4 Business Awards In Singapore That Recognise SMEs Capabilities

In the middle of the COVID-19 recession, thinking about winning a business award might seem frivolous. But it could just be the shot in the arm that your business needs. 

This “shot in the arm” could take the form of added gloss for your business. That is, additional prestige and credibility. Winning an award is a signal that your business is outperforming others in your industry and is doing something outstanding. In turn, this could then bring in more contracts, draw quality talent, and especially relevant today, boost the morale of everyone in the company.

If you are a business owner, here are 4 established business awards that you can consider applying for.

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#1 Emerging Enterprise Award 2020

Organisers: The Business Times, OCBC Bank

The Emerging Enterprise Award “honours the bold ambition of Singapore’s young businesses under 10 years old”.

This award has been handed out for the last 13 years. It recognises the “business innovation, resilience and excellence” in Singapore SMEs.

2019 winners of the Emerging Enterprise award include Emage Vision (which uses machines to do human inspecting work), Spark Systems (a low-latency trading platform) and Xjera (a video-analytics start-up). Other winners in the past include FOMO Pay, a one-stop mobile payments aggregator, Sunseap, a clean energy solutions provider in Singapore, Secretlab, which creates ergonomic gaming and office chairs, ShopBack, a cashback e-commerce platform, Benjamin Barker, a local menswear label, and many more household names.

Each year, there are actually 4 awards for SMEs being handed out: the Emerging Enterprise Award, the Best Innovation Award, the Most Promising Startup Award, and the newly minted Sustainability Award.

Apart from the pride of claiming the Emerging Enterprise Award, three winners will also receive prizes:

  • OCBC – Interest-free Term Loan worth $250,000 each (two years)
  • Mastercard – $20,000 credit in the OCBC Business Debit Card and a Mastercard Priceless Staycation Experience worth $30,000
  • RSM – Consulting Package for Growing Businesses worth $30,000 
  • Acorn Marketing & Research Consultants – Strategic Research Consultancy Package worth $20,000 
  • Rajah & Tann Legal Basix – Legal and advisory package worth up to $10,000 each
  • SPH – Media package worth $25,000 

The application period for this year is from July – August, so interested applicants who haven’t signed up will have to wait next year.

There is no application fee. Interested business owners can fill up the application form here

Shortlisted applicants will be informed by email and phone by early September each year.

#2 Singapore Prestige Brand Award (SPBA)

Organisers: Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (ASME) and Lianhe Zaobao

The Singapore Prestige Brand Award (SPBA) started in 2002. Today, it “(recognises) Singapore brands that have been developed and managed effectively through various branding initiatives”.

This award is also “a yardstick for SMEs to benchmark their brand equity against their competitors”.

Winners from 2019 include Kingsford Group, a regional property developer, RHT, which provides professional services for capital markets, White Restaurant, an F&B chain, and FotoHub, an imaging solutions company. Past winners also include Toast Box, Eu Yan Sang and other homegrown names.

There are 5 main award categories: SPBA – Promising Brands, SPBA – Established Brands, SPBA – Heritage Brands, SPBA – Regional Brands and SPBA – Special Merit.

With the exception of SPBA – Special Merit:

  • An overall winner is chosen for each category. 
  • A SPBA – Most Popular Brand Winner will also be selected by the public in each category. 

Typically launched in April each year, the award’s Facebook page says that it will be launched later in the year instead, with no firm date presented. It goes on to say that you can pre-register via this link.

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#3 Entrepreneur of the Year Award (EYA) 

Organisers: Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (ASME) and Rotary Club of Singapore

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award (EYA) is into its 31st year, making it the one of the oldest award in Singapore that recognizes local entrepreneurs. They could be owners of emerging or established enterprises. The Award “prides itself for the high qualifying criteria, rigorous rounds of site visits, and stringent judging process”.

Last year, the submission deadline was 14 June 2019. There are two categories for winners: Established Entrepreneur and  New Entrepreneur.

Last year’s winner for Overall winner for the Established Entrepreneur category was Rachel Wong, Co- Founder & Managing Director of Marunda Utama Engineering Pte Ltd. The Overall Winner for the New Entrepreneur category was Dr. Collin Ang, Managing Director for Decision Science Agency Pte. Ltd.

Past winners include entrepreneurs from Eatz Group, Old Street Bak Kut Teh and Ademco Security.

Like the other awards mentioned here, there is no registration fee to take part in the award. However, if an entrepreneur is selected as a winner, they “will be required to take up an Award Package upon notification of their win”.

#4 Enterprise 50 Award (E50 Awards)

Organisers: The Business Times and KPMG

The E50 Awards was started in 1995. It recognizes the “50 most enterprising local, privately-held companies who have contributed to the economic development of Singapore, both locally and abroad”.

For the past 26 years, the awards “have honoured more than 600 companies, from which more than 100 have gone on to be listed on both local and overseas stock markets”. Many local enterprises see the awards as “a stepping stone towards a public listing”. 

Nominations for the 2020 Enterprise 50 Awards closed on 15 September 2020. That means companies will have to wait next year to apply.

Winners for 2019 include: Soilbuild Group Holdings Ltd, Huttons Asia Pte Ltd, Ya Kun (S) Pte Ltd and Ademco (Far East) Pte Ltd. Winners in past years include OrangeTee & Tie, RE & S Enterprises, Huationg, OKH Holdings, 800 Super, Union Energy, Koufu, iFast and many more. Many of these companies were conferred the award over a decade ago, when they were much smaller compared to their size today. 

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Tips When Submitting For A Business Award

If you have decided to take part in one of these awards (or in others that are not listed here), here are some tips on how you can make your entry stand out.

  1. Go for awards that meet your business objectives. Put in a more familiar way, go for quality awards instead of quantity.
  2. Keep an eye out for the credibility of the award organisers.
  3. Read the award criteria and submit entries that are customised to the award, instead of a generic entry.
  4. Because some awards have qualitative criteria to them – apart from a quantitative one – keep your written entries concise and proofread them before submitting.
  5. Tell stories. Stories are compelling tools that can leave an impression on the award judges. Stories like overcoming the odds and adversity tend to be crowd-pleasers and may make your submission stand out more.

This list of tips is not exhaustive. When in doubt, let good sense prevail. All the best in the contests and may the best companies win.

Need Financing Support During This Period?

From now till 31 March 2021, SMEs can enjoy extra financing support of up to $5 million through the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme.

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