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SMF 2019 Highlights: Breakthroughs In New Perspectives And Partnerships To Transform The Business Events Industry

Design experience. Digital transformation. Storytelling. Community engagement. Passionate people. 

These highlights framed the key takeaways at the recent Singapore MICE Forum (SMF) held at Resorts World Sentosa Convention Centre from 25 to 26 July 2019. Themed “Wired for the Future”, SMF2019 showcased compelling insights impacting the business events industry.

Creating Meaningful Impact through a Robust Business Events Eco-system

Business events are platforms created for knowledge exchange, continued conversations on collaboration and solutions development for industry challenges. They are also platforms where moments of serendipity and moments of legacy-making are engineered, said SACEOS President, Mr Aloysius Arlando, who urged fellow business counterparts to put into practice the key event takeaways when organising their events.

SMF2019 brought together next-generation thinkers and disruptors in MICE and Industry verticals to uncover deep insights on building value through design and innovation. Tim Kobe, Founder & CEO, Eight Inc shared how successful design for human outcomes will deliver better business outcomes while Dr David De Cremer, Provost Chair, NUS and Author of Huawei: Leadership, culture, and connectivity shared Huawei’s success story. This focus on user-centricity has contributed to their global success.

Another key focus at SMF2019 was the value and impact in rallying, building, engaging and growing communities to achieve a greater good. Adam Lyle, Executive Chairman, Padang & Co. and Dean Carroll, GM, Mumbrella Asia shared how putting community at the heart of their businesses helped build beneficial relationships. Kenny Eng, Chief Hortitainer, Nyee Phoe (Gardenasia) also demonstrated how innovative space design facilitates community-building and helps businesses build their ‘Social License’.

Rishabh Java, Founder of Broccoli Brains also shared how technology enabled him to build communities to share knowledge with other students through real-time broadcasting.

SMF2019 was organised by SACEOS (Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers), the national trade association for business events.

Fostering Digital Innovation and Transformation for Business Events with Alibaba Cloud, SGTech and WeChat

To further demonstrate SACEO’s commitment to integrate the above perspectives and put them into action, SACEOS also forged new ground with strategic partnerships that enable a digitally-ready and future-ready MICE industry. Significant Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were signed with fellow regional trade associations and global technology companies to propel digital transformation for the sector and explore cross-industry development.

Following Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) MOU with Alibaba Group in April to drive visitor arrivals and spending, SACEOS has signed an MOU with Alibaba Cloud (Singapore) Private Limited to explore collaborations on digital innovation for business events in Singapore. As part of the arrangement, SACEOS and Alibaba Cloud will explore joint workshops and seminars where participants can get hands-on exposure to Alibaba Cloud solutions, big data and AI technologies.

As China is a significant visitor-generating market for Singapore, SACEOS will also be working with STB and WeChat, one of the most widely used Chinese social media platforms that integrates instant messaging and social payment with over 1 billion monthly active user accounts. The collaboration aims to increase technology adoption to boost the overall experience for Chinese MICE visitors in Singapore.

As part of the efforts to accelerate digital transformation and technology adoption in the MICE sector, SACEOS also signed an MOU with SGTech at SMF2019 to share information, cross-promote, foster collaboration and build a robust business events industry. Both parties will be working towards helping members improve their adoption of technology and digitally-enabled solutions, as well as facilitating interaction between the members in the two associations.

“We look forward to collaborating with high-impact technology companies to create more business value for both parties, help our relevant businesses in their digital transformation and spearhead greater success for Singapore’s MICE industry. With enterprises existing in various stages of collaboration, competition and transformation, these partnerships will facilitate an effective eco-system for start-ups and SMEs to grow,” said Mr Aloysius Arlando, President of SACEOS.

Strengthening Regional Efforts to Boost MICE Industry Development

Beyond digital transformation, SACEOS rallied fellow regional events trade associations to jointly build a stronger business events industry for the region. Together with four other trade associations, SACEOS signed the Asia Community Building Pledge to foster stronger, mutually beneficial cooperation. The associations include Indonesia Exhibition Companies Association (IECA), Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS), Philippine Association of Convention/Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers Inc. (PACEOS), and Thailand Incentive & Convention Association (TICA).

“As individual associations, our outreach and industry development efforts are often constrained. But when multiplied with regional parties and other associations beyond the MICE industries, our combined efforts will make a significant difference. We can collectively build a stronger, future-ready business events industry for the region,” said Mr Arlando.

Hosting high-profile events such as DPRK-USA Singapore Summit and the Bloomberg New Economy Forum last year has further raised the awareness of Singapore’s business events industry and bolstered our international reputation as a choice MICE destination. STB will continue to support SACEOS in the association’s endeavours to pursue projects and strategic partnerships that enhance Singapore’s MICE ecosystem and are of value to the local MICE industry.

“Singapore has strong MICE infrastructure and expertise that sets us apart as a leading world-class business events destination. Newly-forged collaborations with technology companies such as WeChat and regional trade associations will further propel Singapore’s MICE sector and boost its digital readiness. STB is pleased to support SACEOS in its outreach and transformation efforts for the industry,” said Mr Andrew Phua, Director, Exhibitions & Conferences, Singapore Tourism Board.


SACEOS was set up in 1979 to be the voice and champion of the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry, to help those in the business to develop and prosper, and to work closely with the government to meet the objective of making Singapore the best venue in Asia. Training has been and continues to be a cornerstone of SACEOS and it is a strategic pillar for the association to help members as Singapore and Asia grapple with greater competition from other regions, fight for talent, as well as manage and retain talent.

To raise professionalism in the exhibition industry, SACEOS in 2001 became the first MICE industry association in the world to launch a set of technical references. Since it was set up, SACEOS has developed and strengthened its international MICE industry network which provides global networking and business opportunities for its members.

In Singapore, government agencies that SACEOS works closely with include the International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore) and the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau (SECB), a division of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). SACEOS achieved a milestone in this area in 2014 by bringing professional courses with international accreditation, only available in Europe and the US previously, to Singapore and accessible to MICE practitioners throughout Asia.