SMALL- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have proven themselves to be rather resilient in the current economic times. Most have found a way to rise above the various challenges they’ve come across.
The seventh Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA 2016), which took place last Tuesday, recognises such achievements among Malaysian small businesses.
Companies that have performed exceptionally despite the challenging circumstances were rewarded for their hard work and perseverance.
And the two big winners at SOBA 2016, Maxvue Vision Sdn Bhd and Mega Fortris (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, have indeed demonstrated such qualities.
Maxvue, which deals with branded cosmetic contact lenses, took home the Malaysian Business of the Year award for the up to RM25mil revenue category while Mega Fortris, a security seals manufacturer, won that coveted title in the above RM25mil category.
“The establishment of SOBA in 2010 was to promote business excellence and stimulate positive competition whilst showcasing the achievements attained by outstanding businesses.
“The strategy continued to focus on the development of high performing and resilient SMEs by capacity building, to recognise the role and contributions of outstanding businesses towards the nation and the economy, to encourage local enterprises to continue developing and elevating their businesses and to celebrate and highlight the achievements of local enterprises that have contributed to the growth of the country,” says Star Media Group Bhd group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai.
Wong encouraged SMEs to reposition their business strategies, find new markets, reengineer their processes and raise the level of value creation to grow their businesses amidst the more challenging economic environment.
This, he emphasises, will require shifting resources to new areas of competitive advantage.
“In striving towards long-term competitiveness, an aptitude for hard work, prudent business practices, agility to adapt to changing conditions, perseverance and entrepreneurial skills and the ability for reinvention are qualities that will enable SMEs to ride through the near-term challenges and allow them to grow and enhance their contribution to our economy,” he adds.
Wong hopes SOBA will continue to encourage homegrown business owners to soar beyond the usual boundaries, and inspire and encourage local businesses to use their inherent flexibility and agility to create new products and reorient their businesses for the global arena.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who was also the guest-of-honour for the night, adds that globally competitive SMEs, which are led innovatively and are productivity-driven, provide the key to the growth of the nation’s innovation and technology, human capital development, finance and market access, as well as the well-being of the community and society at large.
“As a catalyst, they provide the entrepreneurial vibrancy and vitality which drives economic activity across different industries.
“Believe me when I say your contribution plays an important role to the progress and development of Malaysia as a high income nation and as a strong contender in the global economy,” says Liow.
The win came as a pleasant surprise for Maxvue and Mega Fortris.
“We are here today because of 12 years of hard work and right now, it feels like all our hard work has paid off,” says an elated Selvam Kanniah, Maxvue’s chief executive officer.
It is the company’s first time participating in SOBA.
Mega Fortris group chief executive officer Adrian Ng, likewise, notes his team’s efforts in building the company over the last 20 years.
“It has been a journey of 20 years for us to get here and we will continue to strive forward to become number one in the world. My advice to young entrepreneurs is to continuously work and if you fall down, get up and start again. That is what I did,” says Ng, who also won the Male Entrepreneur of the Year in the above RM25mil category.
The other Outstanding Achievement winners are MK Wedding Sdn Bhd founder and group managing director Datuk Calvin Khiu who took home the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the above RM25mil category.
Other Outstanding Achievement winners in the up to RM25mil category were Acestar Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Natalie Sit (Female Entrepreneur of the Year) and Sunship (M) Sdn Bhd managing director Low Pooi Choon.
ExcelVite Sdn Bhd’s chief executive officer Leong WH took home the Rising Star award.
Apart from the coveted SOBA 2016 trophy, all the winners also won the AmBank SME Special Package & AmBank Signature Priority Banking Membership.
In addition, the Malaysian Business of the Year winners took home a special 24k gold-plated art frame from SOBA 2016 main sponsor, AmBank Group.
The Rising Star winner also received a cash sponsorship of RM10,000 from SOBA 2016 co-sponsor Credit Guarantee Corp.
SOBA, which honours up-and-coming local, non-listed companies and SMEs, is open to all local enterprises that are not part of a multinational or listed group, and incorporated in Malaysia with foreign equity not exceeding 50%.
For SOBA 2016, the awards were sub-divided into two broad categories — one for enterprises with a turnover of more than RM25mil and the other for those that have generated less than RM25mil per annum — to recognise the achievements of upcoming small businesses as well as more established SMEs.
SOBA has seven “Top-Of-The-Class” awards, namely, Best in Marketing, Best Brand, Best in CSR, Best Green Initiative, Best Employer, Best Innovation and Best Global Market, as well as three “Outstanding Achievement” awards, which are Rising Star, Entrepreneur of the Year (Male/Female/Young) and Malaysian Business of the Year.
SOBA 2016 is organised by Star Media Group with AmBank as its main sponsor. The awards is co-sponsored by BMW Malaysia, Credit Guarantee Corp and Matrade with Connexion Conference and Event Centre as the official venue sponsor.
It is endorsed by the Secretariat for the Advancement of Malaysian Entrepreneurs, supported by Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO with 988 and Suria FM as the official radio stations.
For more information on SOBA 2016, call The Star Events Business Unit at 03-7967 1388 ext 1240 (Melissa)/ 1657 (Victor) or visit www.soba.com.my.