Past SOBA winners feted at networking event

Yeow (third from left) and chief business officer Lydia Wang (third from right) with SOBA 2023 sponsors and partners (from left to right) RHB Bank Berhad SME business development head Kelvin Chin Wen Jye, Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Berhad chief business officer Sean Tan, Matrade deputy chief executive officer Abu Bakar Yusof, Tony and Lim at the event. — Photos: GLENN GUAN and FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

THE Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) Prestige, a networking event held to celebrate SOBA alumni, attracted 100 guests comprising past winners from 2010 to 2022, SOBA 2023 judges and sponsors.

The event, held at The Colony in Star Boulevard KLCC, was a warm up to the gala night to be held at five-star hotel this month.

Adding an air of intrigue was a masquerade theme which saw guests donning masks while Hernan Corporation Sdn Bhd founder and chief executive officer Datuk Anna Teo appeared as the mystery guest.

Guests having a discussion at the PKT Logistics Group’s booth.Guests having a discussion at the PKT Logistics Group’s booth.

YMWOO Corporation Sdn Bhd executive director Stanley Woo won a contest to guess Teo’s identity, winning an exclusive invite to SOBA 2023 gala night and a special prize of RM1,000 worth of durian.

To help break the ice and spark engaging discussions at the event, conversation cards were placed on the tables.

Picking one such card, Colony Space Asia Sdn Bhd brands and partnerships division’s Justin Lim said he preferred to grow steadily instead of scaling up quickly.

A chance to network over drinks at the SOBA Prestige event.A chance to network over drinks at the SOBA Prestige event.

“This will enable me to set up strong foundations. Some examples of well-known companies who have chosen this path are Apple and Amazon,” said Lim.

The glamorous event offered an atmosphere cosy enough for networking and conversation.

D&D Control corporate communications executive Adilla Yunos said, “It’s so different from the other events I’ve attended. The music is not too loud, making it ideal for conversations.”

D&D received the Best Innovation award for 2022, a source of pride for Adilla.

Wang (third right), Sean (third left), and the Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Berhad team taking up the masquerade theme.Wang (third right), Sean (third left), and the Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Berhad team taking up the masquerade theme.

“The award was a significant milestone for us. The recognition not only helped us to garner trust from customers and the market but also served as motivation for employees.

“We would replay the award ceremony video for motivational purposes,” she added.

During the event, Craftiviti Sdn Bhd co-founders and directors Leong Wei Yein and Eugene Tham asked Star Media Group Bhd former group chief executive officer Alex Yeow on his thoughts on improving their DIY craft kits and essential oil business.

Guests mingling at the RHB and CelcomDigi booths.Guests mingling at the RHB and CelcomDigi booths.

Yeow suggested integrating their products or services into people’s daily routines.

“When a niche product or service becomes an essential part of consumers’ lives, it no longer remains confined to a niche market. Then that will be your real moneymaker,” said Yeow.

CelcomDigi’s SME planning and channel development head Tony Tan, representing one of SOBA’s sponsors, appreciated the effort made to facilitate the flow of conversation.

“This is a good platform for businesses to exchange experiences and leverage on each other’s strengths,” he said.

Malaysia Entrepreneurs’ Development Association (PUMM) vice-president Arlene Tan, the chief judge of SOBA 2023, said the judging process was stringent and required extensive paperwork to ensure the highest standard.

Another judge, Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) vice-president Thirunaukarasu Muthayam, said SOBA selected the best among the best.

Widely recognised within the local business community, SOBA celebrates Malaysian businesses’ economic contributions, evaluating them on operational efficiency, adaptability, profitability and environmental impact.

SOBA 2023 is organised by Star Media Group with CelcomDigi Bhd, Credit Guarantee Corporation 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 visit

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