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Meet Lim Yen Yee


scholar article Yen Yee (second from left) with her colleagues from the Policy and Promotion team, July 2017
Enterprise Singapore scholar Lim Yen Yee's father started his own semiconductor business, and watching him manage his firm has always inspired her. "When I decided to study Business Administration at Nanyang Technology University and did my research about available scholarships, the one offered by Enterprise Singapore (previously SPRING Singapore) was the only one that appealed to me," she recalls.

The scholarship's tagline was "Be Your Own Boss", and it promised opportunities to learn about and be involved in shaping Singapore's industries. Yen Yee shares, "Enterprise Singapore works with companies to help them expand their capabilities, innovate and grow beyond Singapore's shores, as well as navigate the choppy waters caused by disruptive technologies and global events, and I wanted to be a part of that."

As an Enterprise Singapore scholar, Yen Yee had the opportunity to intern in the organisation's Industry Development Group, which provides enterprises with development help, networks, tax incentives and grants, and more. She recalls, "I visited several firms - including Everbest and Charles & Keith - two Singapore-based shoe companies, their showrooms and factories, and saw up close how they operated, the challenges they faced, and what they needed to prosper. This was an education unto itself outside of the classroom."

Upon graduation, Yen Yee started her career at Enterprise Singapore, where she has learnt even more about the intricacies of doing business in Singapore and globally. She elaborates, "My work has put me at the forefront of emerging sectors in the country, at the table with trade representatives from other nations, and in the room with business leaders and experts. It has also ranged from helping startups to kickstart, to developing a national certification scheme for management consultants."

One of her most memorable experiences, for example, was helping co-working firms to flourish in Singapore. "When I was with Enterprise Singapore's Capabilities Development Team several years ago, the co-working space sector was still new, and the companies that wanted to offer co-working spaces needed a lot of help and funds to sharpen their branding and marketing. The concept of co-working spaces was not one that many people understood at the time," she recalls.

She remembers speaking to the companies extensively to understand their needs, and supporting them to carry out primary and secondary market research. Together with her colleagues, Yen Yee also helped to vet the business strategy proposals that their consultants had put together. "In those ways, I like to think that Enterprise Singapore played a critical role in helping the sector to take off in the country," she says.

Yen Yee now works in Enterprise Singapore's Policy and Promotion Division, where the work has been equally forward-looking. "I am on a consultative committee that oversees the work of several groups that deal with sector-based or national issues, such as standards harmonisation," she says. The team also works on mutual recognition agreements within ASEAN member states, so that the countries will accept the results of one another's product tests. With such agreements, companies can export their goods more quickly and save on duplicative tests.

Yen Yee shares that her five years at Enterprise Singapore have given her a first-hand look at the hard work of enterprise development, and the many tools, both direct and indirect, that governments can employ to boost the competitiveness of companies and industries and prepare them for the future. "The learning curve has been steep, but my colleagues and superiors have been nothing but supportive along the way. If you want to know everything there is to know about business, and do so in a collaborative and encouraging environment, Enterprise Singapore is the place for you," she concludes.