Research survey reveals insights into the role and importance of innovation in family businesses
Singapore, 15 August 2019 (Thursday) - Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Professor Annie Koh has been named the inaugural V3 Group Professor of Family Entrepreneurship. The Professorship has been made possible by a generous endowed gift of $3 million from the V3 Group in July 2018. It aims to support research and programmes on best practices in family entrepreneurship, such as placing emphasis on shared family values and effective succession planning; resource mobilisation to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in business families, as well as family wealth management and impact investing.
As the V3 Group Professor of Family Entrepreneurship, Professor Annie Koh, who is SMU’s Vice President for Business Development, Professor of Finance at SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business and also Academic Director of SMU’s Business Families Institute (BFI@SMU) and International Trading Institute (ITI@SMU), will contribute to the development of family entrepreneurship through research, teaching and engagement with industry.
Professor Koh today delivered the inaugural V3 Group Professorship in Family Entrepreneurship Lecture on ‘Innovation in Singapore-based Family-owned Enterprises’, where she shared the key findings of a study of the same title conducted by BFI@SMU between December 2018 and May 2019. The six-month study surveyed 86 Singapore-based family firms across a range of sectors, including F&B, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, healthcare, hospitality, real estate and financial services. 78% of the respondents are small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with an annual turnover of up to S$100 million, with the remaining being large corporations with an annual turnover above S$100 million.
The research survey revealed that:
- 83% of the respondents found it challenging to grow and scale their businesses due to the limited size of Singapore’s domestic market, and 74% viewed innovation as a key strategy to stay ahead of the competition.
- 40% of the respondents felt that product innovation and service innovation were most important to their businesses, followed by process innovation (29%) and organisational innovation (27%).
- Among the companies surveyed, those who tapped on external financing to support their innovation utilised bank loans (67%), followed by angel investors (15%) and crowdfunding (5%).
- Over 60% of the respondents felt that regardless of the availability of government financial grants, their firms will still proceed with innovation initiatives.
- The majority of respondents had not collaborated with education institutions (56%) nor government institutions (62%) to develop innovation initiatives.
Professor Annie Koh said, “I am honoured to be named the inaugural V3 Group Professor of Family Entrepreneurship. Innovation is what sparks many success stories among sustainable family enterprises, and Mr Ron Sim and V3 Group encapsulates that spirit with vision, values and valour. I hope to build on the foundation of what we have learnt through research and case studies, and offer programmes to families to help grow family entrepreneurial spirit across generations. Business families in Singapore can do this by leveraging the robust and dynamic ecosystem comprising government, startups, educational institutions and innovation labs, while collaborating with MNCs and other family firms”.
[Photo: Prof Annie Koh moderating a panel discussion that involved several successful business owners who shared their views on how their own family businesses embark on the innovation journey.]
Mr Ron Sim, Founder, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of V3 Group, said, “I strongly believe that family businesses are important contributors to the economy. For family businesses to be sustainable, family entrepreneurship is key. I hope that through this Professorship, the named professor is able to spearhead meaningful research and programmes with BFI@SMU to generate thought leadership and education to benefit more family businesses and the community.” Mr Sim has been a Founding Family member of BFI since 2013. He was also an advisory board member of the SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business from September 2004 to December 2014, and had supported SMU Shirin Fozdar’s programme in empowering women entrepreneurship.
On the same day, BFI@SMU also announced a new research partnership with Bangkok University through a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Professor Annie Koh and Associate Professor Dr Veerapong Malai, Vice President for Innovation and Creative Entrepreneurship Development of Bangkok University. Under the agreement, Bangkok University will collaborate with SMU to collect data to uncover insights into innovation in Thailand-based family-owned enterprises. The findings of this study are expected to be ready by the end of 2020.
[Photo: Prof Koh and Assoc Prof Dr Veerapong Malai from Bangkok University.]
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