For more than a decade, the Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) has been shaping new possibilities for businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through reinventions, keeping ahead with market trends while staying on the pulse of consumer behaviour and wider economic conditions.
Star Media Group (SMG), together with its SOBA partners, once again reaffirmed their commitment in shaping new possibilities for SMEs to further their growth and solidify their position in the industry, at the launch of SOBA 2023.
Themed “Shaping New Possibilities”, the 14th edition of SOBA is an ode to the journey it has taken, which started out as recognising and honouring SMEs for being outstanding in their respective fields.
Today, SOBA serves as a platform for like-minded entrepreneurs and organisations to support and inspire each other, share knowledge and network.
At the launch held at Menara Star, SMG chief executive officer Alex Yeow stressed that local enterprises play a vital role in the local economy, and the pandemic as well as current economic climate have shown how adaptive they are to changes, continuously innovating and constantly breaking barriers to success.
“It is more important now than ever to recognise the resilience, innovation and determination that SMEs have shown,” said Yeow.
Joining Yeow at the launch were SMG chief business officer Lydia Wang and chief content officer Esther Ng.
In keeping to the theme, a new award category has been added to SOBA 2023 – the SOBA MIKRO Recognition Award which aims to recognise the potential of micro SMEs (MSMEs) for business growth in the market while contributing to the nation’s economy.
Plus, a networking and knowledge-sharing event called SOBA Connect will be held exclusively for SOBA Biz Club members, while the SOBA CEO PowerTalk is another new feature where leading business figures will offer valuable insights, best practices and strategies to participants.
Also present at the launch were representatives from Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) – SOBA’s official trade promotion partner, and main sponsors CelcomDigi Bhd, Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia Bhd (CGC), PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd.
Matrade strategic planning division senior director Raja Badrulnizam Raja Kamalzaman said it is very proud to have been working with Star Media Group and SOBA in giving recognition to companies who have done well.
“This year’s theme aptly aligns with Matrade’s mission in facilitating exporters to go abroad. We are keen to help more exporters by preparing them for new challenges and to embrace new and emerging possibilities the global market presents.”
CelcomDigi chief enterprise business officer Afizulazha Abdullah strongly believes that the awards promotes good competition, and is a positive reinforcement for businesses to keep learning and never resting on their laurels.
“Awards like SOBA give us a great opportunity to learn from all the achievers. We can reflect on what could have done better as a business.”
As a sponsor of SOBA for nine years in a row now, CGC chief business officer Sean Tan shared that being part of it, including 2023’s edition, is very much in line with CGC’s vision to be an effective financial institution dedicated to promoting the growth and development of MSMEs.
“We will continue to support SOBA. We need to appreciate and recognise the effort put in by MSMEs in Malaysia in contributing, supporting and sustaining our economy,” he said, adding that there are many groundbreaking initiatives that CGC has planned for them.
On the importance of companies participating in the awards to evaluate and expand their industry standing, PKT Logistics group chief executive and managing director Datuk Seri Michael Tio said awards like SOBA will allow them to be relevant.
“Businesses need to have good branding if they want to amp up their competitiveness, and be on the same level playing field with their competitors. So take part, win and get some branding that can help scale your business.”
Echoing Tio, RHB SME Banking head Yip How Nang believes that “while performance is relative, businesses need a platform to measure themselves against their peers, as well as an avenue to exchange notes and share experiences.”
He added that SOBA is the gold standard of business awards, providing recognition with prestige and credentials.
SOBA is open to locally incorporated enterprises that are not part of a multinational or listed company, with foreign equity not exceeding 50%.
Subsidiaries of listed companies are eligible to participate. The deadline for entries is Nov 10, 2023.
There will be two tiers of awards based on company turnover – “Up to RM25mil turnover” and “RM25mil and above turnover”.
SOBA 2023 is organised by SMG with CelcomDigi, CGC, PKT Logistics and RHB as the main sponsors, and Matrade as the official trade promotion partner.
Supported by Bursa Malaysia, SOBA is audited by BDO while radio stations 988 and Suria are official media partners.
To participate in SOBA 2023 or for more information, call SMG Events at 017-2311789 or visit www.soba.com.my