I2I 2011: Training, mentoring and funding

Idea to Investment (I2I) for the Media Industry is the leading training program in Singapore for the media and interactive and digital media (IDM) companies. Co-organized by Expara and the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA). I2I has trained and put in front of investors more than 540 entrepreneurs from 272 companies since 2007.

During the two-day, intensive, hands-onm workshop, participants will develop the key elementsof their business strategy, business plan, financial model and investor presentations.

I2I is open to all sectors of media industry, and to companies of all sizes, maturity and stage of development. We help existing companies to grow and new companies to get started.

To know more about this event, visit www.expara.com

Cost-Saving Printer

 

For small business owners, listen up! Brother has recently launched a new series of compact colour printers and Multi-functions Centre that promise to deliver cost-saving and high-speed printing. Price starts as low as $498/-

By utilising a newly improved LED printing technology, Brother is able to offer high speed printing at 16 pages per minute (ppm) and rich colour print quality at up to 2,400 x 600 dpi resolution, without increasing the cost of ownership. This will certainly meet the printing needs of both Small Offices Home Offices (SOHOs) and Small and Medium sized Businesses (SMBs)

Additionally, the MFCs offer print, fax, copy and scan functions in one machine with the unique scan to FTP and network features to reduce the amount of paper filing and easier document management for today’s offices. Alternatively, users can also scan to and even print directly from USB flash memory drive.

I do not have the chance to test up the printing quality but I guess this is pretty secondary.  For small business owners, what matters most is to achieve cost saving and decent print quality. The Toner Save Mode enables draft quality printouts that consumes less toner, while a separate toner and drum technology lets users maximise toner and drum usage so less is spent on replacing drums and reducing wastage.

 

To know more about the price and the specification, you may wish to download a simplified catalogue here.

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD 2009

 

The current crisis has wiped out the global market confidence but not the ambitions of the entrepreneurs.

 

And the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) and the Rotary Club are aiming to recognise those who have succeeded this year despite the many obstacles. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is now into its 21st year. It seeks to honour successful entrepreneurs who have been able to recognise opportunities, take appropriate actions and accept the associated risks.
Past winners include homegrown firms like Charles and Keith, Breadtalk and Qian Hu.

 

What are the qualifying requirements? 

  1. The Candidate must be an entrepreneur who has been in business for at least three years, and has demonstrated outstanding entrepreneurial qualities in growing and developing the business.
  2. The Candidate must be a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident, who is above 21 years of age.
  3. The Candidate’s company must have a minimum 30% local equity.
  4. If the Candidate owns between 10% and 30% of the Company’s shares, he/she has to be nominated by the Board of Directors.
  5. Total fixed production assets of the Candidate’s company should not exceed S$30 million. Total number of employees must not exceed 400 if the Candidate’s business belongs to the service industry.
  6. The Candidate’s company must neither be a listed company nor a subsidiary of a listed company.
  7. The Candidate’s company must hold at least three years of audited books of accounts, which must be submitted for evaluation.

Submissions for the award will close at noon on June 30, 2009. Visit the website at http://www.eya.com.sg/

 

Venture capital improves corporate governance

COMPANIES receiving venture capital backing are generally better at corporate governance when they list on the stock exchange than those that have not gone down the venture capital path, according to a study by the Australian School of Business.

Based on 11 years of research by Associate Professor Jo-Ann Suchard in association with the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, the study examined corporate governance at companies that had gone through an initial public offering.

It finds that listed companies with VC-backed boards have more independent directors and a higher percentage of independent directors with industry experience than non-VC companies that have gone to an IPO.

“It is established in international markets that venture capitalists add value through various types of activities beyond just giving money,” Suchard says.

Her research shows VC-backed firms have more independent directors. “These were not just non-executives, but directors who didn’t have any prior or existing relationship with the company, so they weren’t lawyers or bankers or accountants who had a prior working relationship,” she says.

Suchard says VCs use their networks to bring in specialist independent directors to help run companies, and therefore provide better corporate governance, which should help protect shareholder interests and contribute to better performance over time.

Luceille Outhred, chief executive of South Australian technology innovation group Digislide Holdings, says having VC backing has definitely helped her company achieve stronger corporate governance.

“We’ve gone through seed capital raising and angel raising, and each time we’ve gone through a different stage, as a natural consequence of the business growing but also as a necessity for raising additional capital at a higher level, our policies and procedures have tightened up,” she says.

“We always had a goal of listing on the ASX or the New York Stock Exchange, or Nasdaq, so we have constantly been upgrading our policies and our procedures, both operational and governance.


“Digislide has received about $12 million in venture capital funding and we would be in a position to lodge with ASIC for an ASX-listed company if we choose to do so, because all our policies are at the highest level and the implementation is at the highest level.”

Dr Katherine Woodthorpe, chief executive of the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, says VC-backed companies are used to working with a board, whereas many other companies that list for the first time have not previously done so.

“A lot of companies think they don’t need a board in the earlier stages of being a company and so people are just not used to having a board,” Woodthorpe says.

“It is difficult, however, finding independent directors, particularly people who are interested in working with smaller technology companies, which are perceived as having higher risk.”

Ivan Kaye, director of BSI Australia, which provides venture capital funding through its Australian Distributed Incubator arm, says a condition of putting money into a company is that they move towards having the right structures in place.

“There are generally independent or non-executive board members put on by the VC.

“As a result of that, the shift from a private company to listing is smaller than with a company that hasn’t had VC backing.”

Mike Hershorn, director of Four Hats Capital, manager of the Nanyang Innovation Fund, says one of the first things to improve in the field of corporate governance is a company’s financial reporting.

“That’s really the first step, because if the board doesn’t have accurate financial reports it can’t work well to improve the company.”

VENTURE FORTH
* Companies with venture capital backing tend to have better corporate governance

* Independent directors have a stronger presence on the board

* The right governance structures are often a condition of VC funding

* Better governance brings better financial reporting

Source: The Australian, 28 Nov 2008

Sponsored Review: Feel the air of entrepreneurialism!

Feel lost in the job market? Lack of motivation? I believe these are some emotional struggles among young Singaporean. However in the midst of poor market condition, there always exist an opportunity. Successful entrepreneurs usually emerge during bad weather. Why not get yourself de-stressed and feel the air of entrepreneurialism with Global Entrepreneurship Week 2008?

Global Entrepreneurship Week (The Week) lasts from 17 to 23 Nov 2008. It is a celebration of innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity. The Week will bring together millions of young people across the globe through online and local activities and encourage them to think innovatively and unleash their ideas.

This is not an “All Talk, No Action” event. M.Y. FBI Holiday Camp, targeted at children (age 10-12), will required participants to think of creative ideas to sell their craft on 22nd November as a closing for the camp. All profits will go to a charity benefiting children which will be selected by the participants themselves.

Besides business educations for the young children, Youths-4 Charity Flea market is targeted at youths from Secondary Schools and ITE with a focus on social entrepreneurship. Youths-4 Charity Flea market is a competition. Each team will be required to produce items/ crafts for sale on the flea market. To make the competition more realistic, rental and interest will be imposed.

The Global Entrepreneurship Week 2008 is organised by ACE and NUS Enterprise. The sponsored review is provided by BLOG2u (http://blog2u.sg). If you wish to find out more information of the event, please visit the official site: http://www.entrepreneurshipweeksg.org

Can we drive “armored-vehicle” on the road?!

 

If you are an entrepreneur or business developer, you are constantly fighting for sales otherwise you will lose out in this highly-competitive market. Time is everything! As a sales person or entrepreneur (especially those at the early stage of startup), you need to be highly efficient even on the move!

 

Meeting your clients is like engaging a fire fight. You need weapons and transportation for wars. Your products are your bullets and your car should be like your armor vehicle. Besides transportation capabilities, armor-vehicles have fighting and communication capabilities. Question here, “besides transportation, what else can our car do?”

 

I am sure all of us agree that car is a liability. Why? Simply because we do not see much of owning a car except for the ERP (for those who don’t understand, it is the acronym of Electronic Road Pricing), car loans, petrol charges and road taxes. We need to look at uses or applications of car beyond transportation.

 

I come across the term “Mobile Office”. One of the examples is to convert your vehicle into a mobile place. I believe this is the area that can be further explored. In fact Volkswagen (Stock Quotes: VOW.DE) has the concept of such car. Below are some of the photos of Volkswagen T6.  

 


 


 


 

The T6 model has won the “Best Lifestyle Interior” in the Interior Motives Award 2008. (Source: Car Body Design)

 

I am using this example only to prove my point that we need more applications on wheels. In fact, I believe that the design of the concept car can be further developed to suit the needs of the mass (especially entrepreneurs who might not have an office to work since office rental can be quite expensive).  Sounds hard? But it is not very hard for the technicians to change or modify your car parts. If you watch MTV channel, there is a TV program called “Pimp My Ride” that actually helps to “renovate” your car.

 

 

Enough of Wonderland! Let’s get back to reality. In Singapore, we have seen car loves spend ten thousands of dollars just on installing lighting and car audio system. I am sure there is a demand of office usages on cars. But, Can we have such car modification in Singapore? Bear in mind, you might be installing additional battery (approval from LTA – Land Transport Authority ) to power up your equipments such as communication devices which might transmit wireless signal (approval from IDA – Infocomm Development Authority).  Things are not going to be that simple. I believe there are more factors to consider.

 

I am very willing to hear more. Please drop your comments.

 

Business Times – S’pore firm scores mobile wallet success abroad

 

WITH Singapore’s efforts to promote payments via mobile phones slow to get off the ground, a local firm is dialling overseas to exploit the market potential of this emerging technology.  

 

 

Following the success of earlier trials, Cassis International is working with a Malaysian operator on the commercial rollout of its mobile wallet initiative, according to company CEO Chua Thian Yee. This comes on the heels of a similar deployment for Korea’s SK Telecom (stock quote: SKM)in 2007.

The homegrown tech upstart, formed in 2002 by a group of executives from the smartcard industry, plays an integral role in realising the payment promise of near field communication (NFC), the technology that is being used to allow consumers to tap and pay for purchases with their handsets.

This is because Cassis provides the solutions needed to allow financial services players to securely distribute credit-card and other payment applications over the air to NFC-enabled mobile phones. By loading the relevant applications, the phone can be used to pay for everything from train rides to burgers and movie tickets.

Cassis was roped in for all the NFC trials that were sanctioned by Visa International(stock quote: V),  and is the only Asian firm on the payment provider’s international mobile payment platform consortium.

Helped by the two overseas projects, the firm is expected to maintain its revenue growth at 30 per cent in 2008, but its big break could come within the next year with more commercial rollouts around the world.

‘2009 will be a big year for us,’ Mr Chua told BizIT in an interview on Tuesday, without disclosing details of the deals in the pipeline.

To tackle its overseas projects, the company currently has a team of 70 staff across Malaysia, China, Korea, France, and its headquarters in Singapore.

While inter-operability and fragmentation issues dogged earlier attempts to promote mobile payments, Mr Chua is confident that the outcome will be different this time around with NFC.

Instead of loading credit-card applications into the chip of a plastic card, the data is instead sent over the cellular network to an NFC handset. There is no need to replace existing payment terminals, Mr Chua stressed.

‘NFC uses a standard that has already been established. It’s not about introducing new equipment but merely using another form factor (the mobile phone instead of a plastic credit card) to pay using the same transaction terminal,’ Mr Chua said.

While telcos in countries such as Japan and Korea have introduced mobile payments, local operators here are just starting to dip their toes into the fledgling technology.

Singapore Telecommunications and its partners Nets and United Overseas Bank are assessing the feasibility of a new coupon redemption feature with NFC-enabled handsets.

Rival StarHub, however, has chosen to join hands with Japanese operator NTT Docomo (stock quote: NTT) to test out the latter’s Osaifu-Keitai mobile wallet platform in Singapore.

Source Business Times 20 Oct 2008