Chocolatier Paul Loo Lip Giam named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 Singapore

Governments, entrepreneurs and corporates must collaborate for a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem

  • Share

Singapore, 14 November 2013 – Professional services organization EY announced Mr. Paul Loo Lip Giam, Group CEO of Focus Network Agencies (S) Pte Ltd, as the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) 2013 Singapore at the 12th EY EOY awards gala held at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore this evening. Mr. S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry officiated at the gala as guest-of-honor.

Mr. Paul Loo Lip Giam, the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 Singapore


Mr. Loo will be Singapore’s representative at the prestigious EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year (WEOY) to be held in Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2014. He will compete with more than 60 other country winners for the coveted world title. The EY WEOY competition is the hallmark of the awards program, offering a platform to profile local entrepreneurs among the world’s most successful business leaders.

Please refer to fact sheet A for a list of WEOY contenders for 2014 and past WEOY winners.

Fact sheet A: World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014 contenders and past winners

List of some of the WEOY 2014 contenders

  • Germany: Dr. Andreas Kaufmann and Alfred Schopf, CEOs of Leica Camera AG
  • Netherlands: Chris Ouwinga, President & Joint CEO of UNIT4 N.V.
  • New Zealand: Rod Drury, Chief Executive/Executive Director of Xero Limited
  • Philippines: Ben Chan, Chairman of Suyen Corporation
  • United Kingdom: James Lambert, Chairman of R&R Ice Cream

Past WEOY winners

  • 2001: Paolo della Porta, President, Chairman and Group CEO of Saes Getters S.p.A,. Italy
  • 2002: Stefan Vilsmeier, President and CEO of BrainLAB AG, Germany
  • 2003: Narayana Murthy, Founder and Chairman of the India-based Infosys Technologies Limited, India
  • 2004: Tony Tan Caktiong, President of Jollibee Foods Corporation, The Philippines
  • 2005: Wayne Huizenga, Chairman of Huizenga Holdings, US
  • 2006: Bill Lynch, CEO of Imperial Holdings, South Africa
  • 2007: Guy Laliberte, Founder and CEO of Cirque du Soleil, Canada
  • 2008: Dr. Jean-Paul Clozel, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Actelion Pharmaceuticals, Switzerland
  • 2009: Cao Dewang, Chairman of Fuyao Glass Industry Group, China
  • 2010: Michael Spencer, Group CEO of ICAP plc, UK
  • 2011: Olivia Lum, Group President and CEO of Hyflux Ltd, Singapore
  • 2012: James Mwangi, CEO and Managing Director of Equity Bank, Kenya
  • 2013: Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder, President and CEO of Chobani, Inc., US

Mr. Wong Ngit Liong, Chairman of judging panel, also Chairman and CEO of Venture Corporation Limited comments: "In spotting the opportunity to venture into confectionary distribution with the closure of a third-party's business, Paul epitomizes the entrepreneurial qualities of being a visionary and risk-taker. For over 20 years, he has sustained a steady growth path for Focus Network Agencies through various crises with tenacity, clear strategic direction and innovation, including establishing his own retail brand, The Cocoa Trees, to complement his core distribution business. His strong business stewardship, coupled with a high regard for his people through good and bad times, sets Paul apart from his peers."
On clinching the top honor, Mr. Loo says: “This recognition is the result of the contribution of my loyal brand partners, customers, staff and shareholders. I am humbled by this award and feel both great honor and responsibility in representing our nation at the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year.”

In addition to the top honor, EY presented three other awards for entrepreneurial excellence:

  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Logistics
    Loi Pok Yen, Group CEO, CWT Limited
  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Retail and Consumer Products
    Paul Loo Lip Giam, Group CEO, Focus Network Agencies (S) Pte Ltd
  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Marine and Offshore Engineering Services
    Glenndle Sim, Executive Chairman and CEO, Mencast Holdings Limited

Please refer to fact sheet B for the winners’ profiles.

Fact sheet B: Winner and company profiles

The information contained in this fact sheet is provided by the winners' companies.

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 Singapore


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Retail and Consumer Products
Mr. Paul Loo Lip Giam, Group CEO, Focus Network Agencies (S) Pte Ltd

On winning the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Retail and Consumer Products award

“My success belongs to my loyal brand partners, customers, staff and shareholders. To me, this award is the platform for me to honor and thank them for their support over the last 22 years and to encourage them towards scaling greater heights of excellence together.”

About Paul Loo Lip Giam

A civil engineer by training, Mr. Paul Loo Lip Giam, 56, founded Focus Network Agencies (Singapore) Pte Ltd (FNA) in 1991 with his wife Mrs. Esther Tang-Loo. Before joining FNA full-time in 1994, he was with a firm of consulting engineers for six years and was a stock-broker for four years.

FNA has since grown into Asia’s largest distributor and retailer of premier chocolates and confectionery products with a portfolio consisting more than 40 internationally renowned brands. FNA employs more than 550 staff and has a wide distribution network that extends into most of Indo-china, South-east and North-east Asia and as far west as India. In 2012, their Group turnover was $203m.

FNA also started Singapore’s first chocolate boutique, The Cocoa Trees, offering the widest range of internationally renowned brands under one roof. There are now more than 50 Cocoa Trees boutiques in Singapore and around the region.

About Focus Network Agencies (S) Pte Ltd

Focus Network Agencies (S) Pte Ltd (FNA) was founded in 1991 to distribute two brands of chocolates – Hawaiian Host and Droste, to the Singapore domestic market. With a staff strength of five, sales in its first full year of operations was approximately $1m.

It has since grown into a business with 2012 group turnover of $203m and staff strength of 550. It now represents more than 40 of the world’s most renowned chocolate brands who account for 95% of global confectionary sales.

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Logistics
Mr. Loi Pok Yen, Group CEO, CWT Limited

On winning the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Logistics award

“This recognition is not just about my individual success, but, more importantly, the result of the hard work and collective efforts by everyone in the CWT family. I congratulate and thank my fellow board directors, management colleagues and all our staff. This award very much belongs to them, and together we will continue to grow CWT and shape the logistics industry for the better.”

About Loi Pok Yen

Mr. Loi Pok Yen, 44, became a board director and assumed the position of CEO of CWT Group in January 2005, after privately owned logistics company C & P Holdings acquired CWT. He leads the executive team in strengthening the Group’s businesses and market competitiveness for the long-term success of the CWT Group. Prior to joining CWT, Mr. Loi was responsible for the construction of warehouses and running the logistics business operations at C & P.

From 1995 to 1997, Mr. Loi helped to oversee and build Myanmar International Terminals Thilawa (MITT), Myanmar's largest port. Mr. Loi’s entrepreneurial spirit has been instrumental in transforming the CWT Group into a global enterprise and a Forbes Asia Fab 50 company. In 2012, CWT reported record revenue and profits of $5.4b and $108m respectively.

Mr. Loi graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Business Administration (Honors) degree. He is married with three children.

About CWT Limited

CWT is a leading solutions provider of integrated logistics and supply chain management committed to connecting world trade and sustainable development. A Forbes Asia Fab 50 company, CWT serves the spectrum from small establishments to multinational corporations across multiple markets and geographies. Leveraging its strength and scale in logistics competencies, infrastructure and global network, CWT delivers solutions that help customers succeed and communities thrive. CWT has built a diversified portfolio around its core logistics capabilities. CWT provides commodity supply chain management for base metals and energy products. It is also engaged in engineering services for buildings, facilities and equipment fleet; property management; brokering services for exchange listed products; and asset and trust management for Cache Logistics Trust, a logistics property REIT. CWT is a Singapore corporation established in 1970 and traded on the Singapore Exchange since 1993. CWT employs around 6,000 people and reported revenue of S$5,397m in 2012.

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Marine and Offshore Engineering Services
Mr. Glenndle Sim, Executive Chairman and CEO, Mencast Holdings Limited

On winning the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Marine and Offshore Engineering Services award

“I dedicate this award to our 700 talented staff and many loyal customers that have supported us in growing Mencast’s business four-fold over the last five years. At Mencast, we seek to be ‘Partner Perfect’, which means creating value for all stakeholders in every business relationship and transaction. This award will spur us to work even harder to create even more value for our stakeholders.”

About Glenndle Sim

Mr. Glenndle Sim, 44, is the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Mencast Group. Under his leadership, Mencast has transformed into one of the region’s leading maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) companies serving the oil and gas and marine industries.

In 2008, Mr. Sim led Mencast to become the first sponsor-approved company to be listed on SGX Catalist as well as its subsequent transfer to the SGX Mainboard. From 2007 to 2012, the Group’s net profit increased almost three-fold and total assets grew more than seven times. His role as Chairman of the Board has been recognized at the Singapore Corporate Awards with Mencast receiving the “Best Managed Board” Gold award in its category in 2013.

Mr. Sim holds a  Bachelor in Business Administration from the National University of Singapore, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Delaware as well as certification curriculum in General Foundry Technology and Non-Ferrous Metals Technology. He attended Harvard Business School’s Owner and President Management Program in 2013.

About Mencast Holdings Limited

Mencast Holdings Ltd. and its subsidiaries (Mencast or the Group) is a regional maintenance, MRO solutions provider for the global offshore, oil & gas and marine sectors.

From humble beginnings in a rented workshop, the Group steadily expanded its business scale and capability over the last three decades. After becoming an established leader in the manufacture and repair of propellers and sterngear equipment, the Group expanded into the marine MRO industry. Today, through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions, the Group has transformed into a complete solutions provider serving the entire energy cycle, from exploration to production, distribution, maintenance and remediation. The Group’s industry leadership was recognized with the Luminary of Innovation award by Channel NewsAsia in 2013.

Led by a dedicated and experienced management team, and operating from waterfront facilities and logistics seaborne hub on 52,120 square meters of land area, the Group has currently three business segments: Marine, Offshore & Engineering and Energy Services.

An independent judging panel had assessed the nominees based on their merits in fulfilling the six global judging criteria, namely entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance, strategic direction, global/community impact, innovation and personal integrity/influence.

Please refer to fact sheet C for the judging panel and judging criteria.

Fact sheet C: EY Entrepreneur Of The Year judging panel and criteria

Judging panel

  • Wong Ngit Liong
    Chairman and CEO
    Venture Corporation Limited
    EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2002 Singapore
  • Richard Eu
    Group CEO
    Eu Yan Sang International Ltd
    EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Singapore
  • John Lim
    Group CEO
    ARA Asset Management Ltd
    EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Singapore
  • Simon Griffiths
    EQT Partners Singapore Pte Ltd
  • Frederick Chavalit Tsao
    Chairman, IMC Pan Asia Alliance Group
    President, Family Business Network Asia
  • Teo Eng Cheong
    International Enterprise Singapore
  • Jennie Chua
    Immediate Past Chairman
    Singapore International Chamber of Commerce

Judging criteria

The following six judging criteria sets the global standard adhered to by each and every country participating in the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards.

  • Entrepreneurial spirit
    The individual is a risk-taker who sets very high standards and demonstrates an unflinching desire and determination to succeed despite significant obstacles.
  • Financial performance
    The business has demonstrated strong financial performance and maintains a good track record in raising finance. Coupled with quality investments, the business has the potential for long-term sustainability.
  • Strategic direction
    The individual not only creates and turns business visions into realities, but also builds strategic alliances and empowers talents to achieve common goals.
  • Global/community impact
    The business has expanded or plans to expand into international markets and has made global impact in terms of job creation and improved living economics.
  • Innovation
    The individual has pioneered a new approach or technology, embraces changes and continuously innovates.
  • Personal integrity/influence
    The individual earns great respect and is able to communicate ideas and influence the wider community. The individual’s enforcement of socially responsible practices seeks to improve the quality of life.

The award recipients were selected from over 50 nominations. Mr. Max Loh, Singapore and Asean Managing Partner at EY, observes that the entrepreneurial scene in Singapore has progressed steadily over the years. “In the last 12 years that we’ve been organizing the EOY awards, we have seen increased diversity in the pool of nominations across dimensions such as business sectors, gender and age,” he says.

The “power of three” in building a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem

Collaboration between governments, entrepreneurs and corporates to create a thriving and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem is critical. EY’s global research highlights the need for the three communities to come together to look into access to funding, tax and regulation, entrepreneurial culture, and education and training, as key pillars of an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Mr. Loh comments: “Clearly, building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem must be a tripartite effort that fully exploits what I would call ‘the power of three’. While entrepreneurs are vital change agents in developing new products and services, creating new business models and industries, generating jobs and contributing to prosperous societies in that process, they need the support from government and corporates as well.”

Entrepreneurs echo the importance of such a collaborative relationship.

Mr. Glenndle Sim, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Marine and Offshore Engineering Services, Executive Chairman and CEO, Mencast Holdings Limited says: “Governments, entrepreneurs and corporations can work even more closely to develop leadership capabilities and enhance the skills and knowledge of our entrepreneurial community. This will form the base for the creation of innovative and competitive products and services that can attain high sustainable growth.”

Mr. Paul Loo Lip Giam, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Retail and Consumer Products, Group CEO of Focus Network Agencies (S) Pte Ltd believes that education is key. “The government can play a great role in fostering an entrepreneurial culture through education at an early age to foster lateral thinking, creativity and confidence to express contrarian ideas. This system should encourage independent thinking and even challenge conventional wisdom and history, with broad-based measures of success that do not over-emphasize on exam scores and rote learning, and provide many paths for an individual to grow.”

Highlighting the need to promote entrepreneurship as a favorable career option and removing the stigma of failure, Mr. Loi Pok Yen, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Logistics, Group CEO of CWT Limited adds: “Singapore is a thriving metropolis of multinational companies that will pay top dollar for the best talent. Thus the risk-reward ratio and the relatively limited size of the Singapore market simply cannot incubate a large pool of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship will thrive when the perceived rewards from starting and running a business outweigh the risks.”

Special honor for Kewalram Chanrai Group

At the gala, EY and Barclays also presented the inaugural EY-Barclays Family Business Award of Excellence to the Kewalram Chanrai Group.

Mr. Narain Girdhar Chanrai, Group CEO of Kewalram Chanrai Group says of the Group’s success: ““We have been successful through a clear vision and a common set of values. Our success in growing dynamic businesses in the emerging and developed markets is a testament to the strength of our approach. We have been able to sustain a highly engaged organization with an entrepreneurial culture, which is anchored in our vision of being a family-owned but professionally led Group with a strong portfolio of businesses.”

The EY-Barclays Family Business Award of Excellence is an honorary award that is presented on board the EOY platform (the award recipient does not compete for the EOY Singapore 2013 title).

Please refer to Fact sheet D for winner profile, eligibility and selection criteria.

Factsheet D: EY-Barclays Family Business Award of Excellence
Winner profile, eligibility and selection criteria

EY-Barclays Family Business Award of Excellence
Kewalram Chanrai Group

About Kewalram Chanrai Group


Kewalram Chanrai Group has been in business for over 150 years. Initially finding success in India as a textile trader, it soon expanded and by the 1920s, had operations spanning Africa, Asia and South America. By 1960, the Group had diversified into department stores and textile manufacturing in Nigeria and the following three decades saw the foundation of a successful portfolio in Africa, with Afprint, a diversified textile company listed on the Lagos stock exchange and Olam established in Nigeria.

The 1990s saw the foundation of Redington IT products and the expansion of the Kewalram Chanrai Group. Olam was listed on the Singapore Exchange in 2005 and is today an STI top 30 company. Redington was listed in India in 2007 and is an IT products leader in many of its markets.

Today the Kewalram Chanrai Group is a trusted global brand with several internationally renowned businesses in the automotive, IT, textile, agriculture and waste recycling sectors, and with many philanthropic initiatives, including Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai, under its umbrella. The Group has a turnover of US$1b with more than 5,000 employees spread across 17 countries and continues to maintain a substantial minority shareholding in the companies it has taken to market.


  • Leadership of the company includes family member(s) from second or subsequent generations, or has multiple branches of a family involved in leadership. (i.e., one individual and first generation would not qualify for the award).
  • The family still has a significant ownership and voting stake and is primarily responsible for setting the strategic direction and values for the firm.
  • The legal form of the company or group of companies is not relevant.
  • Companies may be private or publicly traded.
  • If the shares and voting rights have been transferred to a trust, it will remain to be considered as family business if the family has dominant influence on the trust in a way described above.
  • The business or headquarter of the business is located in Singapore.

Selection criteria

  • Company shows evidence of a successful, sustainable and long term-oriented strategy.
  • Company has adopted an effective and transparent corporate governance approach, enabling the execution of the desired strategy and living out of family values.
  • Company governance enables unity among the ownership family (i.e., little evidence of significant family disputes impacting the business).
  • Demonstrated the ability of the family to preserve company culture, tradition and values and maintain the entrepreneurial spirit and continued innovation over generations.
  • Evidence shown of exceptional personnel management.
  • Commitment to philanthropic causes or corporate social responsibility.
  • Other exceptional achievements such as business awards, public service or philanthropic awards etc.

Sponsors and supporters

Mr. Didier von Daeniken, Head of Wealth Management, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Barclays, adds: “Entrepreneurs and family businesses play a vital role in the world economy today, driving the growth of traditional and new, innovative industries. We are privileged to play a role in recognizing these individuals for their leadership, entrepreneurial spirit and contributions to the Singapore economy. Barclays has managed the financial affairs of entrepreneurs and business owners for over 320 years, helping them achieve their personal and commercial ambitions.”

Barclays has been a major sponsor of the EOY awards for the past five years. Other sponsors and supporters include Martell (official cognac); The Business Times (official newspaper); The Peak (official luxury lifestyle magazine); Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE); International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore); Singapore Business Federation and SPRING Singapore.

The EY EOY awards program was launched in Singapore in 2002 to honor entrepreneurs who have created and sustained successful business ventures, as well as to coincide with the government’s focus on fostering entrepreneurship and grooming local entrepreneurs. Now in its 12th year, the awards has evolved into a leading business award in Singapore with an international presence and footprint. For more information about the EY EOY program, please visit


Notes to editors

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.
EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit
This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young Solutions LLP, a member of the global EY organization.

About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries.

About Barclays

Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth and investment management with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. Barclays’ purpose is to help people achieve their ambitions – in the right way.

With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs approximately 140,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit

About Martell XO

With its distinctive arch-shaped bottle, Martell XO is a powerful symbol of vision and inspiration, which is a testimony to Jean Martell’s will to connect the best of things.

A unique combination of the elegance of the Borderies and the power of the Grande Champagne, Martell XO is an outstanding XO which bears the hallmark of the Martell Style.

Golden amber with dark copper and mahogany highlights, Martell XO starts with the elegance of the Borderies, which is rounded and fruity on the palate, followed by the characteristic power and finesse of eaux-de-vie from Grande Champagne leading to a long and silken finish.

Enjoy Martell cognac responsibly.