SOBA judges face daunting task to pick winners

SOBA 2023 Prestige event at Colony @ Star Boulevard KLCC, Kuala Lumpur. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Judges of the Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2023 believe this years’ awards encompasses high-quality entrepreneurs, making it increasingly challenging in selecting their top winners for the year.

Among the panel judges include Malaysia Entrepreneurs’ Development Association (Persatuan Usahawan Maju Malaysia) vice-president Arlene Tan Eng Guat, Malaysian Digital Association council member Pranav Jha and Dewan Perniagaan Melayu Malaysia of Melaka branch vice-president Farosham Naizamohideen, among others.

Tan told StarBiz the participants for this years’ SOBA awards are of the highest calibre and had extensive knowledge of their respective industries.

Apart from their intense involvement and investment in their own company’s, she also noted that the majority of participants genuinely care about the growth of their company, particularly with regard to the welfare and development of their employees.

Meanwhile, Pranav believes the participants for SOBA 2023 awards have a bright future waiting for them.

“The kind of entries we have and one common theme that I saw was that they were so passionate about their business and that really clicked with me. They were all talking about how they want to grow their business. They might be small today but they are stars for tomorrow,” he said.

Similar to Tan, Farosham believes this years’ contestants are unique, which makes it very difficult to select the best contender, especially as each contestant has unique skills and advantages.

He said that lady entrepreneurs had really taken the shine for this years’ award.

“We really cannot underestimate the capabilities of these lady entrepreneurs, because seeing how they place more emphasis on rewarding their employees as well as expanding their business is extremely impressive in my opinion.

“Now we cannot stay with the mindset saying that ladies aren’t strong and capable, because they have always been capable when doing things in business,” he said during the SOBA Prestige event on Tuesday.

He continued by saying that ever since Covid-19, businesses have had to become incredibly inventive and adaptive since they were compelled to do so in response to the significant changes the world had to undergo.

Judges have decided on the winners for each category for the SOBA 2023 awards, in which all winners will be announced at the SOBA 2023 Gala Night happening this coming March 7, 2024.

The Elite Entrepreneur of the Year award and the Malaysian Business of the Year (MBOTY) award, which are presented in two distinct sales turnover tiers - one up to RM25mil and the other RM25mil and above – will be the highlights of the evening.

The MBOTY award is the highest honour in SOBA.

A wide range of factors will be taken into consideration, including the company’s track record, financial stability and accomplishments, managerial styles, unique selling point, and more increasingly, its environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.

One of the SOBA 2023 sponsors, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd, believes that the awards continues to provide value to all its participants, including its sponsors, through its networking opportunities where mutual sharing and support can continue.

PKT chief revenue officer Kuan Eu Jin said the SOBA Prestige event serves the same impact, where all participants continue to learn from each other albeit in a more casual setting.

“This includes exchanging and learning their respective entrepreneurial journeys and the unique ways each one does branding, corporate social responsibility, customer service, ESG, marketing, information and communication technology (ICT) and many others.

“There is always something we can learn from each other,” he said.

On the other hand, SOBA Prestige partner and host Colony Space Asia Sdn Bhd stated that by hosting the SOBA Prestige event, it opens a door for great opportunity for the group to provide a space for everyone to gather.

According to Colony Space chief executive officer Timothy Tiah, it not only enables individuals to form new relationships but also discover novel means of advancing their mutual well-being.

He went on to say that entrepreneurs can get visibility and access to a network of other successful members through events like SOBA Prestige.

“It’s important for brands to get recognition for their important milestones, and they should be proud of it. All of this just fuels further growth for everyone and it’s a win-win situation,” he said

SOBA 2023 is organised by Star Media Group with CelcomDigi Bhd, Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia Bhd, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd as main sponsors, and Matrade as the official trade promotion partner.

Supported by Bursa Malaysia, SOBA is audited by BDO, while radio station 988 and Suria are official media partners.

To learn more about SOBA, call SMG Events (017-231 1789) or go to

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