Do more to support local businesses

Recently, there had been news that Buddy Hoagies Cafe and Grill has been asked to move out of Nee Soon South Community Centre after 12 years, and will be replaced by a KFC outlet ("Cafe's impending exit surprises patrons"; last Saturday).

It was not so long ago that we were lamenting the lack of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit among Singaporeans. Yet now a well-loved local cafe is facing a disadvantage against KFC.

Could the authorities explain what other factors were considered when they decided not to re-award the tender to Buddy Hoagies?

Another eatery facing a move is One Shot Coffee in Prudential Tower. Given its popularity among working professionals, what would the landlord there stand to gain by not renewing its lease?

While these two situations were down to money, it was a government decision that hit Jurong Frog Farm, one of many farms based in Lim Chu Kang which have been asked to move out when their leases expire to make way for army training grounds.

I have had personal interactions with Jurong Frog Farm director Chelsea Wan and am impressed with her enthusiasm and business acumen for making her family farm relevant to the children of today by organising educational tours.

While the agricultural sector might not contribute much to Singapore's gross domestic product, it does not mean it is any less important than other sectors.

The Government has put much effort into promoting entrepreneurship over the years. It is sad to know that our own local start-ups are still not given enough, if any, protection.

If these businesses have proven that they can deliver a better product and service than the big commercial chains, then we should all do our part and support them in whatever way we can.

Donovan Chee Kwok Hoe

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2016, with the headline 'Do more to support local businesses'. Print Edition | Subscribe