The SMU Business Families Institute (BFI) hosted a webinar “Building Growth Enterprises- Harnessing the Power of Trust, Innovation and Entrepreneurship” on 28 May 2021. Attended by more than 300 participants, the session was held in conjunction with the book launch of ‘Succession and Innovation in Asia’s Small-and-Medium-Sized Enterprises’.
The insightful session revolved around conversations on the need for family enterprises to innovate in the era of constant change and technological disruptions, how trust can be built, and the development of trans-generational entrepreneurship.
In her welcome address, Associate Professor Tan Hwee Hoon, SMU Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour & Human Resources, Lee Kong Chian School of Business (LKCSB) and Chair, Steering Committee, BFI, highlighted that trust is an integral factor of successful enterprises, which in turn is built through the presence of Ability (competence), Benevolence (intention to do good for others) and Integrity (values and how we conduct ourselves).
Professor Hsi-Mei Chung, Professor of Business Administration, I-Shou University, Taiwan and Committee Commissioner, Chinese Institute of Business Education Development, opened the session, pointing out that in order to ensure long term survival, family business owners must be able to pass on accumulated competencies to next generations.
Keynote speaker Mr Ted Tan, Deputy CEO, Enterprise Singapore stressed the need to adopt a 5G perspective to grow enterprises. He shared examples of international and local companies that achieved business excellence through five keywords - Grow, Glow, Globalise, Governance, and Grit. On how people react to changes, he quoted the Chinese proverb “风向转变时,有人筑墙,有人造风车”, meaning “when the winds of change blow, some people build walls, some build windmills”. Applying this saying to the ever changing environment, he highlighted that businesses need to constantly evolve and be innovative to take advantage of changes. To help Singapore Enterprises take on the 5Gs approach, Mr Tan iterated Enterprise Singapore’s support to partner SMEs in innovation, internationalisation and leadership.
Professor Annie Koh, SMU Professor Emeritus of Finance (Practice), Senior Academic Advisor, Business Families Institute moderated the panel session which included eminent panellists, Mr Yao, Koon-Yaw Chen, Chairman, Hop Lion Feather Works Corporation, Mr Arthur Chua, CEO, Goldbell Corporation Pte Ltd, Ir Professor John Mok, Co-founder and Chairman, AML Holdings, and Associate Professor Kevin Au, Associate Professor in Management and Director, Centre for Family Business and Centre for Entrepreneurship, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
The panel discussion saw an interesting exchange of stories and ideas on how family businesses can achieve success through trust, innovation and entrepreneurship.
In closing, Assistant Professor Kenneth Goh, SMU Assistant Professor of Strategic Management, LKCSB, Interim Academic Director, BFI, distilled the key idea from the discussions as the importance of trust and proper governance in promoting innovation in family businesses. As innovation is an outcome of the internal dynamics in organizations, trust allows business families to harness the beneficial effects of productive conflict. Given the potential contentiousness of generational transitions faced by business families, it is never too early to build trust and proper governance to spur innovation and entrepreneurship.
For recordings of the webinar, please click on the below links: