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Iswaran: Develop new capabilities, harness innovation

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Singapore enterprises must adopt differentiated strategies for growth in order to beat the competition, said Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran.

Firms must first be prepared to develop new capabilities and harness innovation to capitalise on emerging trends in their sectors, he said at the Emerging Enterprise Awards ceremony last Friday night.

These can include mastering new digital platforms or employing non-traditional business models.

In addition, companies must be geared to internationalise earlier rather than later in their development, said Mr Iswaran.

"Across Asia today, we are seeing rapid urbanisation, a rising middle class with its attendant demands, which offer significant opportunities for enterprises that venture abroad," he noted.

He added that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups have to plan for international growth from the get-go in order to seize these opportunities for growth.

Mr Iswaran said the success stories of Singapore's emerging enterprises takes on added significance as the country enters a new phase of economic development.

"To seize these new opportunities, we want our enterprises to be able to respond nimbly to political and economic shifts, shorter technology cycles, and changes in consumer demand patterns and business models," he said.

"They need to develop an enterprising mindset, a strong culture of innovation, build deep capabilities and aim to scale up and internationalise."

The event at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, jointly organised by The Business Times and OCBC bank, saw local companies Ace Water, Greenology and Secretlab emerge as the top three winners.

Ace Water provides services and technology to treat waste water.

Greenology provides landscaping and urban farming products and technology while Secretlab designs and manufactures ergonomic computer chairs. - THE STRAITS TIMES