Establishing profitable business networks are the key to growth for SMEs in the coming decade.
“Building connections, unlocking opportunities”. That was the theme for this year’s Global Entrepolis @ Singapore 2009 (GES), held as part of the APEC SME Summit at the Raffles City Convention Centre in Singapore on 11 November 2009. At the official opening ceremony, Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Second Minister for Finance and Transport said that companies that have managed to weather the financial crisis are now looking to seize global opportunities that have emerged from the aftermath of the crisis.
Quoting the findings from an economic intelligence survey, Mrs Lim said that SMEs are optimistic that by the year 2011, 70 percent of companies polled expect to see increased demand and growth. She also highlighted the importance of building networks in a global marketplace, adding that many global SMEs are taking the lead by forging linkages through partnerships and acquisitions in order to gain access into new markets.
While Singapore already presents great opportunities for SMEs seeking to unlock opportunities in Asia with its well-established physical connectivity and seamless integration with the global market through trade relations, the GES’ networking platform brings together businesses of all sizes, from all sectors and regions in order to highlight cross-border business opportunities through its business matching programs between local and foreign delegates.
Said Mrs Lim, “SMEs are the backbone of every economy around the world. By helping such companies build regional and global connections, and thus unlocking potential, GES will be a solid platform that will help SMEs become globally competitive companies of tomorrow and inspire young people to set up their own businesses.”
Among the booths present at the event was local enterprise The Marketplace Network, formed to promote the development of SME businesses by tapping on the expertise and knowledge of successful business leaders, through business luncheons, forums, seminars and a connect portal, among other means.
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Said Mr Goh Yock Kiang, chairman of The Marketplace Network: “APEC only happens in Singapore once every 20 years, so this was a great opportunity for us to present Singapore SMEs and to provide a platform for them to network with foreign businesses, with the view of springboarding their companies overseas. APEC has just ended, but already we are seeing many successful matches that are resulting in many multi-million deals. This is very encouraging for local businesses.”
This year’s GES includes a new addition to the program in the form of the Forbes Asia “Best Under A Billion” Awards Ceremony, which gathered almost half of Forbes magazine’s 200 best mid-sized companies under one roof that evening.