SIIA Chairman Simon Tay was chief judge at this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year (EYA) award run by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and the Rotary Club of Singapore. The Entrepreneur of the Year Award salutes and honours outstanding local entrepreneurs who have shown exemplary performance as business owners in their chosen field of entrepreneurship.
Following the announcement of the award recipients last Friday, a debate erupted over the true definition of an entrepreneur after a visiting British businessman questioned the credentials of the two winners. London-based businessman Jonathan Wood, 59, said running a successful chain of restaurants or shops is not real entrepreneurship.
They were Paradise Group Holdings chief executive Eldwin Chua, 34, whose zi char stall has blossomed into a chain of 20 popular restaurants, and Mr Jimmy Fong, 46, chairman and chief executive of Apple retailer EpiCentre Holdings.
When asked to comment on Mr Wood’s opinion, Simon Tay stood by the winners. On Mr Fong, he said that while EpiCentre is a reseller of Apple products, in Singapore they have established themselves as the market leader, and 'they are also a hypermart of sorts for anything to do with Apple machines'. He added that both businesses have plans to expand overseas, but explained that the scale of the business is not the sole determining factor. Sustainability also has to be taken into account.
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