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SBF launches Young Business Leaders Network (YBLN) to enhance transformation and future readiness

  • The network comprises next-generation successors groomed to take over family businesses, entrepreneurs, technopreneurs and young corporate leaders

  • YBLN will be Singapore’s official representative to the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Council and Association, and will represent Singapore’s engagement with other young entrepreneurs’ organisations globally

27 September 2018 [Singapore] - The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) today launched its Young Business Leaders Network (YBLN) at its third annual edition of its Family Business Forum.

The launch was witnessed by Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of Education, Mr Chee Hong Tat, alongside some 125 YBLN members and representatives of family businesses.

The SBF YBLN aims to prepare business leaders below the age of 45 to embrace transformation and be future-ready. The volatile environment of rapid disruption challenges leaders to be more agile, adaptable and ready to tackle unceasing change. YBLN members represent varied businesses and comprise next generation successors of distinguished family businesses, entrepreneurs, technopreneurs and young corporate leaders from a wide cross-section of Singapore’s multi-ethnic and international heritage. To-date, some 70 notable members of the business community have accepted the invitation to join YBLN, including

1. Chong Ee Rong1, Group Managing Director, Ogilvy Singapore

2. Darren Teo, Managing Partner, Apricot Capital Pte Ltd

3. Kwek Eik Sheng, Group Chief Strategy Officer, City Developments Ltd

4. Kelvin Lee, Co Founder & CEO, Fundnel

5. Aqeel Nomanbhoy, Director, Nomanbhoy & Sons Pte Ltd

6. Suhaimi Zainul-Abidin, CEO of Quantedge Capital Pte Ltd

7. Ayesha Aziz Khan, Managing Director & CEO, Summit Power International Ltd

YBLN is private-sector led and is unique in that it will adopt a top-down and bottom-up approach to identifying issues and solutions that resonate with young business leaders. As a start, YBLN activities will be centred around self-discovery, knowledge and capability building, mentorship and the expansion of local and international business networks.

In her message as the incoming Chair of YBLN, Ms Chong Ee Rong, said “If the talk is about the Young Business Leaders of Tomorrow, I say that you are already the leaders of today. What we do now, whether it’s where we invest, be it for ourselves, our businesses, our sectors or our country, it’s about building a better, brighter future. I hope that all young business leaders here will step forward to work with us collectively to make Singapore a better place to do business and live”.

“Our ambition is for YBLN to be a confluence of people, knowledge, networks and technology. We believe that where there is passion, there will be people, where there is curiosity there will be knowledge, and where there is partnership, there can be growth. I’m very much looking forward to partnering with you, on the journey forward”, she added.

Mr S S Teo, Chairman of SBF said ”Nothing could be more apt than launching our SBF YBLN at our Family Business Forum today where we discuss the many drivers of successful family businesses. I note that some of the young business leaders present here today are successors groomed to take over family businesses. Young business leaders and our family businesses are important facets of our business ecosystem.

“Putting in place a robust corporate governance structure is an important milestone of business growth. This is not an easy step but an important one. The balance will need to be struck among family, shareholders and professionals. It has to be well thought through, and all parties involved need to be adequately prepared”, he noted.

“At the same time, I am happy that SMS Chee has taken the opportunity of today’s forum to share the many enhancements that our Government has, and will, put in place in its Government Procurement framework to enable more of our SMEs to participate and benefit from government procurement projects through enterprise and innovation. This is something that our SBF SME Committee has been advocating for. The enhancements will increase the opportunities for SMEs, many of which are family businesses, to build their capabilities and track records through government procurement projects and expand overseas. The Singapore Business Federation is committed to outreaching these latest changes to our members so that more can benefit from them”, added Mr Teo.

The launch of the SBF YBLN is timely as Singapore will host the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Carnival this November in conjunction with our term as Chair of ASEAN.

“I am glad to see our young business leaders stepping forward to steer our economy into the future. The Government will partner our businesses to create a pro-enterprise environment that supports economic growth and innovation. One important initiative is the enhancement of government procurement processes to provide more opportunities for SMEs to demonstrate their capabilities and build up track records. This will enable more local SMEs to scale up their operations, and bring their products and services overseas.”, said Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr Chee Hong Tat, who was Guest of Honour at the Forum.

“Family businesses are the greatest drivers of wealth creation globally, yet historically most of these do not survive the third generation. Today’s conference and the YBLN platform seek to help today’s generation of business owners meet this challenge and consider the elements needed to ensure business continuity over generations, as well as maintaining family harmony and values,” said Mr Peter Triggs, Managing Director and Regional Head of Wealth Planning, DBS Bank, the Forum’s Strategic Partner.

Philip Yuen, CEO Deloitte Southeast Asia and Singapore, said: “In this critical time of generational transition for business families in Asia, the SBF YBLN will be instrumental in supporting the growth of business families, providing a platform to learn, network and be connected to business leaders in the region. Deloitte Private is pleased to support SBF in their ongoing efforts to help business families to succeed and create a lasting legacy that can be passed on to their future generations.”

About the SBF Family Business Forum 2018

Today’s forum saw family businesses from Singapore’s multi-ethnic and international commercial heritage coming together to discuss managing transition and the importance of reinventing themselves to stay relevant.

Themed “Drivers of Successful Family Businesses”, the Forum explored the challenges and successes of family businesses, and what it takes to remain competitive amid constantly evolving demands of the business landscape. Topics such as professionalisation, corporate governance, family business succession and the importance of networks were discussed. The event featured notable speakers and panellists such as Mr Peter Pagonis, Senior Partner of Deloitte Private, Mr Peter Triggs, Managing Director and Regional Head of Wealth Planning at DBS Bank, Prof Annie Koh, Academic Director of the Business Families Institute at SMU, and key family business leaders. The event was organised by SBF with DBS Bank and Deloitte Private as partners. 

1 Chong Ee Rong is also an SBF Council Member and Chair of the SBF Young Business Leaders Network. 

Opening Address by Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade & Industry Mr Chee Hong Tat

Welcome Remarks by SBF Chairman Mr S.S. Teo

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