ARA Asset Management chief John Lim named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Singapore

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Singapore, 27 November 2012 – Professional services firm EY announced Mr. John Lim, Group CEO of ARA Asset Management Limited, as the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) 2012 Singapore at the 11th EY EOY awards gala held at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore this evening. Mr. Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education officiated at the gala as guest-of-honor.

Mr. Lim will be Singapore’s representative at the prestigious EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year (WEOY) to be held in Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2013. He will compete with more than 50 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 2013 and past WEOY winners)

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

  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Financial Services
    John Lim, Group CEO, ARA Asset Management Limited
  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Lifestyle and Retail
    Douglas Benjamin, COO, F J Benjamin Holdings Ltd
  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Commercial and Industrial Services
    Martin Gui, Managing Director, Facility Link Pte Ltd
  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Engineering
    Dr. Shahzad Nasim, Global CEO, Meinhardt Group International Ltd
  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Business and Consumer Products
    Mohamed Salleh Marican, Founder and CEO, Second Chance Properties Ltd

(Please refer to fact sheet B for the winners’ profiles and reactions on winning the award)

The five award recipients were selected from a total of 70 nominations. 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 impact, innovation, and personal integrity/influence. (Please refer to fact sheet C for the judging panel and judging criteria)

Explaining the significance of the EOY awards, Mr. Max Loh, Country Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP says: “Entrepreneurs form the backbone of our local economy and this underpins our commitment to contribute to a vibrant ecosystem that enables, promotes and rewards entrepreneurship. Through recognizing and celebrating the achievements of leading entrepreneurs, and leveraging their influence to inspire future generations, we hope to reinforce the entrepreneurial culture that has steadily evolved over the last decade, since launching the EOY awards in 2002 to support the government’s drive to foster entrepreneurship. Our experience with entrepreneurs, be it business owners of small start-ups or owner-managers of large homegrown corporations that have gone multinational, points to a common theme: true entrepreneurs do not despair but thrive on challenges, which are seen as opportunities to push boundaries and stretch the gap between them and their competitors.”

EY EOY 2012, Mr. Lim, epitomizes such qualities. Dr. Robert Yap, Chairman of judging panel, also Chairman and CEO of YCH Group comments: "John stood out as he not only started his business during difficult economic times; he also helped to pave the way for a relatively new REIT industry in Singapore, and created many 'firsts' in its field. From a four-man outfit in 2002, John built a corporation of more than 1,000 staff in over a mere decade. His company now boasts over S$21b in assets under management and has been registering positive revenue growth year-on-year since its listing in 2007. Under John's leadership, ARA looks set to take on many new markets in the years to come. We applaud John for his achievements and vision in taking ARA from strength to strength.” Dr. Yap adds that all the EOY award winners were strong advocates of innovation, which enabled them to turn adversity into opportunities.

Innovating business model key to sustaining competitive advantage
A survey by EY for the Innovating for growth report confirmed that companies that regularly innovate their business models – in addition to their products and services – are more likely to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. This is because it is much more difficult for a competitor to copy a business model than to replicate products and services.

Mr. Loh comments: “When people think innovation, they will assume that it’s extraordinary inventions or creations. However, business innovations can be quite the opposite. Today’s most innovative companies are those that have changed their business models from one that had a rigid focus on geographies, local markets and products to a more dynamic one that puts customer experiences, value generation and problem-solving in the spotlight. They thrive on collaboration, a free exchange of ideas and regular interactions with customers and stakeholders.”

Mr. Didier von Daeniken, Head of Wealth Management, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Barclays, adds: “Our latest Barclays Wealth Insights survey shows that Singaporean respondents ranked second globally in terms of seeing opportunities presented by the recent global financial crisis. Singaporean entrepreneurs tend to have a more positive view of setbacks, show greater persistence and better see the benefits of overcoming adversity compared to their American and European counterparts. Many of our winners have seized these opportunities, an