PETALING JAYA: The Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2011 is drawing to a close with the judging process entering the final stage yesterday.
Nine judges, of which three were chief judges, shortlisted the top five applicants for each category. The top three ranked from each category are potential winners for the platinum, gold and silver awards.
The winners would be announced at the upcoming awards ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.
The categories for the awards include Technology and ICT, Outstanding Malaysian Brand, Innovation, Community, Environment, Best Employer, Global Market, Rising Star, Best Use of Media and Entrepreneur of the Year.
For the Business of the Year Award, it was decided by the chief judges based on the overall ratings. The chief judges are the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia secretary-general Datuk Syed Hussien Al-Habshee, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers young entrepreneurs adviser Datuk Mizanur Rahman Ghani and SMI Association of Malaysia national president Chua Tiam Wee.
The initial judging process was completed on Sept 7 with 115 entries from 82 companies comprising locals as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Mizanur said the quality of the entries were of high standard, for example, in the best employer award category, many SMEs were giving greater emphasis on people development to enhance the talent pool of their workforce.
Unlike previously, such measures were looked upon as a cost factor to the companies, he noted.
Mizanur said the entries also showed that companies were starting to give more importance to their employees' welfare so as to have a stronger staff retention.
Judges: (from left) Bursa Malaysia head, issuer, ACE Market (listing division) Hanita Othman; Exim Bank assistant vice-president, product developmet department (business division) Zulkipli Md Yunos; Dr A.T. Kumararajah; Chua Tiam Wee; Datuk Mizanur Rahman Ghani; Koong Lin Loong; Branding Association of Malaysia vice-president Datuk Yusra Sabar; Datuk Syed Hussien Al-Habshee and Media Specialists Association council member Chen Yip Fan.
Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry secretary-general (KL and Putrajaya Indian Chambers of Commerce and young entrepreneurs advisor) Dr A.T. Kumararajah said companies vying for the SOBA also showed that they were looking beyond bottom lines and deploying best practices similar to bigger companies.
They seemed to be taking heed of the phrase “If you take care of your people and customers, business will take care of itself”, he said.
Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Malaysia SMEs deputy chairman Koong Lin Loong said there was greater awareness among SMEs in the area of corporate social responsibility.
He said smaller companies were now putting in extra resources for better learning and training development programmes to improve staff productivity.
On the aspect of environment, Mizanur said SOBA entrants had shown their reliance on recycled resources for better environment protection and as a revenue stream rather than treating it as a cost to the company.
Syed Hussien said for the Technology/ICT, Outstanding Malaysian Brand and Innovation categories, all entries had complied with the criteria set by SOBA.
For example, for the Outstanding Malaysian Brand, the companies had shown that they were homegrown and had invested in building a strong Malaysian brand.
He said entrants had also shown that there was a significant development in their brand and workforce, with some companies having the potential to seek initial public offerings.
Meanwhile, Chua said companies vying for Rising Star and Entrepreneur of the Year categories had shown excellence in their respective businesses.
For the Rising Star category, participants had shown sustainable business models and profitabilities besides potential growth.
“In a short time since starting business, they have managed to capture their respective markets via innovative products and growth expansion.
“For the Entrepreneur of the Year category, there are SMEs that have persevered over the years not only in financial strength but also in leadership qualities,'' Chua noted.
He emphasised that more furniture and food-based companies should participate in SOBA due to their strong export markets and this would inspire others to follow suit.
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 would be held on Nov 1 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