PETALING JAYA: The Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) this year has been refined to recognise and reward the bigger and smaller enterprises.
For the first time, it will have two broad categories – one for enterprises with a turnover of more than RM25mil and the other for those that have generated less than RM25mil per annum.
Now entering its seventh year, SOBA recognises all small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the start-ups to the big boys that have made a difference to the nation’s economy and opened new frontiers.
Towards this end, International Trade and Industry Minister II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan lauded potential SOBA participants whom he described as true champions of the economy looking to move beyond their comfort zones.
He said the Government was committed to the development of SMEs in the country.
“A point to highlight is that SMEs have consistently outperformed the overall growth in the economy since 2004. The SME contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) has increased from around 32% in 2010 to 34% in 2014.
“They are indeed the true champions of our economy,” he said at the launch of SOBA 2016.
Ong said SMEs would stand to benefit from trade pacts such as the Asean Economic Community (AEC), the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
On the AEC, he said that as its implementation gathered pace, it was expected to double the current GDP to US$4.7 trillion by 2020.
As for the TPPA, Ong said after its implementation, Malaysian businesses would have preferential access to markets such as the United States, Canada, Mexico and Peru.
“Not only will import duties be eliminated, but the import cost on raw materials will also be reduced,” said Ong.
The RCEP, meanwhile, is a trade pact involving Asean and its six dialogue partners which are China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. It is slated to be concluded by the year-end.
Star Media Group Bhd group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai said the expansion of the sub-categories was intended to recognise the achievements of the smaller companies and start-ups as well as the more established SMEs.
“At its core, SOBA recognises the important role local businesses play towards the economic development of our nation in whichever space of the revenue spectrum that they occupy.
“We continue to hope that more enterprises and entrepreneurs will see SOBA as a way to evaluate themselves, as well as to benchmark against their competitors and others in similar industries,” he said at the launch yesterday.
SOBA 2016 is organised by The Star with AmBank as the main sponsor, BMW Malaysia, Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia Bhd and the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp as co-sponsors, and Connexion Conference and Event Centre as the official venue sponsor for this year’s event.
It is endorsed by the Secretariat for the Advancement of Malaysian Entrepreneurs, supported by Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO, with 988 and Suria FM as the official radio stations.
SOBA is open to all local enterprises that are not part of a multinational group or listed group, incorporated in Malaysia with foreign equity not exceeding 50%. The deadline for entries is Oct 14.
For more information on SOBA 2016, call The Star Events Business Unit at 03-7967 1388 ext 1240 (Melissa)/1657 (Victor) or visit www.soba.com.my.
For details and pictures of the launch, see the SMEBiz pullout on Monday and StarMetro Central on Tuesday.
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