In a world facing the twin crises of climate change and a pandemic, innovation and sustainability are mankind’s best hope of weathering the storm. This calls for people and companies who can invent, create and manage by thinking out of the box and making optimal use of available resources.
It is in this spirit that home-grown Chinese-language business magazine Fortune Times honours eight trailblazing individuals and companies in its 7th annual awards. Themed “Innovation for Sustainability in the Post-Covid-19 Era”, this year’s awards underscore how technological innovation has become the driving force for economic recovery and sustainable development in the new normal.
Said Fortune Times editor-in-chief Annie Song at the awards ceremony on Nov 25: “The success formula this year not only reflects the winners’ innovation in solving market pain points, leadership in business development under the epidemic, and capability to expand marketing platforms, but also highlights Singapore’s strategic location for businesses seeking to expand to China, the region and the world.”
The awards this year comprises eight accolades decided by a judging panel led by investor Jim Rogers and Professor Cui Yi of Stanford University. Four are given to individuals for their exemplary achievements, leadership and contributions to society.
Leading the line-up is “Asia’s Most Influential Scientist”, Professor Lim Chwee Teck. The director of the Institute for Health Innovation and Technology at the National University of Singapore (NUS) was chosen for his achievements in smart wearable medical devices and his contributions to the study of human diseases. One of his latest inventions is what is said to be the world’s first “smart bandage” – a wearable sensor that can assess the condition of chronic wounds via an app.
Prof Lim has co-authored more than 420 publications – including in prestigious journals Nature and Science. He has also founded six companies to commercialise technologies developed in his lab. In a sign of his international standing, Prof Lim is a Fellow at the US National Academy of Inventors, the Asean Academy of Engineering and Technology and the Singapore National Academy of Science, among other institutions.
Besides paying tribute to an inventor, this year’s Fortune Times Awards is notable for honouring two outstanding female entrepreneurs through its “Asia Women’s Empowerment Award”. One of them is Ms Elaine Foo, founder and CEO of New Dimensions Capital, an asset management firm. A 20-year veteran in wealth management, Ms Foo specialises in succession and legacy planning for ultra-high net worth families in South-east Asia and Greater China.
She worked at UBS, Julius Baer and Morgan Stanley before co-founding WHE Family Office, a single family office that focuses on impact investing and philanthropy, in 2018, followed by management consultancy firm Hesed Partners a year later. She strives to offer unbiased, independent advice to her clients and an objective approach to their investment allocations. The Asia Women’s Empowerment Award recognises her contributions to the financial industry.
The other winner of the award is Ms Yvon Bock, Founder and CEO of Hegen Pte Ltd. A mother of four, Ms Bock works with a team of designers and engineers to create simple, practical and innovative baby products. In 2017, only two years after it was founded, Hegen became the first Singaporean company to be featured in a live variety show organised by Tmall, a unit of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, at the Singles’ Day global shopping festival. The company’s breastfeeding products are now sold in 17 markets, including 5,000 authorised stores in China.
Rounding off the list of individual winners is “Asia’s Most Influential Entrepreneur” Jason Yeo. Mr Yeo is the founder and chairman of JCS Group, a 31-year-old multinational company with businesses in renewable energy, complex equipment, aerospace, logistics, and medical devices. Mr Yeo has a solid track record in identifying and investing in innovative technology projects with high commercial potential. His passion for environment, people and innovation has shaped JCS’s commitment and consistent efforts to produce environment-friendly products, empower employees, and build innovative platforms.
Mr Yeo is also committed to contributing to the community. He is an entrepreneurial adviser to NUS, a member of the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and an adviser to the National Research Foundation of the Prime Minister’s Office.
As Mr Don Wee, Member of Parliament and guest of honour at the awards ceremony, noted, the Fortune Times Awards not only celebrate the achievements of entrepreneurs from Singapore and Asia, it also recognises their significant contributions to society. He said: “Today the world is on the transition of yet another revolution, a global sustainability revolution. This revolution will be driven by policymakers, consumers, investors and inventors.”
Apart from the individual winners, four companies were feted at the ceremony. WinTech-Nano (Suzhou) Co. Ltd and Tiger Brokers of Singapore were each named “Asia’s Most Innovative Company” for achieving significant growth on the innovative concept and platform, while Suzhou YongXin FangZhou Equity Investment Partnership and TEDA Venture Capital Corporation Limited were recognised as “Asia’s Most Visionary Investment Company”.
The annual Fortune Times Awards have been given to more than 100 leading business figures and companies since its inauguration in 2015. They include Mochtar Riady, Serge Pun, Francis Yeoh, Jeffrey Cheah, Teresita Sy-Coson, and private as well as companies listed on SGX,Bursa Malaysia and Indonesia Stock Exchange.
The awards serve as a platform for Fortune Times, a leading Chinese-language business magazine in Singapore and South-east Asia, to fulfil its mission of identifying and exploring emerging business trends and featuring trailblazers in various industries.
Founded in 2004 in Singapore, Fortune Times has developed into a multimedia group with print magazines, e-magazines, news portal, social media platforms, video programmes, trade conferences and publications. It is committed to providing in-depth content from the perspective of Singapore and South-east Asia, and building a media presence with credibility and influence. It is an ideal platform for businesses to enhance their corporate branding and foster collaborations across the region.
“We have maintained our perspective, a trusted publication based in Singapore, connecting South-east Asia and China,” said Ms Song. “We need to rebalance the forces out there and continue to be a trusted media voice. We may be small, but we have big responsibilities.”
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