SMEs recognised for resilience and growth amid pandemic

(From left) President of Spirit of Enterprise Rachel Wong, Managing director of Y.E.S F&B Group Samuel Yik, Founder of Win-Pro Consultancy Ronald Soh and Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and Culture, Community and Youth Low Yen Ling. PHOTO: SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE

SINGAPORE - IT services and consulting company Win-Pro Consultancy collected over 100 second-hand computers in Singapore in March 2021 and donated them to an IT school in Batam, Indonesia.

It also extended credit terms to clients that were short of cash and unable to pay for rendered services, said Mr Ronald Soh, founder of the home-grown firm.

For these efforts in corporate social responsibility, the company on Wednesday (May 25) received the SOE-Dian Xiao Er Social Contributions Award at the annual Spirit of Enterprise (SOE) Awards.

Small and medium-size businesses were recognised for their achievements at the ceremony, back after a two-year pause caused by the pandemic.

"Looking back on the time since the pandemic started, I am proud to say that our business community has fought bravely and many enterprises have emerged stronger," said Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and Culture, Community and Youth Low Yen Ling, the guest of honour at the event at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.

Some key traits of every successful entrepreneur are resilience and adaptability, said Ms Low.

"The entrepreneur who can marshal resources and strength to weather the rain or hail, and not give up will stand firm and even taller after the storms have passed... enterprises that adapt well to the changing needs of their customers will find themselves positioned and able to maximise emerging opportunities to grow their pie," she added.

There were a total of 44 award winners in five categories.

Another prize, the SOE-Neo Start-up Award, recognised start-up businesses that drive the nation's economic growth at a time of constant technological disruption.

Local plant-based food start-up Float Foods, which developed a plant-based substitute for chicken eggs, was one of 10 winners of the award.

Its substitute consists of both an egg yolk and egg white as separate components that can be cooked sunny-side up. It will be launched by the end of 2022.

"Being a Singapore start-up, we want to play a role in contributing to Singapore's food security," said Ms Vinita Choolani, founder and chief executive officer of Float Foods.

There have been numerous product and chicken egg recalls as a result of salmonella bacteria or other contaminants, said Ms Choolani.

"Being locally produced, we can control and manage the entire supply chain for eggs, enabling us to be responsible for food safety and traceability, among other things."

Bakery chain Bengawan Solo won the SOE-Nexia TS Entrepreneurship Award, which is given to a past SOE awardee, for its ability to take its business to a new level of growth.

Ms Anastasia Liew, who founded Bengawan Solo in 1979, said the chain was looking to further grow its gift and travel retail business by developing better gift packaging and expanding the product range for food gifts.

To achieve the Government's Singapore Economy 2030 vision of growing exports to at least $1 trillion, the Government is working closely with business associations, enterprises, and workers to set a firm foundation for long-term, sustainable growth, said Ms Low.

"The Government will also expand its efforts to identify promising local businesses and support their efforts to grow into global champions."

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