Four leading entrepreneurs named winners of the Singapore EY Entrepreneur Of The Yearâ„¢ 2016 awards

  • Mr. Tony Fernandes of AirAsia recognized for entrepreneurial excellence in Asean
  • Honorary family business award for Jebsen & Jessen (SEA)

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SINGAPORE, 6 SEPTEMBER 2016 – Professional services organization EY announced the four recipients of its 15th EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) 2016 awards:

  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Diversified Industries
    Mr. Lawrence Leow
    Group Chairman and CEO, Crescendas Group
  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Manufacturing Supply Chain
    Mr. David Low Chor Hoon
    Chairman and CEO, Futuristic Store Fixtures Pte Ltd
  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Food and Beverage Distribution
    Ms. Helene Raudaschl
    Managing Director, Indoguna Singapore Pte Ltd
  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Lifestyle and Retail
    Dato’ Sri Dr. Lim Yong Guan
    Chairman, Soo Kee Group Ltd

Please refer to Fact sheet A for profiles of the winners and their companies.

One of the four winners will be named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 Singapore, and represent Singapore at the annual EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ (WEOY) award in Monte Carlo in 2017 to compete with contenders from over 60 countries.

Singapore’s representative to the WEOY award will be announced at the EY EOY Awards Gala, to be held on 21 October 2016 at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore. The gala will be officiated by Guest-of-Honor, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, Mr. Lawrence Wong.

The four winners emerged triumphant from over 40 nominations. An independent judging panel had selected the winners based on their merits in fulfilling the six global judging criteria, namely entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance, strategic direction, global (or community) impact, innovation and personal integrity/influence.

Please refer to Fact sheet B for members of the judging panel and details of the judging criteria.

Chairman of the judging panel, Mr. Wong Ngit Liong, also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Venture Corporation Limited comments on the winners this year:

“In a world of frequent business disruptions, enterprises know that they have to continuously transform and differentiate to position for the future. The award winners have shown remarkable resilience to operate outside their comfort zones and have been enviably successful in inculcating the spirit of innovation in their organizations. Through their visionary leadership and in pushing boundaries, they have developed new solutions, generated demand and created employment opportunities in Singapore and beyond.”

Mr. Max Loh, EY Asean and Singapore Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, explains how the winning entrepreneurs embody the award’s theme of “Empowering innovation, delivering excellence”. He said:

“The winning entrepreneurs have been agile in driving innovation, whether in their business model, market and customer strategy, or product and service development.

“Lawrence has demonstrated acute foresight in spotting promising trades to expand into, and this is seen from how he transformed Crescendas into a diversified group with portfolios spanning property, hospitality, technology, distribution and manufacturing.

“David has been astute in adopting a ‘roll out’ business model – one that is uncommon in Asia – which has enabled him to build Futuristic Store Fixtures into a leading store fixtures specialist, counting over 7,000 retail stores of world-renowned international brands as his customers.

“Even after being in business for over two decades, Helene of Indoguna Singapore continues to consciously grow its product range to delight customers with more concepts and ideas, including venturing into halal food manufacturing in new markets.

Soo Kee Group’s Dato’ Sri Dr. Lim has been highly nimble in responding to market dynamics. Beyond innovating the group’s jewelry range, he has challenged the notion of traditional pawn-broking through MoneyMax Financial Services and expanded to provide bullion trading through SK Bullion.”

Recognizing AirAsia’s wider entrepreneurial impact

Mr. Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia has been named winner of the EY Asean Entrepreneurial Excellence award this year.

Mr. Loh says: “From being an auditor to a music executive before buying over a loss-making airline, turning it around and transforming AirAsia to become an award-winning low-cost carrier, Tony’s entrepreneurial journey is truly distinctive and inspiring. AirAsia has helped to boost intra-regional connectivity and bring the world closer to Southeast Asia with its network. This has had a significant positive impact on the region’s movement of trade and people, as well as labor opportunities – exemplifying the far-reaching socio-economic contributions that a single entrepreneur can have as a game-changing industry leader.”

The EY Asean Entrepreneurial Excellence award is an honorary award that is presented on board the EOY platform (the award recipient does not compete for the EOY Singapore 2016 title). This award recognizes successful Southeast Asian businesses that contribute to the economy and community in the region.

Please refer to Fact sheet C for winner profile.

Honoring the legacy of Jebsen & Jessen (SEA)

Another honorary award that is presented on board the EOY platform is the EY-Barclays Family Business Award of Excellence. This year, the award is presented to Jebsen & Jessen (SEA).

Mr. Heinrich Jessen, Chairman of Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) says: “Receiving this prestigious award is a great honor for us and motivates us to continue the family enterprise approach that has been established and followed by the previous generations, ensuring that a growth-oriented entrepreneurial spirit is allowed to thrive while concurrently maintaining sound, conservative financial discipline and independence from any single industry, geography or business relationship.”

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

Sponsors and supporters

Barclays has been a major sponsor of the EOY awards for the past eight years and a co-presenter of the EY-Barclays Family Business Award of Excellence for the fourth year running.

Mr. Vikram Malhotra, Head of Sales for South & Southeast Asia, Wealth & Investment Management, Barclays says:

“Great family firms are incredibly focused on the long-term sustainability of their businesses. They evolve with the times yet preserve their unique DNA. This year’s winner Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) is a prime example of a family business that remains true to its philosophical roots - build a sustainable business and remain entrepreneurial in spirit.”

Other sponsors and supporters include The Edge Singapore (official business publication); 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 15th 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

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About EY

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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 awards program for entrepreneurs. The program 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 awards program 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 transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 130,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website



Fact sheet A: EY Entrepreneur Of The Year winner and company profiles
(Information provided by winners’ companies)

a) EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Diversified Industries
Mr. Lawrence Leow
Group Chairman and CEO, Crescendas Group

Quote on receiving the category award:
“It is a great honor to win the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 – Diversified Industries Award. This is an honor I would like to share with the management and staff of the Crescendas Group, for whom I owe this award to.”

About Mr. Lawrence Leow
Mr. Lawrence Leow is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Crescendas Group. He is also currently the Honorary Treasurer of Singapore Business Federation and Chairman of the SBF-led SME Committee. A former Nominated Member of Parliament, Mr. Leow also previously served as a Board Member on the Central Provident Fund Board, SPRING Singapore, National Arts Council and also sat on the Customs Advisory Committee at Singapore Customs. He was also President of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises from 2002 to 2011.

Mr. Leow’s active participation in voluntary and community work also sees him serving as the Patron of Yew Tee Citizens’ Consultative Committee and Yew Tee Constituency Sports Club. For his contribution to community service, Mr. Leow was awarded the Pingat Bakti Masyarakat, or the Public Service Medal at the 2015 National Day Awards.

Mr. Leow is 58 years old.

About Crescendas Group
Established in 1982 and headquartered in Singapore, Crescendas is a progressive multi-industry group with businesses in property, hospitality, technology, distribution and manufacturing. Since incorporation, Crescendas has been committed to developing and delivering innovative solutions, quality products and services in their various fields of business.

Over the years, Crescendas has established and fostered a network of strategic and mutually fulfilling relationships with its partners, associates and clients. These strategic partnerships coupled with the support of customers have enabled it to develop and grow its portfolio of businesses both within Singapore and overseas. Today, Crescendas has facilities and operations in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, China, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

Leveraging the experience and commitment of a dedicated team, Crescendas is committed to delivering optimal returns by consistently ensuring customer, staff, partner and stakeholder satisfaction through the provision of a comprehensive range of quality facilities, products and services.

b) EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Manufacturing Supply Chain
Mr. David Low Chor Hoon
Chairman and CEO, Futuristic Store Fixtures Pte Ltd

Quote on receiving the category award:
“I am truly humbled and honored to be the recipient of this award.

Borrowing from the words of Aristotle, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Indeed, I would not be here if it wasn’t for my team. I would like to dedicate this award not just to my team, but also to my clients, who are global retail leaders in their industry segments. We have been consistently punching above our weight as a local contender, by taking on clients from around the world. With this award, I hope it will encourage more Singapore entrepreneurs to go global. We may only be a small red dot on the map, but we are a force that is unstoppable!”

Amid the current economy, Futuristic continues to aggressively pursue growth from both our existing clients and new global leading brands. In anticipation of these bold moves, we have already embarked on expanding both our China and Malaysia manufacturing facilities. We will be doubling our capacity by next year.”

About Mr. David Low Chor Hoon
Mr. David Low Chor Hoon started out in the contracting business in 1979. With 37 years of experience in general contracting and carpentry, he gained international exposure through outfitting a myriad of high fashion boutiques including Tiffany & Co., Versace and Prada.

In 2005, he took on the role as CEO of Futuristic Store Fixtures Pte Ltd (Futuristic). His quest to perfect the art of retail store fixtures has brought Futuristic to the international stage. Under Mr. Low’s leadership, Futuristic has supplied to more than 7,000 retail stores worldwide.

Mr. Low continues to run Futuristic with an attitude of constant innovation and improvement to build a dynamic company. He is a firm believer in lifelong learning to remain relevant in today’s constantly evolving economy.

Mr. Low is 54 years old.

About Futuristic
Futuristic Store Fixtures Pte Ltd (Futuristic) is a leading store fixtures specialist for retail brands in Asia. Founded in 2005, Futuristic has more than 700 employees globally and has rolled out more than 7,000 retail stores across 56 countries. It owns over 600,000 square feet of wood and metal manufacturing and warehousing facilities in Malaysia, China and North America. Futuristic’s corporate portfolio showcases world renowned international brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, La Senza, Gap, Levi Strauss & Co, Borders, and Telstra. For more information about Futuristic, please visit:

c) EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Food and Beverage Distribution
Ms. Helene Raudaschl
Managing Director, Indoguna Singapore Pte Ltd

Quote on receiving the category award:
“I am blessed to be surrounded by the best people in my universe supporting my every dream.”

About Ms. Helene Raudaschl
Having been exposed to a strong food culture since young, Ms. Helene Raudaschl knew from the beginning that food would always be her passion. Her family has been in the food business for over 30 years in Hong Kong, which provided her with the opportunity to acquire a taste for premium produce imported from all over the world.

In 1997, Ms. Raudaschl moved to Singapore and joined Indoguna Singapore Pte Ltd (Indoguna). She then became the Managing Director and co-owner in 2002, where she focused her efforts in expanding the business.

Ms. Raudaschl grew up with hands-on knowledge and a desire to offer quality products to institutions that value fine food and quality produce. Her philosophy of “only the best is good enough” is applied throughout the business.

With this immeasurable passion, Indoguna continues to stay at the forefront of innovation and has expanded beyond Singapore, with affiliated companies in Dubai, Hong Kong and Indonesia.

Ms. Raudaschl is 42 years old.

About Indoguna Singapore Pte Ltd
Indoguna Singapore Pte Ltd has been established since 1993. For over two decades, Indoguna Singapore has been delivering culinary delights time and time again. From every corner of the world, they vouch to source and deliver the best quality produce the world has to offer.

Indoguna Singapore is proud to have contributed to Singapore’s culinary scenes by providing culinary maestros with the highest quality produce and ingredients. With the philosophy of “only the best is good enough”, they continue to source, manufacture and deliver unforgettable gastronomic choices to customers.

In line with plans to expand beyond Singapore, Indoguna Singapore has a Halal food manufacturing plant that boasts the highest standards in food hygiene and food quality standards. Based in Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, Indoguna Productions FZCO produces a range of quality Halal food products, catering to clients in the Middle East and the rest of the world.

d) EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Lifestyle and Retail
Dato’ Sri Dr. Lim Yong Guan
Chairman, Soo Kee Group Ltd

Quote on receiving the category award:
“It is a great honor and privilege to be awarded the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 – Lifestyle and Retail. Over the course of 25 years in business, this would have been impossible if not for the support of our business partners, shareholders, employees and customers. We will continue to embrace creativity and excellence to reach greater heights, while staying committed to bring to life high-quality jewelry products and mementoes and experiences to delight our customers.”

About Dato’ Sri Dr. Lim Yong Guan
Dato’ Sri Dr. Lim Yong Guan is the Chairman and one of the Group’s founders. Dr. Lim presides over and facilitates board meetings, advising the Group’s management, who draw on his extensive business networks, market insights, wealth of experience and knowledge of the jewelry industry for guidance.

Dr. Lim presently holds the position of Executive Chairman and CEO of MoneyMax Financial Services Ltd. He also serves as a committee member for the Singapore Jewelers Association and the Singapore Pawnbrokers’ Association.

Actively involved in community and grassroots activities, Dr. Lim serves as Vice Chairman for the Radin Mas Citizens’ Consultative Committee, the Bedok Center Merchants’ Association, Sian Chay Medical Institution, Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan, and is Chairman for the Hua Yan Buddhist Society. Dr. Lim received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Honolulu. He was also awarded the prestigious Pingat Bakti Masyarakat, or the Public Service Medal, in 2015.

Dr. Lim is 56 years old.

About Soo Kee Group Ltd
Headquartered in Singapore and listed on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited since 20 August 2015, Soo Kee Group Ltd was founded in 1991 and has an established presence of over 25 years in Singapore.

Offering a wide range of jewelry products through Soo Kee Jewellery, SK Jewellery and Love & Co., there are over 60 retail stores strategically situated in prime shopping malls. Soo Kee Jewellery focuses on fine gem-set jewelry and premium diamonds for the contemporary woman, while SK Jewellery offers an extensive range of contemporary jewelry and collectibles for a wider demographic and is the leading jeweler for 999 Pure Gold. Love & Co. specializes in bespoke bridal jewelry offering customizable designs and personalization services to establish personal connections with couples in love. The Group also provides bullion trading services through SK Bullion, offering an alternative investment platform for customers to buy, sell and store precious metals.


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

Judging panel

  • Wong Ngit Liong
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    Venture Corporation Limited
    EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2002
  • Dr. Robert Yap
    Executive Chairman
    YCH Group Pte Ltd
    EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2007
  • Loi Pok Yen
    Chief Executive Officer
    CWT Limited
    EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 – Logistics
  • Omar K. Lodhi
    Partner and Regional Head – Asia
    Abraaj Capital Asia Pte Ltd
  • Prof. Wong Poh Kam
    Professor, NUS Business School and
    Director, NUS Entrepreneurship Center
  • Ho Meng Kit
    Chief Executive Officer
    Singapore Business Federation
  • Prof. Annie Koh
    Vice President, Office of Business Development
    Practice Professor of Finance
    Singapore Management University

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 (or 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.


Factsheet C: EY Asean Entrepreneurial Excellence Award winner profile
(Information provided by winners’ companies)

EY Asean Entrepreneurial Excellence Award
Mr. Tony Fernandes, Group CEO

About Mr. Tony Fernandes
Best known for co-founding AirAsia, Tony Fernandes has grown the ailing Malaysia-based domestic carrier into Asia’s largest airline group with operations in five countries.

Tony studied at Epsom College and the London School of Economics in Britain, and qualified as an Associate Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 1991 and Fellow Member in 1996.

He has received numerous awards and accolades including the Honor of the Commander of the Order of the British Empire, conferred by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2011; and the Commander of the Legion d’Honneur, awarded by the French government for his outstanding contributions towards the economy of France through the aviation industry.

In 2010, Tony was named Businessman of the Year by Forbes Asia. In 2015, he was included in the TIME 100 list, the magazine’s annual list of the top 100 most influential people in the world. In February 2016, Tony was recognized by the US-Asean Business Council with the Fourth Pillar Award for his extraordinary contribution towards the growth of the Asean region.

About AirAsia
AirAsia started in 2001 after Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun bought over the airline from DRB-Hicom for a token sum of RM1.

Starting with 2 Boeing 737 aircraft to 6 destinations and 250 staff in Kuala Lumpur, AirAsia has since expanded to 17,000 staff and over 170 Airbus aircraft to more than 100 destinations.

AirAsia has set up affiliates in Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, India and will soon set up in Japan. AirAsia has also established sister airline, AirAsia X Thailand and Indonesia, and will be focusing on markets beyond Asean.

AirAsia has been named the World’s Best Low Cost Airline by Skytrax for 8 consecutive years from 2009 to 2016.

AirAsia has driven the implementation of technological innovations such as self check-in via, mobile application and airport kiosks, e-boarding passes, self-bag tags, and automated baggage drop-offs to further improve guest experience. They also introduced the BIG loyalty program for frequent flyers to redeem flights, accommodation or other services offered by partners.


Factsheet D: EY-Barclays Family Business Award of Excellence
Winner profile, eligibility and selection criteria
(Information provided by winners’ companies)

EY-Barclays Family Business Award of Excellence
Jebsen & Jessen (SEA)

About Jebsen & Jessen (SEA)
Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) is an industrial conglomerate. The Group began in 1963 as a distribution company that steadily grew into a full-fledged manufacturing, engineering and distribution group. The core business units include cable technology, ingredients, life sciences, material handling, offshore, packaging and technology.

Today, Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) has more than 50 subsidiaries and associate companies with operational entities in 9 of the 10 ASEAN member states. With a staff of 4,500, it serves over 20,000 customers in, and beyond, the region. Its network now spans 76 locations, including 24 manufacturing facilities.

Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) is part of a global family enterprise that dates back to a trading partnership formed in Hong Kong in 1895. Beyond the region, they are closely connected to a network of sister companies in Australia, Europe and Greater China.


  • 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.