Being an SME, IPI Innovation Advisor Shaun Smithson loves working with the Innovation Advisors Programme (IAP) partners as they are SMEs and live the challenges of being a small business every day.


Shaun Smithson has decades of experience in the Food Services and Hospitality industry. First receiving culinary training at Walt Disney World, he then gained a Bachelors in Business Administration from Empire State College and a Global Masters from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

A former CEO of Fig and Olive Restaurants, The Luxury Dining Group, and Senior VP of Operations at B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group, Shaun also held senior roles with Sodexo, Choice Hotels International, and Hilton Worldwide.

In 2022, Shaun co-founded Lightwheel Advisors, an ESG Advisory firm, where he currently serves as Managing Partner. The Singapore-based company works globally and empowers boards, businesses, and leaders to drive impactful change using cutting-edge insights, vast experience, and data-driven metrics. 

As an SME themselves, Lightwheel Advisors is an active member of the community. Small businesses don’t tend to have bottomless bank accounts, and smart decisions are all the more important. Lightwheel Advisors assists SMEs with strategies and helps guide them toward the right choices to support their goals with profit and the companies' future in mind.

Lightwheel’s goal is to review each company and share their extensive experience to ask the right questions and refine their decisions in support of success. Regardless of the business size, resource constraints, evolving landscapes, and fine balance sheets make reverting to innovative solutions for making the best decisions all the more crucial.

Shaun believes wholeheartedly that there is no shortcut to success, and working hard on the P&L and identifying opportunities are key. He stresses that successful businesses have put in the time to learn, grow, and invest in the future without looking for a 'hack'.

While there is a possibility that a business can explode in growth, this isn’t the norm but rather a bonus. Lightwheel Advisors already had immediate business when Shaun launched the company in 2022. However, they wanted to ensure they still had the time to help Singaporean small companies to reach their goals and potential.

So, when Shaun met the IAP team and some of its existing advisors, he sought to be part of their extended team to share his knowledge and expertise in the hopes of giving back to the community with a focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance Advisory work. He is excited to share learnings from his decades of experience with strong founders of start-ups in the Singapore business community to help them succeed and flourish.