SINGAPORE - The co-founder of gaming chair maker Secretlab, Mr Ian Ang, was named Singapore's Entrepreneur of the Year by professional services firm EY at a virtual awards ceremony on Monday (Nov 9).
The 28-year-old, who is also Secretlab's chief executive officer, will represent Singapore to vie against entrepreneurs from more than 60 countries for the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year award in June next year.
He was also named EY Entrepreneur of the Year for consumer products on Monday.
Mr Ang was up against two other entrepreneurs for the award: Mr Richard Koh, 48, founder and chief executive of fintech start-up M-DAQ, and Mr Eric Leong, 34, managing director and co-founder of foundation steel solutions company Mlion Corporation.
Mr Koh was named Entrepreneur of the Year for financial technology, while Mr Leong was the Entrepreneur of the Year for industrial solutions.
The trio were selected from nearly 50 nominations based on six judging criteria: entrepreneurial spirit; financial performance or value creation; strategic direction; national and global impact; innovation and personal integrity or purpose-driven leadership.
The judging panel's chairman, Mr Png Cheong Boon, who is chief executive of Enterprise Singapore, said Mr Ang embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and has a business acumen of a seasoned entrepreneur.
"He spotted a niche in the ergonomic gaming chair market and went on to build Secretlab into a commercial success globally.
"With the courage to drop out of university to pursue his dreams and perseverance to build a product from next to nothing, Ian demonstrates how there are multiple pathways to success, the power of ideas and the value of continual hard work," he added.
Mr Ang was studying at a local university when he dropped out to focus on Secretlab.
Mr Png also noted Mr Ang's contributions to society, through Secretlab's donation of medical-grade masks to hospitals and partnerships with charities to grant the wishes of critically ill children.
Meanwhile, chairman of Truong Hai Auto Corporation (Thaco), Mr Duong Ba Tran, 60, was presented with the EY Asean Entrepreneurial Excellence Award.
The Hong Leong Group received the EY Family Business Award of Excellence.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, speaking at the virtual event, said having an entrepreneurial spirit is even more crucial today, as Singapore is in the midst of the most severe economic disruption since its independence in 1965.
He also urged entrepreneurs at the event to make an impact on the wider community, as "the best environment for a business to thrive is a community that is also thriving".
Past EY World Entrepreneur of the Year winners include Hyflux founder Olivia Lum (2011), Altrad founder Mohed Altrad (2015) and Uptake Technologies chief executive Brad Keywell (2019).