The Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (Asme) voted in a new president at its annual general meeting Tuesday.
Mr Kurt Wee, the vice-president since 2004, succeeds Mr Chan Chong Beng, who stepped down to focus on his business.
Mr Wee, 39, a private equity investment manager, has been involved with Asme for 11 years. He takes over the reins at a crucial period for Asme and the business community, which is grappling with an increasingly tough environment marked by rising costs and a tight labour market.
"There's an urgent need for SMEs to make a knowledge, process or technology leap in their businesses and we hope to encourage SMEs to embark on research and development and training," he said.
To that end, Asme has big plans, said Mr Wee.
It is in talks with several government agencies on a number of initiatives, such as training programmes and an incubation centre for start-ups.
Asme is also looking into setting up a formal research unit to better support its feedback arm.
"We are planning to regionalise our Entrepreneur of the Year and Singapore Prestige Brand awards, and the initial markets we're looking at are China, Indonesia and Malaysia," he added.
Mr Chan, the 60-year-old chief executive of interior furnishings firm Goodrich Global, was up for re-election as president but withdrew from the running.
"My company is going through a transition phase so I've been very busy and I'll have to spend more time travelling," he added.
"Being Asme president in the last two years took up 70 per cent of my time. I think to be fair to Asme I have to let younger people take over."
Asme expressed its appreciation to Mr Chan for his leadership and dedicated service during his term as president.
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