ENTREPRENEURS are known for their grit. They slog through the early days, they wear almost every hat there is in the company, and they sacrifice much time and resources to build a firm that may or may not make it in the end.
Their ability to start a venture and commitment to stay the course, come what may, are certainly admirable.
But there is often little recognition for the effort that they’ve put into building a company.
When The Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) was introduced in 2010, it was hoped that there would finally be a platform to acknowledge these entrepreneurs for the hard work and commitment that they’ve put in.
Apart from that, this was also to be a platform to promote business excellence and stimulate positive competition among small businesses.
On many occasions, companies have used SOBA as a benchmark to gauge their strengths in the industry and as a guideline to look at ways to improve and innovate.
An enterprise that knows how to adjust its operational procedures to meet environmental concerns, and in the process grow its profits, will indeed have a bigger chance at thriving in the long haul.
SOBA has always endeavoured to groom entrepreneurs and small businesses for even greater success, in hopes that they will continue to grow and contribute positively, not just to the growth of the economy, but also to the wellbeing of society.
“We are looking for entrepreneurs who have really built and grown the business with their own hard work, and not those that may have strong backing,” said one of the judges, Datuk Yap Yit Leong, secretary general of the Federation of Malaysia Chinese Guilds Association.
“They build from nothing into something and still have stable revenue growth,” he said.
A solid entrepreneur, said Yap, is one who has a vision and builds towards it. He or she is also able to grow every part of the business and not profitability alone.
Yap encouraged more companies to be a part of the awards, particularly younger entrepreneurs so that they can also aspire to follow in the footsteps of successful business owners.
Even as the markets become more competitive, SMEs have demonstrated their resilience by manoeuvring through the challenging tides of the economy. Many of these small businesses are at the forefront of innovation and technological changes and have remained strong.
This, again, is a testament to the perseverance displayed by entrepreneurs.
“In business, having ups and downs are a norm. What we need to look at is the resilience of the business players. The fact that in a challenging year, the response to the awards is still very good, I think that speaks volume of the Malaysian entrepreneurship. It is really strong. They don’t surrender and they keep ploughing forward.
“Those who receive awards are real fighters and real champions of their industries,” said SOBA chief judge Datuk Eric Chong, who is also president of Branding Association of Malaysia (BAM).