Enterprise 50 Awards 2019

The 25th iteration of the Enterprise 50 (E50) Awards saw a fresh cohort of 50 outstanding local businesses honoured for their accomplishments, spirit of innovation excellence and sustainable business models – with a special Digital Economy Award presented for the first time. The gala dinner held at Resorts World Convention Centre on Nov 26 saw the top honours going to Agorae Pte Ltd, and the second- and third-place awards going to SoilBuild and Valency International Trading respectively.

Agorae is the holding entity for the Teledirect group of companies, a leading provider of business process services. Soilbuild is an integrated real estate developer, while Valency International Trading is an international commodity trading house based in Singapore.

“It is an incredible honour for Agorae Pte Ltd to be recognised as the top home-grown business in 2019. Being part of this exclusive group in Singapore will certainly boost our confidence as we expand our business overseas, and continue to transform to stay ahead in this ever-changing economic landscape,” said Laurent Junique, CEO of TDCX (re-branded from Teledirect as of Nov 25, 2019), which operates under Agorae.

The inaugural Digital Economy Award was given out to celebrate the silver jubilee of the E50 Awards, and M-DAQ Pte Ltd, a decade-old local fintech start-up, clinched the honour. Thanks to its highly scalable and profitable business, M-DAQ – identified as a future billion-dollar company – earned access to the KPMG-A*Star Joint Lab, a data-science powered laboratory in the professional services sector.

The KPMG-A*Star Joint Lab uses artificial intelligence methods such as machine learning to help businesses in areas such as cyber threat hunting, and text mining to automate enquiry-response process for key business resources, as well as to expedite the tax filing categorisation process.

From the list of 50 winners emerged two other special winners. The Special Recognition – Internationalisation Award went to Akribis Systems Pte Ltd, while the Special Recognition – Enterprise Transformation Award went to Ademco (Far East) Pte Ltd.

Founded in Singapore, Akribis Systems Pte Ltd is a leading mechatronics enterprise that delivers direct drive motion and control solutions that support a wide range of industries, and its clear overseas expansion strategies targeting overseas markets tipped the scales in its favour.

Meanwhile, Ademco (Far East) Pte Ltd was conferred the Enterprise Transformation Award for leveraging technology to transform itself despite being in a traditional sector. It has invested heavily in product innovation, featuring services such as automation of security services. Ademco provides innovation security solutions across Asia; operates one of the largest 24-hour central monitoring centres in Singapore; and also prides itself on being the largest security provider to high-security military sites.

The awards were presented by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat, and is jointly organised by KPMG in Singapore and The Business Times, and sponsored by OCBC Bank. Supporters of the awards include Enterprise Singapore, the Singapore Business Federation and the Singapore Exchange.

The winning criteria include factors such as the nominees’ business model, productivity and innovation, management ideals and governance, risk management and market presence in the region and beyond.

Wong Wei Kong, The Business Times editor, said: “The E50 Awards recognises 50 most enterprising local, privately-held companies who have contributed to the economic development of Singapore, both locally and abroad. The winners of this year’s E50 Awards exhibited outstanding innovation, market presence and excellent productivity amongst other ideal qualities. We hope that these winners will go on to achieve greater successes and inspire other businesses as well.”

The E50 Awards is widely recognised as a stamp of approval for businesses, helping to open doors to new businesses, access to strong financial backing, and provides a launchpad to an IPO listing. Over the years, more than 100 past winners have gone on to be listed on the Singapore Exchange and other bourses in the region.

Jonathan Ho, Head of Enterprise Market at KPMG in Singapore, said: “We are very proud of the entries this year, and deeply encouraged to see local businesses evolving to compete against stiff global competition. Looking into 2020 and beyond, there will be continued disruptions in the already challenging business environment. But smooth waters don’t make skilled sailors. We are committed to putting resources behind these local enterprises to fuel their efforts to globalise and succeed.”

In keeping with its ethos of championing local businesses and inspiring future generations of entrepreneurs and leaders, E50 collaborates with the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School annually to preserve the success stories of our award winners in a commemorative coffee-table book. Every year, a limited number of copies signed by the guest of honour will be sold for S$5,000 each, and funds raised go towards the NUS Business School Bursary Fund. A total of over S$551,000 has been raised to date.

(Photos: SPH – The Business Times)