Entrepreneur & Small Business Group Update - Q4 2016

The Entrepreneur and Small Business Group (ESBG) is cognizant that it is representing one of the fastest growing areas in Singapore and, for that matter, the region - entrepreneurship and SMEs.  This is a global phenomenon – spurred on by the interest in disruptive technology and innovation. Here's their 2016 Q4 Update.

By Mark Florance, Managing Director, S.E.A Strategic Pte. Ltd
 
The Entrepreneur and Small Business Group (ESBG) is cognizant that it is representing one of the fastest growing areas in Singapore and, for that matter, the region - entrepreneurship and SMEs.  This is a global phenomenon – spurred on by the interest in disruptive technology and innovation.
 
This trend is particularly relevant to Singapore with some of the major pillars of its economy impacted by the general global malaise – shipping/trade, oil and gas/offshore services, finance and banking, commodities, etc.  People from these industries are finding they often need to reinvent themselves - as their chosen sector is contracting - often as an entrepreneur or a small business owner.
 
SMEs are playing an increasingly prominent role in the economies of the region – in sectors previously dominated by either governments or large family dominated business groups.
 
People are choosing Singapore as their preferred base to develop businesses either because they came here in another role and stayed on, or decided to move here keen to take advantage of the potential in Singapore (and the region) for disruption and innovation.  In some cases, it is to fill a niche that is left unattended or unfulfilled by some of the more established players in a sector.
 
This trend is supported by the Singapore government through initiatives such as small business grants and the creation of hubs such as Fusionopolis and Block 71.
 
Which brings us to another trend.  Entrepreneurs and small businesses are not developing in isolation – they are working in communities.  Gone are four walls and cubicles and in their place open co-working spaces. This new type of working environment (largely modelled on tech companies like Google) provides infrastructure such as meeting rooms, Wi-Fi, receptions and kitchens. This allows businesses to be established without having to pay for costly infrastructure, while providing flexibility to grow or contract.  
 
It is also about collaboration and networking. These types of co-working spaces provide the network to find clients, service providers and complimentary businesses. 
 
The dynamic growth in entrepreneurship and small businesses in Singapore has kept the ESBG business group on its toes and we constantly throw around ideas as to how evolve with the trend and best service this business area of the Chamber.
 
On the theme of networking, we have organised two well attended speed networking nights – the small business equivalent of speed dating – where each participant is given a limited time for his “elevator pitch” before the bell rings.  We plan to hold more of these events next year as the feedback has been very positive.
 
The ESBG committee membership reflects the sector itself and is quite dynamic.  We are fortunate to have four new members to the committee this quarter, three of whom were finalists in the Chamber’s 17th Annual Business Awards – one of which won the SME category.  They are: Jan-Arie Bijloos, Head of Business Development, Otomonos;
Kristy Castleton, Founder and Managing Director, Rebel and Soul Pte Ltd; and Scott Mitchell, Director of Sales, Capital Springboard (the winner). We were also joined by new member, Norris Capsie, Sales Director AlphaNOva Pte Ltd.
 
We are looking forward to another year of strong growth in this sector and have already begun organising an interesting event calendar to support it. For more information visit http://www.britcham.org.sg/business-group-details/entrepreneur--small-business
 
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