I had the honour to speak at the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce event the other day at Suntec City in the heart of Singapore. This annual event organized by the chamber is the largest conference for SMEs with over 5000 registered attendees.
The theme for the conference was “The new SME. Think Creatively. Act Innovatively”. The concept was all about helping Singapore’s small and medium enterprises think outside the box when it comes to their challenges. Singapore’s SME sector has challenges around finding and retaining talent, growing outside the country and using technology to take businesses to the next level.
The session I was a part of was broken down with four speakers and then a panel session with a question and answer period moderated by Mr. Stephen Lim the CEO of SQL View and involving questions from the audience.
The first speaker up was Dr. Christopher Holmes, the Managing Director of IDC Insights Asia Pacific. Christopher opened the day with his talk titled “Digitization: Disruptor and Transformer” that included stats about where SMEs are going and how technology is changing the face of business.
Next up was Jenny Jang, the Manager of International Business Development for Jiransoft. Jenny’s talk, “Internet of Things, Jiransoft’s Perspective” was all about the internet of things and how devices are getting smarter and smarter. Interestingly, her slides predicted that we are all on our way to carrying around 7 connected smart devices. (think Apple Watch, iPhone, Kindle, Laptop, etc)
I was up next with the simple task of telling my story. Myself and my business partner Michael Stephenson has been in business together since 2000 and our journey has seen us start four businesses, selling two of them and brought us to the Philippines, Singapore and into the payroll space. The point of my story was to showcase how thinking outside the box can push you on unexpected journeys and I included a bit about my wife’s accidental business and how she has embraced change.
Wrapping up the speaking section of the day was Mr. Law Chee Keong, Director for Apigee. Chee Keong’s talk, titled “Unlocking value through an Innovation Ecosystem” wrapped up the 3 previous talks with more stats about the future, how the internet of things would continue to change our lives and how SMEs can and need to think about what their businesses will look like in the future.
To wrap up, Stephen Lim, myself and the three other speakers sat down on the stage to take some questions and chat about SMEs.
The day finished off with a VIP dinner at the Singapore flyer hosted by the owner of the flyer, Mr. Wu Hsioh Kwang and the President of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commence Mr. Thomas Chua Kee Seng. As part of the dinner, we were treated to a showing of 47 Hill Street, “a show that brings SCCCI history to life, a true reflection on Singapore’s history”. It is worth checking out and gives some great background on the founding of Singapore and the chamber.