Inaugural SOBA 2024 council discusses SME pain points

First meeting: (Standing from left) Dalip, Chai Ping, Teo, Viji, Selvam, Lee, Sim and PKT Logistics Group corporate affairs head and strategy executive assistant to group chief executive and managing director Corinne Cheng. (Seated from left) Tai Yong, Raja Badrulnizam, Tan, SMG events business unit general manager Joachim Soon, Chin, Tio and Loo at the event.

PETALING JAYA: The first Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2024 council meeting has welcomed its SOBA Elite Judges, SOBA 2024 sponsors, as well as newly appointed SOBA ambassadors in a roundtable discussion on what small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are facing in the increasingly changing economic environment.

Held at Menara Star on June 12, the discourse also provided some salient points for the Star Media Group (SMG), which is the organiser of the award to better understand the challenges affecting SMEs.

The council also discussed ideas to elevate the SOBA experience for businesses.

The Elite SOBA Judges at the discussion included Malaysia Entrepreneurs’ Development Association (Persatuan Usahawan Maju Malaysia) president Datuk Dr Teh Tai Yong, Branding Association of Malaysia president Datin Winnie Loo, Malaysia Retail Chain Association vice-president Datuk Vincent Choo and the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) strategic planning division senior director Raja Badrulnizam Raja Kamalzaman.

Also offering their expertise were SOBA sponsors Credit Guarantee Corp chief business officer Sean Tan and PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd group chief executive and managing director Datuk Seri Dr Michael Tio, who is also a SOBA ambassador, while RHB Bank Bhd was represented by SME business development head Kelvin Chin.Joining them were the SOBA ambassadors comprising past SOBA winners Juara Partners Sdn Bhd chief operations officer Dalip Singh, Complete Human Network chief executive officer Teh Chai Ping, Secret Recipe Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Patrick Sim, Maxvue Vision Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Selvam Kanniah and managing director Viji Ramasamy Pillai, Hernan Corporation Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Anna Teo, and Peoplelogy Development Sdn Bhd founder Allen Lee.Among the topics discussed was digitalisation, with some of the ambassadors sharing their technical experiences.

Also discussed were the importance of enterprise resource planning software that facilitates business management, how to sell products online, inculcating good communication skills and how artificial intelligence can be used to generate ideas for greater business potential.

The SMEs are also aware of the dangers of cybersecurity, scams and attacks from social media cybertroopers in a digital space.The roundtable discussion focused on how SMEs can weather economic uncertainty in the world following the Covid-19 pandemic, especially issues affecting the ringgit and rising inflation.

Businesses were advised to trim the “fat” in order to sustain themselves in a challenging economy scenario.

The roundtable also delved into the topic on how SMEs can sustain growth by becoming innovative to remain relevant in the industry.

Companies are advised to attract and maintain the right talent besides having succession planning.

They should also adopt environment, social and governance or ESG practices in their operations.

SOBA organisers have lined up relevant and exciting events that will benefit the participants of SOBA 2024 and the SME community as a whole.

SOBA 2024 is organised by SMG with CGC, PKT Logistics and RHB Bank as the main sponsors, with Matrade being the official trade promotion partner.

It is audited by BDO while radio stations 988 and Suria are official media partners.

For more information, call SMG Events (017-231 1789) or go to

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