That was why about 200 participants gave their thumbs-up to The Star Outstanding Business Awards 2018 (SOBA) Lab workshop.
It was evident that the participants were inspired and their passion ignited by the three panellists in a discussion entitled “Technology – the Engine of Change”, during the workshop held at Puteri Pacific Hotel Johor.
Participants also gained tips and insights into how to expand their business, secure loans and stay relevant in the ever-changing business world.
The three panellists were Digi corporate and SME (business division) head Allie Tan, RHB Bank Bhd group transaction banking head Chung Chee Kai and PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd chief operating officer P’ng Tean Hau.
The speakers were Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Bhd (CGC) vice-president, SME advisory and marketing Jenny Ho and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) southern region director Raphy Radzi.
Other speakers at the SOBA Lab were The Holstein Milk Company Sdn Bhd (Farm Fresh) managing director Loi Tuan Ee, Seri Austin chief executive officer, UMLand Townships group director Wong Kuen Kong and Proguard Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Datuk Lee Ngai Mun, as well as chief executive officer and chief finance officer Datin Cindy Choh.
Biz Group of Companies managing director Dr Sri Ganesh Michiel said he had been a staunch supporter of the SOBA Lab workshop in Johor since 2012.
“Every SOBA workshop that I attended gave me different perspectives in business,’’ he said.
Dr Ganesh said it was good that the workshops focused on different themes and subjects so that participants could cover a wider scope.
BG Safety Solution Sdn Bhd director Ng Chen Yee and sales and marketing manager Hugo Tan were first-timers at the workshop.
They commented that SOBA Lab was informative and insightful, adding that the knowledge they gained could be applied in their day-to-day business operations.
“It was an eye-opener and gave me a great opportunity to meet up with other entrepreneurs to exchange ideas, experience and knowledge,” said Ng.
Another first-time participant was Agarwood Global Venture proprietor Hazian Saleh who learned about the workshop from her friends.
“The session by Matrade was helpful as we are looking at exporting to Middle East countries where demand for agarwood products is good,” she said.
Hazian said exporting products was not an easy task as competition was stiff in the international market, but it could be done with assistance from the relevant government agencies.
In his talk, Wong said house buyers look for quality products and prompt delivery for residential or commercial properties.
“They are also looking for good infrastructure and we, at UMLand, always do our best to fulfil the needs of our buyers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Loi advised participants to conduct an in-depth study and identify what types of business they wanted to venture into first to avoid failure.
“I’ve decided to enter the food-based business which is recession-proof, and with good returns,” he said.
Lee, in his talk, shared that branding and marketing were both important.
“We could learn a thing or two from global brands which have been around for more than a century, as the brands will keep the companies going,” he said.