UOB launches initiative to help Asia's next generation leaders of family-led firms fast track their growth

United Overseas Bank (UOB) launched The Business Circle, an initiative to prepare the next generation leaders of Asia’s family-led firms to run their businesses. The Business Circle is open to the Bank’s clients, including young entrepreneurs who have built successful companies.

Providing knowledge-sharing and collaboration opportunities, The Business Circle aims to create a community of next generation family business owners who by learning from successful entrepreneurs are better able to fast track their own company’s growth. Members will also learn how to sustain growth by tapping the deep industry insights, business acumen and innovative thinking of the business leaders. UOB’s initiative will also facilitate cross-industry and cross-border connections and collaborations for its members across the region.

Mr Frederick Chin, Head of Group Wholesale Banking and Markets, UOB, said, “At UOB, we are committed to helping companies remain relevant and competitive for the long term. Family firms are a significant contributor to Asia’s continued economic growth, accounting for 34 per cent of the region’s gross domestic product. Having worked with businesses across generations, we know that experience, expertise and creativity can take any business to greater heights and we want to help them in that process. In time, we hope that the members themselves will help other family firms succeed. The Business Circle will then be a virtuous circle where valuable experience and knowledge are passed from one generation of business owners to the next.”

One of the established entrepreneurs is Mr Albert Phuay, Chairman and Group CEO of Excelpoint Technology, a leading regional firm providing electronic components and engineering design and supply chain management services. Last year, the firm set up its entrepreneurial and investment arm PlanetSpark to invest in early to mid-stage startups in Singapore and Asia that are related to the Internet of Things ecosystem.

Mr Phuay said, “One challenge many entrepreneurs face is in building a team of good people. This is possibly the most important factor for success as you cannot grow alone. Therefore, the focus on nurturing the next batch of leaders has always been important at Excelpoint. The launch of The Business Circle by UOB resonates with me as it will build a community of next generation leaders and create a platform for them to share their experiences. In the past, we had to build these connections from scratch but with this amazing initiative, the new generation will be able to gain such connections easily through The Business Circle.” 

UOB and its ecosystem of partners will run masterclasses and workshops for The Business Circle on topics such as business diversification, digitalisation and cross-border expansion. The Bank will also organise business missions overseas for the members to explore opportunities and to connect with local business leaders for knowledge sharing and collaboration.

The first overseas trip will be to Chengdu and Chongqing, China in November 2019. Fifty next generation business leaders will visit the Liangjiang New Area's Digital Economy Industrial Park to learn how companies use technology to design solutions to widen their market reach or to improve customer experience. They will also visit Hema, Alibaba's technology-driven supermarket, to understand how the company is redesigning the retail experience.

Mr Voo Wei Keong, Director, WTS Travel and the second generation of the family to run the business, said, “Since entering the business, I have personally benefitted from the expertise and experience of our first generation founders. As we explore new ideas and pursue innovative growth strategies, their advice and insight have been essential in helping to refine our approach so that we have a greater chance of success. I am excited to be part of The Business Circle and look forward to meeting other business owners and to being part of a cohesive business environment where we can learn and grow together.”

The launch of The Business Circle was attended by more than 300 business owners from Singapore, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.

Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker

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