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New Awards Honor Socially Responsible SMEs

New Awards Honour Socially Responsible SMEs

Six named top winners for helping society, promoting sustainable growth

By YASMINE YAHYA

IT MAY be a small company with limited finances, but health-care administration firm MHC Medical Network has big plans about how to heal the world. MHC was among the six small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that were named the top winners of the inaugural SME1 Asia Awards last Friday.

The awards honor SMEs that are not only financially successful, but have proved to be socially responsible and ethical in doing business as well.

Award organizer APF Group said the awards especially recognize “those that have implemented business practices that contributed to the development of people, society and the environment, thus promoting sustainable growth in Singapore and beyond”.

MHC offers corporations a Web-based employee health-care system that promises to cut administrative costs. It counts among its clients several major insurance providers, hotels, banks and airlines.

And in a bid to give back to society, the company contributes 10 per cent of its annual profit to Goducate, a non -profit organization which aims to help needy Asians through educational programmes.

The projects that MHC is now funding include a children’s home in Cambodia, free schools in Sabah and a training center for farmers in the Philippines. It also provides free musical instruments and music lessons to needy children in the Philippines, many of whom have mothers working in Singapore as maids.

MHC founder Low Lee Yong said that over time, he plans to give more than just 10 per cent of the company’s annual profit away to such social causes. If our business grows and becomes more successful, we want to see more lives touched, and more children and farmers being helped. We certainly want to dream of helping at least 30,000 children with free education,” he told The Straits Times.

A fellow award winner was Encompass Digital Media (Asia), the local arm of a United States-based company that offers digital media-storage facilities, among other services. Managing director Deepakjit Singh Chatrath said the company places a high priority on taking care of its employees and giving back to society. “This year, we started a scholarship for the needy at Singapore Management University. We believe in giving without any strings attached, so we started the bursary without any sort of bond,” he said. “We also plan to start an overseas higher studies scholarship. This scholarship will be open to the children of our employees. We are also trying to start a flexible timing scheme. This will enable young parents to spend more time with their children.”

Four other SMEs were also named the top winners of the awards: Property developer OKH Holdings, restaurant chains Paradise Group and Pin Si Kitchen, and Santa Fe Relocation Services.

yasminey@sph.comsg

Source: Strait Times SME Spot Light Page B21 02 November 2011