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Why Australian Business chooses Singapore...

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Singapore business case - Learn why Australians are discovering that Singapore's good for business.

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Tags:  Adam Lyle  Dale Anderson  Derek MacKenzie  KL Gates  Nick Hanna  Singapore 

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Starting up in Singapore

Posted By Administration, Sunday, 2 March 2014
Updated: Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Lessons from business leaders about growing your business in Singapore. What you can expect and key considerations for your business. 

For more stories about 'The Singapore Story', click here 

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Tags:  Adam Lyle  Derek MacKenzie  Guy Scott  Philip Forrest  Singapore Strategy 

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Australian International Company Director Entrepreneur Award

Posted By Administration, Thursday, 20 February 2014

Awarded to the person/company who, in the opinion of the judging panel and the president of AustCham, has successfully established their own business in Singapore

Recipient: Derek MacKenzie, Managing Director, designphase dba

A simple question asked by a friend many years ago made a big impact on Derek MacKenzie. It was the mid 1980s and Derek had only recently arrived in Singapore, but had quit his job here to take up another, as Managing Director of designphase, a design agency specialising in creating contemporary commercial spaces.

As Derek recalls, his wise friend asked him: "Why did you do that?” and "What can we expect will be different from the company you left behind?”.

"I had no answer,” says Derek. "I hadn’t even thought about it. No strategy, no plan, no identity or brand differentiation, but the question changed my life forever.”

He soon set about ensuring the company focused on these things, which became the core for all of designphase's decision-making.

"We worked hard, stayed honest and worshipped creativity,” says Derek. "Thank goodness for a strong, capable and loyal team who share values and ethics.”

Derek joined designphase in 1985. He bought the company in 1990 and has led its development into a regional leader in its field, with interests in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.

Today, the company boasts many building interiors in Singapore as among its creations, from the initial establishment of Borders Bookstore to the comprehensive rebuilding of the Singapore Cricket Club and some 20 individual projects at Marina Bay Sands, including restaurants, retail spaces and areas inside the actual casino space.

Banking and legal spaces have become its forte here, benefitting from Singapore’s status as a hub for this sector, with innovative spaces created for JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and UBS amongst others, together with law firms Freehills and Allen & Gledhill.
designphase dba award-winning design for FoodGarden

There are also many restaurants and retail spaces that feature a designphase dba interior, including the award-winning FoodGarden at Asia Square and Zafferano in Ocean Financial Centre, and its current project, the relocation of Robinson’s Department Store from Centrepoint to The Heeren at Orchard Road.

In presenting Derek with his award, Philip Forrest, past president of AustCham and founding member of the Singapore Committee for the Australian Institute of Company Directors, credited Derek’s 30 year success story to his ‘Aussie flair and determination mixed with Asian opportunity’.
(L-R) Phil Forrest presents Derek with his award

But, as anyone who does business in this region knows, it isn’t always easy. Yet, despite the turmoil of Asia’s economic ups and downs over the past 30 years, Derek says he always loved his job.

"I live the most fascinating, challenging, exhausting and exhilarating professional life,” he says. "If I am an entrepreneur, it’s because of this.”

For more stories about 'The Singapore Story', click here 

To learn about the benefits of membership to AustCham, click here

To check out our coming events, click here

Tags:  Australian International Company Director Entrepre  Derek MacKenzie  designphase dba  Phil Forrest  The Singapore Story 

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