From its humble beginnings as a fishing village, Singapore has undergone a remarkable transformation over the centuries. Once a part of the Malay Peninsula, this island state emerged as an important trading post under British colonial rule in the 19th century. Since gaining independence in 1965, Singapore has experienced rapid economic growth, becoming one of the world's wealthiest nations per capita1. Today, it stands as a testament to the power of human ingenuity and relentless pursuit of excellence.
Singapore indeed has earned a well-deserved reputation as a global hub for ground-breaking business ideas. With its strategic location, excellent infrastructure, and pro-business policies, Singapore has nurtured a fertile ground for visionary individuals to turn their dreams into reality.
Business mavens and inspirations
From managing a humble start-up to leading a business empire—there are many laudable Singaporeans who have made significant strides in their respective fields, inspiring a new generation of business leaders. Here are some of them:
Co-founder and CEO of Razer Inc.
A former lawyer, Tan now leads a global gaming hardware manufacturing company and has a net worth of USD1.1 billion. His passion and perseverance has taken his company, Razer, from strength to strength, making the company a reputable name in gaming laptops, mice, fitness bands and tablets with a huge global following.2
Co-founder of Love, Bonito
Rachel started her business with a fashion blog shop selling preloved clothes with her university friends. The blog’s success was then turned into a fashion brand that has since expanded to Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. Now, Rachel is known as an e-commerce pioneer with a multimillion-dollar fashion empire, and is one of Singapore's most successful online fashion retailers.
Founder and Owner of Birds of Paradise
From an ice-cream lover to a flavour trendsetter, Edwin has made a name for himself with his artisanal gelato boutique. Starting as an engineer, Edwin’s gelato boutique is now recognised as a Michelin Plate establishment.3
Founder and CEO of 99 Group
In 2014, Darius founded 99.co which would grow to become Singapore's fastest-growing property portal. Cheung's innovative approach to real estate has revolutionised the industry and made property search more accessible.
Founder of Oddle
With his experience in the F&B industry, Jonathan Lim founded Oddle in 2014 with the purpose of providing accessible and affordable solutions to help restaurants optimise their operations. By championing technology, Jonathan has helped restaurants be smarter and faster in driving their business. Oddle is now Singapore’s leading omnichannel food and beverage (F&B) technology platform.4
Co-Founder of ShopBack
Understanding the insight of how most people would like savings on their spendings, Joel started ShopBack in 2014. Even though he struggled to build his start-up in the beginning, ShopBack has now grown tremendously across the region. Aimed to make shopping more rewarding, the company achieved earnings of USD 130.6 million in 2022.5
Chang Wen Lai
CEO of Ninja Van
Chang started his venture with a clothing line, but soon realised that the logistics industry could not keep up with the growing e-commerce business.6 That’s when he and his friends started Ninja Van. Now, the company has become a large scale delivery company and is a major player in the Southeast Asia logistic scene.
Quek Siu Rui
Co-Founder of Carousell
More than just a business, Quek and his friends started Carousell as a way to promote re-commerce. The platform allows users to list and sell pre-loved items, thus helping to extend the life cycles of various items while creating a significant sustainability impact.7
Co-Founder of Kinobi
Identifying a very common problem, Hafiz Kasman and his fellow founders started Kinobi as a way to help students draft resumes and cover letters. It also offered short online courses and job interview practice.
These success stories demonstrate how Singaporeans identify business opportunities, steer and direct their team towards desired objectives, and manage the expansion of their newfound enterprises.
However, the journey to success is often paved with challenges and requires a diverse set of hard and soft skills.
Upskill for the 21st Century
The Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) offers a range of e-learning programmes designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to succeed in today's fast-paced business world. Upskill yourself and embark confidently as a future leader with our e-learning programmes.
Ready to take the next step? Schedule a call with our Student Advisors here for more information.
- Richest Countries in the World 2023 | Global Finance Magazine
- More than gelato: Birds of Paradise's founder wants to make the world a better place - CNA Luxury
- Jonathan Lim | EY Singapore
- ShopBack triples revenue in 2022, operating losses widen 72%
- 15 Self-Made Entrepreneurs In Singapore Below 35, Like The Founders Of Love, Bonito & Secretlab