PETALING JAYA: Participation in this year’s Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) has more than doubled from the previous year, with almost 150% increase in bumiputra submissions. Submissions from women entrepreneurs also saw a significant rise in SOBA 2021.
“There was a wide spectrum of candidates who had different perspectives, industries and backgrounds,” said Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia treasurer and Small and Medium Enterprises Committee chairman Koong Lin Loong.
Many entrepreneurs, he added, excelled in bringing up their companies in terms of achieving a success story.
Lauding the diversity of the submissions, he pointed out that there has been much more participation from women entrepreneurs this year, as compared to previous years.
“What’s heartening to see is that there are more women entrepreneurs participating in SOBA this year, especially because the points they articulated to demonstrate their entrepreneurship are equally as powerful and compelling as their male counterparts.
“There was no such thing as success in certain industries, products or services being confined to one gender,” he said.
That said, Koong advised entrepreneurs to place more emphasis on showing their entrepreneurial spirit and their vision for their companies, in addition to leadership.
He added, “Beyond financial results, entrepreneurs must have the right attitude, good behaviour and commitment towards what they’re doing.”
Persatuan Usahawan Maju Malaysia deputy national president Nelson Beh Chuen Hau, also noted the trend towards diversity and inclusion among smaller companies, as part of being a great employer.
“We’d expect employers to pay bonuses, financial incentives or monetary remuneration to their employees upon reaching their key performance indicators, but many have gone beyond that to reward and retain employees in different ways, such as a focus on mentorship and talent development among others,” he said.
On the other hand, he also said that he would like to see companies being more confident in their innovations by participating in the innovation category, as much as they participate in other categories.
“It’s not necessarily about being strong in financials, smaller companies are coming in to obtain recognition and benchmarking themselves through innovation – all with an eye on growth to get more business from the market. We want to see the most important aspect, which is information related to the category they are aiming for and drill deep into that,” he said.
Asean Retail-Chains and Franchise Federation president Datuk Mike Loh, on the other hand, opined that some companies did not provide sufficient information and supporting documents to supplement their submissions and did not cater their submissions to fit the requirements of specific categories.
He said, “They need to write and attach the necessary supporting documentation to ensure that the judges can get a clear picture of the companies, such as attaching photos of their window designs or showrooms for the retail or franchise categories. More is required for the paper submission, not just the write-up, which also has to be more substantial.”
He advised companies to put in more effort to compile their submissions, which will help them to regroup on their past and current projects and initiatives. This clarity can in turn pave the way for a solid path forward.
In addition, the language used in the documentation should be simple and easy to understand, while the presentation should capture the judges’ attention and inspire them.
SOBA 2021 is organised by SMG with CGC, Maxis, PKT Logistics Group and RHB as main sponsors and Matrade as official trade promotion partner.
Supported by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and Bursa Malaysia, it is audited by BDO with 988 and Suria as official media partners.
For more information on SOBA 2021 and the SOBA 2021 Gala Night, call SMG Events at 017-231 1789 or visit www.soba.com.my.