ENTREPRENEUR extraordinaire Ron Sim, 45, has bagged the coveted Singapore Businessman of the Year 2003 award. He was presented with the award in Singapore yesterday by the city-state's Trade and Industry Minister, George Yeo.
The son of a taxi driver and a domestic cleaner, Sim started his company when he was just 20 years old. Today, OSIM International Ltd (OIL) is not only listed on the Singapore Exchange main board but is also a global leader in healthy lifestyle products such as portable therapeutic foot massagers, blood pressure monitors, foam pillows and nutritional products.
Established in 1980, the company currently has over 400 OSIM outlets throughout Asia, the Middle East, North America and Britain.
After receiving his award, Sim said: I think I was pretty lucky to be born to a poor family. When you start low, there is no fear of failure and humiliation.
Despite tough economic times in recent years, OIL managed to chalk up a compounded 30% increase in revenue and net profit for the past four years.
Sim told reporters that in his early days doing business was all about survival. So to win this award is really extraordinary. It's a great recognition and an honour,'' he said.
In an interview with StarBiz, Sim also said his desire to succeed in life was driven by the hardship he experienced in his younger days. The end result depends on the beginning, he said.
Sim said his humble beginnings made him more resilient in the face of obstacles and laid the foundation for his success.
He also received the Outstanding Chief Executive of the Year award and Enterprise Award.
The awards were decided by a panel of judges drawn from the business sector, official agencies and academia. Besides the performance of their companies, the winners were judged on their leadership, entrepreneurial skills, personal qualities and contribution made to Singapore's development.
The Singapore Business Awards, now in their 19th year, are jointly organised by Singapore's Business Times and global express courier DHL.
Past winners of the Businessman of the Year award include luminaries such as Wee Cho Yaw, Sim Wong Hoo and Kwek Leng Beng.
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