A regional body named Singapore’s best entrepreneurs – here are the top 3, including billionaire Kwek Leng Beng

Winners of the 2017 APEA awards.
Enterprise Asia

Singapore billionaire Kwek Leng Beng has been given a lifetime achievement award in recognition for his business prowess and leadership through the years.

The award conferred by Enterprise Asia, a regional non-governmental organisation for entrepreneurship, was given out at the 2017 Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards (APEA) ceremony.

According to a press release, the award is “often compared to the Olympics for the stringent entry criteria and highly competitive judging parameters”.

A total of 15 leaders were in Singapore were recognised this year, out of a pool of 80 nominees.

Mr Kwek, executive chairman of conglomerate Hong Leong Group and property developer City Developments Limited (CDL), took home the top honour – a lifetime achievement award.

Hong Leong Group executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng.
The Straits Times

According to The Straits Times, Mr Kwek is also the chairman of the London-listed Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (M&C) which owns 128 international properties.

Forbes estimated his current net worth at $7.6 billion (S$10.37 billion), and the business mogul is fourth on their list of Singapore’s 50 richest billionaires in 2017.

Winners of the entrepreneur of the year award include Mr Albert Phuay, for the electrical and electronics industry, and Mr Cheam Hing Lee, for the Trading and Wholesaling Industry.

Mr Phuay is the founder and chairman of Excelpoint Technology Ltd, which is a leading regional electronics components distributor with a presence in more than 25 cities in Asia Pacific.

Founder and CEO of Excelpoint Technology Albert Phuay.
Lianhe Zaobao

In 1987, he started the company as a one-man operation with $25,000 (S$34, 000) borrowed from a good friend, according to an interview conducted by The CEO Magazine.

“A philosophy I hold dear to my heart is to put my focus on building strong relationships with our suppliers and our customers so they can put their trust in us,” he was quoted as saying in the magazine.

“(Excelpoint) doesn’t need to be a giant, but it needs to be strong and united.

“Like my principle of building trust, I hope that my people can have faith in the company and then, in turn, they help people to trust them by delivering on their promises and value-adding,” he added.

Fast forward to 2017, Excelpoint is listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and registered a net profit of $7.1 million (S$9.7 million) in 2016.

Fellow award-winner Mr Cheam, is the CEO of Rhodium Resources Pte Ltd, one of Singapore’s largest independent commodity traders.

Rhodium Resources CEO Mr Cheam Hing Lee
Enterprise Asia

Within a span of six years, Mr Cheam has grown his 2011-established enterprise from one that employed six people, to one that now has a geographical footprint of 20 countries worldwide, including Hong Kong, China, Dubai, Australia and the UK.

In 2016, Rhodium achieved a turnover of over $1 billion.

“Trade is not only about getting the right information. It’s about values, people, knowledge and expertise,” Mr Cheam said according to his hall of fame profile on Enterprise Asia.

“We believe that there is only one way to trade and that is by making the right judgement, following the principles of best practices and staying true to the ethics of trade.”

Other entrepreneurs recognised at APEA 2017:

Mr Scott D Smith, CEO of Beyonics International Pte Ltd

Dr Terence O’Çonnor, Group CEO of Courts Asia Ltd

Mr Ronald Goh Wee Huat, Managing Director of Electronics & Engineering Pte Ltd

Ms Danielle Warner, Founder & CEO of Expat Insurance Pte Ltd

Mr Ori Leshem, CEO of Genesis Retail Pte Ltd

Mr Adam Simkins, Director of Getz Bros. & CO. (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Mr David Kim, Managing Director SEA -ANZ of Tmax Singapore Pte Ltd

Ms Chin Wei Jia, Group CEO of Health Management International Ltd

Mr Low Cheong Kee, Managing Director & Founder of Home-Fix D.I.Y Pte Ltd

Mr Suneet Goenka, Founder & Group Managing Director of Red Apple Travel (S) Pvt. Ltd

Mr Tan Poo Seng, Founder & Managing Director of TopZone E&C Pte. Ltd

Ms Doris Wee Hui Cheen, Director of Wendell Trading Company