Thirty home-grown companies have bagged prizes for their brand accomplishments at the 17th Singapore Prestige Brand Award, with 24 of them being first-time winners.
The contest, which was jointly organised by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) and Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao, saw awards in six categories handed out at Marina Mandarin hotel yesterday.
Some of the categories were for "micro" brands that are at least three years old, with fewer than three outlets and less than $2 million in annual revenue, heritage brands that are older than 25 years, and brands active in at least three large overseas markets.
Among established brands, which have been around for more than five years, there were 12 winners, including newcomers such as beauty chain Adonis and Chinese class provider Hua Cheng.
Familiar faces returning to the awards stage in this category included online clothing retailer Echo of Nature, as well as eatery chains Collin's and BreadTalk Group's Toast Box.
The special merit prize for government agencies and not-for-profit organisations went to Gardens by the Bay.
Lianhe Zaobao associate editor Goh Sin Hwee, co-chairman of the organising committee for the event, said small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) "have always contributed greatly in cultivating our local business leaders, social leaders and philanthropists".
"With the rapid transformation of Singapore's economy and society, it's an opportunity for SMEs to further demonstrate their versatility, wisdom and courage."
ASME vice-president Chew Lee Ching, who chaired the organising committee for the awards, said the organisers "are pleased with the noticeable increase in participants with some degree of digital adoption".
With more transactions being done on online platforms, "branding has become even more important", she added.
She cited home-grown "smart home" firm hiLife, which was among the seven winners in the promising brands category for businesses between three and eight years old.
Set up in 2015, hiLife offers real estate developers, managing agents and condominium residents an app that taps technologies such as smart home voice control, car licence plate recognition and other features to digitalise community activities, such as booking a barbecue pit.
Ms Chew said: "As a small country with a small market, we are all familiar with the call to innovate, transform and internationalise. These are no longer 'nice-to-have' claims. They are indispensable components of a company's growth strategy."
The top company in each award category - except for the micro and special merit categories - will be named at another ceremony on Nov 1.