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theSTAR : SOBA sees stronger participation from local firms, SMEs
Date Posted : 17 September 2011

THE Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2011, scheduled to take place on Nov 1, saw stronger participation from local companies as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) vying for various awards.

Judges involved in the adjudicating process agreed that they had to make tough decisions when shortlisting entries as many had met with the stringent criteria set by SOBA for the different categories.

For SOBA 2011, two new categories Innovation Award and Rising Star Award were added to the existing stable of awards to provide more choices for companies to compete and excel.

The other awards up for grabs are Technology and ICT, Outstanding Malaysian Brand, Innovation, Community, Environment, Best Employer, Global Market, Rising Star, Entrepreneur of the Year, Best Use of Media and Business of the Year.

Judges: Seated from left: Chua, Mizanur and Syed Hussien. Standing from left: Zulkipli Md Yunos, Dr A.T. Kumararajah, Hanita Othman, Koong Lin Loong, Datuk Yusra Sabar and Chen Yip Fan.

To provide comprehensive and fair judgement for the various categories, the judging process was carried out at the initial and final stage. The former was conducted on Sept 7 and the later on Sept 14.

The initial judging saw 115 entries from 82 companies compared with 84 entries from 66 companies last year. For the initial judging process, judges had to screen all the entries carefully to see whether it complied with the SOBA requirements.

All the nine judges at the initial as well as the final stage brought to the table experience from different business backgrounds. There were three key judges each at the initial and final stages.

The two chief judges at the initial and final judging process were SMI Association of Malaysia national president Chua Tiam Wee and National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia secretary-general Datuk Syed Hussien Al Habshee.

For the initial judging, the other key judge was Raja Datuk Abd Aziz Raja Muda Musa, vice-president of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), and the other chief judge for the final judging session was FMM's young entrepreneurs advisor Datuk Mizanur Rahman Ghani.

After the initial stage, further shortlisting was carried at the final phase for the top five applicants for each category. From there, the top three potential winners either for the platinum, gold or silver awards were determined.

The award for the Business of the Year will be decided by the chief judges based on overall ratings. Commenting on the judging process, Chua adds with more entries this year, SOBA has generated interest among SMEs and as a platform for them to expand their businesses.

He stresses that local companies which have bigger export markets should seriously consider participating in the event as it will spark interest and inspire others to do the same.

He feels many of the participants for the event have displayed quality work, for example in terms of innovation, good leadership qualities, and good financial track record, although they were relatively new start-ups.

Many of the participants according to Syed Hussien also showed that national aspiration and strong focus on home grown products was the forte of their businesses, adding that this was commendable in line with SOBA's objective, which among others, is to recognise the role and contributions of outstanding businesses towards the nation and the economy.

This move, he adds will also over time lead to stronger demand for local products and reduce dependency for foreign ones, hence benefiting the local economy.

He says there were some companies which he feels have the potential to expand their markets overseas and go public in line with SOBA's move to bring local companies to a higher level.

For example, in the Outstanding Malaysian Brand category, he says the shortlisted ones have demonstrated not only being home grown companies but also their investment and interest in building a strong Malaysian brand.

Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Malaysia SMEs deputy chairman Koong Lin Loong says SMEs, as the backbone of the Malaysian economy, were now investing in human resource judging from the entries received.

They realise that skilled and capable people are the core of a business enterprise, and this will help in productivity enhancement and staff retention.

SOBA 2011 is organised by The Star with Exim Bank as presenter and BMW Malaysia as gold sponsor. It is supported by Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO. The Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur is the official hotel partner, Bernama TV the official TV news partner, Shang Hai the official business magazine and 98.8FM the official radio station.

The SOBA 2011 Awards ceremony will be held at The Royale Chulan, Kuala Lumpur. Find out what makes the chosen few stand out from the rest. Call Star Events at 03-7967 1388 ext 1475, 1436 or 1244 for enquiries and reservations.


Source : theStar


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