SINGAPORE (Sept 11): United Overseas Bank (UOB) on Wednesday launched The Business Circle, an initiative to prepare the next generation leaders of Asia’s family-led firms to run their businesses.

This initiative is open to UOB’s clients, including young entrepreneurs who have built successful companies.

The Business Circle will provide the next generation family business owners knowledge-sharing and collaboration opportunities to allow them to learn from successful entrepreneurs and better able to fast track their company’s growth. Members will also learn how to sustain growth by tapping the deep industry insights, business acumen and innovative thinking of the business leaders.

This initiative will also facilitate cross-industry and cross-border connections and collaborations for UOB’s members across the region.

In addition, UOB and its ecosystem of partners will run masterclasses and workshops for The Business Circle on topics such as business diversification, digitalisation and cross-border expansion.

It will also organise business missions overseas for members to explore opportunities and to connect with local business leaders for knowledge sharing and collaboration. The first overseas trip will be to Chengdu and Chongqing in Nov 2019, where 50 next generation leaders will visit the Liangjiang New Area's Digital Economy Industrial Park and Hema, Alibaba’s technology-driven supermarket.

There, the 50 participants will learn how companies use technology to design solutions to widen their market reach or to improve customer experience, as well as to understand how a redesigns the retail experience.

Frederick Chin, head of group wholesale banking and markets for UOB, says, “At UOB, we are committed to helping companies remain relevant and competitive for the long term. Family firms are a significant contributor to Asia’s continued economic growth, accounting for 34% of the region’s gross domestic product. Having worked with businesses across generations, we know that experience, expertise and creativity can take any business to greater heights and we want to help them in that process."

"In time, we hope that the members themselves will help other family firms succeed. The Business Circle will then be a virtuous circle where valuable experience and knowledge are passed from one generation of business owners to the next," he adds.

As at 11.40am, shares in UOB are trading 1.82% higher at $26.24.