sustainable success through world-class business education.”

Mr Titus Yong, Vice President, Business Sales, Singtel Group Enterprise
, said: “The Best Innovation Award is in line with the Committee on the Future Economy’s call to help SMEs adopt digital technologies. Through the award, we recognise SMEs which demonstrate a strong culture towards innovating, and embracing technology to transform their business. Together with our other initiatives, such as the 99% SME movement, we are committed to empower SMEs in the digital economy.” 

Mr Desh Balakrishnan, Managing Director of Maxus
 said:“Maxus is delighted to be a partner of the Emerging Enterprise Award 2017 and look forward to the participation of all the progressive companies and the showcase of the innovative & enterprising business models. With the evolution of digital within the e-commerce space, we anticipate more entries from businesses who are venturing aggressively in this growth area as well as businesses who are expanding through the adoption of technology and new media possibilities.”

Mr Kaka Singh, Senior Partner, RSM
 said: “RSM is honoured to have journeyed with the Emerging Enterprise Award for the past decade.  As a leader in the SME scene who  have walked the enterprise growth journey with SMEs for more than 30 years,  the vibrancy and ambitions of young businesses continue to inspire and energise us.  We look forward to continue supporting them to grow, scale up and internationalise.”


Appendix 1 - 
EE 2017 Award Categories & Prizes

Appendix 2 - 
Corporate profiles of Emerging Enterprise Award 2017 partners

Appendix 3 - 
Emerging Enterprise Award 2017 judging panel

Appendix 4 – 
Emerging Enterprise Award past winners (2008-2015)

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd 
Co. Regn. No. 198402868E

Melissa Yee (Ms)
Group Corporate Communications 
DID: 6530 4713

Yeo Siew Chi (Mr) 
Corporate Communications & CSR Division
Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
DID: 6319 1586

About The Business Times 

The Business Times, a member of the Singapore Press Holdings group, is South-east Asia's leading financial daily. BT brings to its readers daily corporate, financial, economic and political news, analysis and commentary on print and digital platforms. It provides readers with in-depth coverage of Singapore and Asian business and economic developments, as well as global trends that impact Singapore business. BT's lifestyle journalists bring busy executives the latest in recreation, entertainment, the arts, design, food and shopping. 

For more information, please visit

Twitter: @BTbreakingnews

About OCBC Bank

OCBC Bank is the longest established Singapore bank, formed in 1932 from the merger of three local banks, the oldest of which was founded in 1912. It is now the second largest financial services group in Southeast Asia by assets and one of the world’s most highly-rated banks, with an Aa1 rating from Moody’s. Recognised for its financial strength and stability, OCBC Bank is consistently ranked among the World’s Top 50 Safest Banks by Global Finance and has been named Best Managed Bank in Singapore and the Asia Pacific by The Asian Banker.

OCBC Bank and its subsidiaries offer a broad array of commercial banking, specialist financial and wealth management services, ranging from consumer, corporate, investment, private and transaction banking to treasury, insurance, asset management and stockbroking services.

OCBC Bank’s key markets are Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Greater China. It has more than 610 branches and representative offices in 18 countries and regions. These include the 340 branches and offices in Indonesia under subsidiary Bank OCBC NISP, and over 100 branches and offices in Hong Kong, China and Macau under OCBC Wing Hang.

OCBC Bank’s private banking services are provided by its wholly-owned subsidiary Bank of Singapore, which operates on a unique open-architecture product platform to source for the best-in-class products to meet its clients’ goals.

OCBC Bank's insurance subsidiary, Great Eastern Holdings, is the oldest and most established life insurance group in Singapore and Malaysia. Its asset management subsidiary, Lion Global Investors, is one of the largest private sector asset management companies in Southeast Asia.

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