Recognising hard-earned successes


PETALING JAYA: Decked out in their finest suits and glamorous gowns, attendees to the Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2020 were dressed to impress. But their business achievements were the real scene stealers that night.

SOBA, which entered its 11th edition last year, recognised and celebrated small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and local non-listed companies on March 17. The awards were given out in two tiers – those with turnover of up to RM25mil and above RM25mil.

The event, which took place at One World Hotel, was a resounding success while strictly adhering to the Covid-19 standard operating procedure that was in place.

Providing necessary value: Azmin (fourth from left) says enriching awards such as SOBA allows companies to comprehensively evaluate their businesses. He is seen here with (from left) Zamree, Mohd Mustafa, Jeffrey, Esther, Mohd Aminuddin, Teh, Tio, Yeow and Wang. - SAMUEL ONG, IZZRAFIQ ALIAS, FAIHAN GHANI and KAMARUL ARIFFIN/The StarProviding necessary value: Azmin (fourth from left) says enriching awards such as SOBA allows companies to comprehensively evaluate their businesses. He is seen here with (from left) Zamree, Mohd Mustafa, Jeffrey, Esther, Mohd Aminuddin, Teh, Tio, Yeow and Wang. - SAMUEL ONG, IZZRAFIQ ALIAS, FAIHAN GHANI and KAMARUL ARIFFIN/The Star

Gracing the Gala Night were International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, alongside Star Media Group Bhd (SMG) director Datuk Dr Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Rouse, group chief executive officer Alex Yeow, chief content officer Esther Ng and chief business officer Lydia Wang.

Azmin thanked SMG for creating a platform to celebrate accomplishments of local businesses in their pursuit of innovation, creativity and productivity.

“A camaraderie such as this will enable our companies to be well-positioned to grow, become more competitive and capable in meeting future challenges, ” he said.

Yeow said SOBA had been instrumental in the growth of many local industry players, some of which had gone on to explore foreign markets, raising the benchmark for quality product and service delivery.

Strong motivation: Chong (middle), receiving his award from Azmin (right) as Mohd Aminuddin looks on, says his team is motivated to do better.Strong motivation: Chong (middle), receiving his award from Azmin (right) as Mohd Aminuddin looks on, says his team is motivated to do better.

“As a media organisation, we realise there is much we could do to uplift the small and medium enterprises. Through SOBA, we hope to promote excellence by recognising and celebrating their hard-earned successes.

“Throughout the past 10 years, SOBA has received thousands of submissions across industries and disciplines. More than 300 SMEs have since been crowned with the Top-Of-The-Class Awards and several of our past winners have grown to be public listed companies, ” he added.

Among these are organisations such as MyNews Holdings Bhd, Serba Dinamik Bhd and Securemetric Bhd.

At the event, Senheng Electric (KL) Sdn Bhd emerged as the biggest winner, clinching 10 trophies including the coveted Malaysian Business of the Year for the above RM25mil category. Its group chairman Lim Kim Heng also took home the Male Entrepreneur of the Year award for the same tier.

“Over the last 30 years, Senheng has transformed six times. And we have embarked on new seamless retail solutions, which has helped transform our business model, ” said Lim.

Proud partner: Mohd Mustafa (second from left), pictured with his team, says that as the national promotion agency of Malaysia, Matrade is proud to be a part of SOBA as a witness to the achievements of participating Malaysian companies, especially homegrown companies, in successfully entering international markets.Proud partner: Mohd Mustafa (second from left), pictured with his team, says that as the national promotion agency of Malaysia, Matrade is proud to be a part of SOBA as a witness to the achievements of participating Malaysian companies, especially homegrown companies, in successfully entering international markets.

Meanwhile, Klinik Dr Chong Sdn Bhd won the Malaysian Business of the Year in the up to RM25mil category, in addition to two gold and one silver awards.

Its founder and director Dr Chong Tze Sheng also received Meritorious Achievement for Male Entrepreneur of the Year.

“It is time for us, as entrepreneurs, to not only have profits but also contribute back to society, ” Chong said of his win.

DOREMi Services & Rental Sdn Bhd chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director Lim Ee Huang, who took home the Female Entrepreneur of the Year award in the up to RM25mil category, noted that there is increasing acknowledgment for women in the business field.

“In my father’s time, you wouldn’t see women standing up to get an award. Usually it would be the husbands, but there are more female entrepreneurs nowadays. The society is getting used to seeing us, women, as entrepreneurs, ” she said.

SOBA 2020 also saw the introduction of two new categories, namely Best in Retail and Best in Customer Service.

Celebrating their milestones: Empire Sushi Group Sdn Bhd CEO Nicole Lim (fourth from left) urges SMEs to participate in the award to know where they stand in the industry. She is seen here with other SOBA winners.Celebrating their milestones: Empire Sushi Group Sdn Bhd CEO Nicole Lim (fourth from left) urges SMEs to participate in the award to know where they stand in the industry. She is seen here with other SOBA winners.

Encouraging enthusiasm: Pictured with the RHB team during the SOBA 2020 Gala Night, Jeffrey (second from right) says that taking into account the uncertainty over the past year, it is great seeing the enthusiasm of local non-listed companies actively participating in SOBA. He added that the bank, which has been a SOBA sponsor for several consecutive years, is happy as an organisation to continue supporting the annual prestigious business awards programme.

Since its inception in 2010, SOBA has given awards to more than 300 deserving companies that have demonstrated business excellence in their fields.

The prestigious night was also attended by Digi chief business officer Eugene Teh, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd group chief executive and managing director Datuk Michael Tio, RHB Bank Bhd group business and transaction banking head Jeffrey Ng, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) CEO Mohd Mustafa Abdul Aziz, as well as Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia Bhd (CGC) president and CEO Datuk Mohd Zamree Mohd Ishak.

SOBA 2020 is organised by Star Media Group with Digi, PKT Logistics Group and RHB as main sponsors, CGC as co-sponsor and Matrade as official trade promotion partner. It is endorsed by Miti, supported by Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO, with dimsum, 988 and Suria as official media partners.

More Design Group Sdn Bhd won the Platinum prize for Best in Retail in the up to RM25mil category. Its CEO Frank Wong (second from left) is happy to take home the trophy as a first-time participant in SOBA. He is seen here with (from left) Ezzybucks Sdn Bhd CEO, Yeow and Illegear Sdn Bhd managing director Chin Jiun How.More Design Group Sdn Bhd won the Platinum prize for Best in Retail in the up to RM25mil category. Its CEO Frank Wong (second from left) is happy to take home the trophy as a first-time participant in SOBA. He is seen here with (from left) Ezzybucks Sdn Bhd CEO, Yeow and Illegear Sdn Bhd managing director Chin Jiun How.

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