Four S'pore companies win British chamber awards

PHOTO: Four S'pore companies win British chamber awards

Four stand-out local companies were honoured at the British Chamber of Commerce's annual business awards last night while a young go-getter was also singled out.

The awards, now in their 14th year, aim to showcase some of the best business practices and recognise outstanding achievements of businesses and individuals here.

Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), Brewerkz Restaurant & Microbrewery, International Engine Component Overhaul (IECO) and Portfolio Builders were the local corporate winners, with entrepreneur Jingle Chen, 31, named young professional of the year.

"The themes of innovation, creativity, productivity and business growth continue to be the mainstay of our awards, and reflect the constantly evolving landscape of business in Singapore, both at a multinational company level, as well as increasingly at a smaller company and new start-up level," noted British Chamber of Commerce president Hugo Walkinshaw in his opening speech at the ceremony at the Shangri-La Hotel.

RWS won the award for exceptional corporate social responsibility (CSR) practice.

Dr Kenneth Richards, the Musim Mas professor of sustainability at the National University of Singapore Business School and the category's judge, said he chose RWS as it had gone further than most companies in implementing CSR.

While many companies "paint a layer of CSR" onto their existing operations, RWS has developed its operations around CSR, he said.

"They do not simply engage in philanthropy or encourage their employees to volunteer time in the community. Rather, they play to their core competencies, using their culinary facilities, their marine aquarium, and their family- oriented activities to serve the community through training programmes, educational outreach and conservation of the marine environment."

RWS staff have also raised funds for charity, played host to underprivileged children and delivered Christmas presents to the needy.

Brewerkz took home the award for customer service excellence, while IECO was recognised for productivity improvement.

IECO is a 50-50 joint venture between Rolls-Royce and SIA Engineering Company.

Shatec Institutes board director Diana Ee-Tan, who was the judge for the customer service excellence category, said: "Brewerkz has demonstrated that over the past 16 years, it has successfully put in place sustainable service strategies which are today the key to its reputation as a provider of excellent customer service.

"What also makes them a worthy winner is how they have created a rare employee learning programme involving opportunities for their crew to learn through informal post-work conversations, dining out, manager meal and staff pint programmes."

Sakae Holdings chairman Douglas Foo, who judged the productivity and improvement category, noted that IECO had shown a "clear demonstration of building innovation and productivity into the DNA of the organisation".

Portfolio Builders won the small business rising star award.

Judge Max Loh, managing partner for Singapore and ASEAN at Ernst & Young, cited the firm's client-centric approach and clearly articulated growth strategies as key factors that made it stand out.

Portfolio Builders specialises in wealth creation and management, and helps clients with issues such as tax and estate planning and managing their retirement.

Ms Chen, who won the young professional of the year prize, is the co-founder and director of branding and design at Anamics, a photography and design studio.

"It is easy for individual entrepreneurs to say they have become successful. It is less common to see one that has made incredible leaps in personal development to produce not only high-quality products but also a company that reaches beyond mere commercial success," said judge Tan Chi Chiu.

Dr Tan, who is the chairman of the Lien Centre for Social Innovation at the Singapore Management University, said he was impressed that Anamics reaches out to aspiring professionals through an internship programme that creates opportunities for others, rather than just for Ms Chen and her company.

Other firms that took home awards last night included Rolls-Royce for innovation in business, market research agency Kadence International for outstanding professional services, and communications consultancy Reading Room, which won for inspirational creativity.

The excellence in education and training award went to Stamford American International School.

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