Fifty-six entrepreneurs were honoured at the this year's Spirit of Enterprise (SOE) Awards ceremony held at the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, on Thursday.
The annual event is undertaken by SOE, a non-profit and non-governmental charity organisation, to honour and inspire excellence in business entrepreneurship in Singapore. The guest of honour on Thursday was Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat.
A total of 42 individuals from 39 companies received the SOE Award for established entrepreneurs, while 13 individuals from nine companies were given the SOE-Neo Start-Up Award for startup companies.
Past honouree Richard Eu, non-executive chairman of Eu Yan Sang International, received a special award known as the SOE-Nexia TS Entrepreneurship Award. It is given to a past honouree of the SOE Awards as a recognition of their ability to take their business to a new level of growth.
Two other special awards were presented to two of the 42 honourees in the Established Entrepreneurs category. Henry Ng Guan Hua, managing director of Maxsteel Enterprise, received the SOE-PropNex Top Honouree Award; and Dr Christopher Chong Yew Luen of Chris Chong Women and Urogynae Clinic received the inaugural SOE-Dian Xiao Er Social Contributions Award.
The SOE-Dian Xiao Er Social Contributions Award is presented to companies that exemplify the virtues of corporate social responsibility through their initiatives. SOE said the recognition acknowledges the heightened expectations that businesses will play a greater role in combating inequality and other social and environmental issues.
Said Samuel Yik, managing director of Y.E.S. F&B Group (Dian Xiao Er): "Business is more than just revenues and meeting KPIs (key performance indicators). It's about being a better person and being socially responsible."
In addition to honouring entrepreneurs, SOE endeavours to inspire the next generation by giving local tertiary students the opportunity to interview entrepreneurs they admire. The transcripts of these interviews are used in the selection of the honourees, and students with the most outstanding submissions will receive an award sponsored by SOE's education partner Charles & Keith Group.
This year, nine students from Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore Institute of Technology and Nanyang Polytechnic took home the SOE-Charles & Keith Best Student Interviewer Award.