(Nova Category Overall Winner 2019)

“Alongside the pursuit of our business objectives, it is important to achieve them with sustainability. We believe in investing in our people, engaging our partners and clients, and playing a part in building our community together.”

Possessing a keen interest in running her own business from a young age and shaped by life experiences from previous successful ventures, Dato’ Elaine Teh forayed into the food and beverage industry in 2002 by starting a company as a turnkey lifestyle services provider, surrounding public entertainment and F&B lifestyle concepts. This formed the genesis of Octopus Group and was first of such companies in the entertainment lifestyle industry in Singapore. Underpinned by its innovative business model, Octopus Group became a huge success and went on to become the market leader with over 80 nightlife outlets in Singapore.

Following a period of strong business, growth inevitably became limited, due to restrictions imposed by Singapore’s labour hiring policy. Consequently, with the understanding of consumer and supply chain behaviour, Dato’ Elaine decided to exit the business before making the decision to move upstream into alcohol beverage sales and supply chain management. The company soon gained significant market share in the market, underpinned by its strong sales and brand activation know-how and a well-developed modern supply chain infrastructure spread across all markets, anchored by deep relationships forged with beverage brand owners and sales channels.

Today, Octopus Group is the market leader in Singapore and Malaysia, with growth planned in the region. It boasts an extensive portfolio representing local and international brands that have well-known provenance, heritage and history, and which resonate with all trade and consumer sectors from high-end cocktail bars to local hawker centres. As a consumer-focused group that aims to deliver the best consumer experiences, Octopus Group responds to the ever-changing market with innovation and agility.

What is different about the Octopus Group as compared to other similar companies in the field?

Our blue ocean strategy allows us to create untapped opportunities in the market. Distribution companies in the market typically do not cover as wide range of beverage categories and sales channels, with a selected few at most covering two beverage categories such as either beer and wine, or beer and spirit. Whereas at Octopus, we carry beverage brands across a wide and deep range of categories that include alcoholic beverages covering across the spectrum of beer, wine and spirits, as well as a selected list of premium non-alcoholic beverages. Octopus Group is also the only company that covers all five sales channels in modern on-trade (bars, restaurants and hotels); modern off-trade (supermarkets, hypermarkets, e-commerce and convenient stores); traditional on-trade (hawker centres and coffee shops); traditional off-trade (dormitories and provision shops); and direct-to-consumer.

What’s your guiding philosophy in ensuring the continued success of the business?

I believe in investing and developing the right talents to manage our business. The management team is made up of industry veterans with a wealth of experience and complementary skill sets in running different product categories and channels.

To what would you attribute your success? What mindset do you adopt?

My philosophy is to dream big, start small and scale fast.

Tell us about your key driving force as an entrepreneur.

For me, the urge to succeed is what drives me and keeps me going. I am very ready to challenge the impossible and to achieve a breakthrough in this male-dominated industry.

What is a typical day for you like?

My day starts early in the morning with qigong exercise followed by a short meditation to maintain my physical and mental well-being. After that, I will make breakfast for my family before filling the day with full-day work activities. Occasionally, I will make time to cook for my family after work. I also enjoy baking in the evening. To wind down and get ready for bed, I will work on qigong breathing exercises before turning in.

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What motivates you?

Helping underprivileged women motivates me. One of the initiatives under the International Women’s Federation of Commerce and Industry (IWFCI) branch in Malaysia, of which I am the president, was to set up a Women In Commerce or wiCOM interest group. Its sole aim is to create economic opportunities for underprivileged women who need help by providing them training and life skills. The pilot project was a sewing centre in Beladin, Sarawak, a small town in Malaysia, to help single mothers break away from poverty. Our volunteer trainers and consultants, through a structured program, imparted sewing and basic business skills to a group of Beladin women. The outcome was a doubling of their gross household income, improving their quality of lives and greater financial stability. This initiative inspires me to go the extra mile in my corporate business and develop the team to handle more responsibilities in my company so to free up my time to take up more social work, as a form of contribution to the society. By seeing my students in Beladin gain their independence and lead a better life, it has touched my heart and this motivates me further.

Any expansion plans for the business?

Building on our solid infrastructure and network, we are planning to expand to emerging markets such as Mongolia, Nepal and other parts of Asia, including the creation of our own private label brands in near future. 

What were/are your biggest hurdles? How did/do you overcome them?

My biggest hurdle earlier in the business was to raise funds to support the company’s growth. It was challenging at first to secure financing from banks mainly due to their lack of understanding in our business model. It was not easy to convince them of our “blue ocean” strategy as it was a new concept, unconventional and had not yet been proven successful. It was through sheer grit and determination that we braved through these challenges, simply because we had the vision that this master turnkey nightlife services business model would revolutionise the whole entertainment industry.

Do you have a favourite quote that you constantly keep in mind or share with others?

“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”, as quoted by Michelle Obama. With limited time in our life, I am always mindful of doing my small part to contribute to the society, choose the right path for myself, and stay happy and positive.

How do you build and maintain a good solid foundation upon which to build and develop the business? What is your key to building a strong business foundation?

Our key to building a strong business foundation is to set a clear vision and mission, to invest in talent and keep innovating to raise the bar of our business. The main focus and foundation of our business is to create value at a sustainable growth rate. We focus on delivering steady organic growth by gaining a bigger market share and customers and through selective M&As (mergers & acquisitions) for regional or new vertical expansion. We are constantly looking out for new beverage brands to represent or to acquire, to grow our portfolio so as to target and appeal to a wider audience.

Join us to empower women and share your success stories.
Call for nomination for 2020 edition opens October 2019.


BG (NS) Chan Wing Kai


Seed Global Investment

BG (NS) Chan Wing Kai spent 29 years in the Singapore Armed Forces as a military officer. He rose up to the Army’s top leadership and held numerous key appointments.

The years in the Armed Forces provided him a strong foundation in leadership, human capital management, operational planning, training development and critical diplomatic skills.

He retired from active military service in 2016 and is currently a Director with SEED Global Investment, a real estate investment firm. He oversees the company’s portfolio and business development in the US and UK. He holds a MSc in Applied Finance from the Singapore Management University, and is no stranger to corporate finance, portfolio management, equities, bonds and derivatives.



Member of Parliament

Business China

Ms Tin Pei Ling is the Chief Executive Officer of Business China, a non-profit organisation that harnesses the support of the public sector & private enterprises to strengthen the ties between Singapore and China. Prior to joining Business China, Pei Ling was the Group Director of Corporate Strategy for Jing King Group.

Pei Ling is an elected Member of Parliament in Singapore since 2011 and currently serves on the Public Accounts Committee. She also serves on the Government Parliamentary Committee for Communications & Information (from 2018, Dy Chairperson) and Health (2011 – present) and previously for Law/Home Affairs (2011-2015) and Social & Family Development (2015 – 2018, Dy Chairperson).



Managing Director


Mr Ryan Chioh joined FEF.com in 1998 as Executive Director of Far East Flora Holdings Pte Ltd.

Always a firm advocator for technology, Ryan identified the direction for e-commerce development and saw a business opportunity to offer FEF.com’s extensive range of flowers and gifts online in 2001. Ryan blended his IT savviness and prudent business sense to steer the company’s website to become the leading portal for flowers and gifts. Ryan also brought the company to another level by spearheading the development of a CRM and ERP business solution, integrating the front-end and back-end operations so that there would be easier identification of customer base.



Head, Operations System & Control


Sing Hwee is the Head, Operations System & Control of Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd. He is responsible for the business processes and control functions, information systems and technology as well as Internal Audit and Risk Management.  He also takes ownership of the Group’s Delegation of Authority and Procurement Policy. 

Sing Hwee has more than 20 years of experience in providing risk management, performance improvement, internal controls and business advisory services to clients in various industries, including the real estate sector.  Being a thought leader and a recognised expert in this field, he used to sit in the Ernst & Young (EY) ASEAN Partner Governance Council and led the Advisory (Risk) Internal Audit Practice in Asia Pacific, ASEAN and Singapore covering 17 countries, 30 partners and 700 professionals.  Before joining EY, he had spent many years in risk consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Andersen.



Member of Parliament

Eagle Eye Centre

Dr Lim Wee Kiak, is an elected Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC since 2015 and serves as chairman of Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth. An Ophthalmologist, Dr Lim is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Eagle Eye Centre.

Dr Lim joined the Singapore Armed Forces as a medical officer in 1994 and completed subspecialty training in Ophthalmology in 1998, with a Master’s degree in Medicine and two post-graduate specialist qualifications in Ophthalmology. During his service in SAF, he led numerous humanitarian missions to neighbouring countries. He joined Singapore National Eye Centre and was awarded the MOH HMDP fellowship in 2003, doing one year of clinical and research Fellowship at the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.

Dr Lim had been an active grassroots leader since 1998 before joining politics in 2006. For his active community involvement, he was awarded the Young Executive of the Year in 2000 and Public Service Medal (PBM) in 2003.


Chew Mok Lee

Assistant Chief Executive
ICM & Digitalisation
Enterprise Services & New Industries

Enterprise Singapore

Ms Chew Mok Lee is the Assistant Chief Executive in charge of ICM & Digitalisation, Enterprise Services & New Industries in Enterprise Singapore, a government agency spearheading enterprise and industry development, reporting to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore. Enterprise Singapore is also the national Standards body in Singapore.

Prior to Enterprise Singapore, Mok Lee was with National Productivity Board (NPB), PSB and SPRING Singapore. She graduated from National University of Singapore, majoring in Economics and Statistics. She has a double Masters and is well versed in the area of enterprise promotion, industry development and partnership building, having been involved in various aspects of capability development, support for local enterprises, enabling a viable enterprise eco-system and entrepreneurship for 29 years. She also served as Secretariat to the Action Community for Entrepreneurship and was responsible for working with the Minister in Charge of Entrepreneurship and private sector members to foster entrepreneurship and support start-ups in Singapore.



Regional Head
Corporate and Transactional Practice

Rajah & Tann Singapore

Mr Chia Kim Huat has extensive experience in capital market, public and private mergers and acquisitions, cross-border joint ventures and private equity investments, both in Singapore and the region. He travels regularly in the Asia-Pacific region advising clients on a wide range of matters, including direct investments and infrastructure projects in China, major acquisitions in Korea, joint ventures in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan and cross-border mergers and acquisitions transactions. Kim Huat also advises foreign investors on their investments in Singapore, including listings on the Singapore Exchange, privatisations, secondary and dual listings.

He has been recognised as a leading lawyer in his field by International Financial Law Review 1000, Chambers Global “Leaders in their Field”, Asia Pacific Legal 500, “Eminent Practitioner” in Chambers Asia Pacific, Who’s Who Legal: Corporate – Merger & Acquisition/Capital Markets – Debt and Equity and Merger & Acquisition, ‘Leading Lawyer’ in Asialaw Profiles and Best Lawyers, 2017 Edition.



Deputy Chief Executive (Operations)
SkillsFuture Singapore

Wee Beng is the Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) of SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). He leads the Business Technology Group (Operations Planning Division, Capability Development Division, Operations & Support Division, Security & Infrastructure Division), the Training, Manpower & Infrastructure Group (Manpower & Infrastructure Planning Division, Office of Lifelong Learning, and Institute of Adult Learning which comprises Learning and Professional Development Division, Research and Innovation Division, Learning Services and Support Division ) as well as the Business Services Group (Shared Services Management, Integrated Business Services Division &, Corporate Services Division).

Prior to joining SSG, Wee Beng was an officer with the Singapore Armed Forces, leading both large and small teams. His last appointment was Chief-of-Staff, Republic of Singapore Navy, overseeing a range of staff departments and ground commands. Other key appointments held were Head Naval Operations, Commander of Maritime Security Task Force and Commander, Naval Diving Unit. Wee Beng holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Physics from Oxford University, UK, and a Master of Science in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.