SOBA returns for 12th year

All together now: A screenshot of the attendees of the virtual launch of Soba 2021.

PETALING JAYA: The Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2021 is back for its 12th consecutive year to showcase the nation’s best up-and-coming local, non-listed companies and small and medium enterprises striving to carve a niche for themselves in the world of business.

Star Media Group Bhd (SMG) CEO Alex Yeow said that during these uncertain times, Malaysia’s home-grown enterprises had proven that they were capable of taking challenges head-on.

“In the time of a pandemic, they have not slowed down but instead used adversity as a driving force to distinguish their businesses from their peers.

“It is with these exemplary enterprises in mind that drove Star Media Group to continue running SOBA every year to provide opportunities to deserving SMEs to benchmark their success and give them a platform to be recognised for their stellar efforts,” he said during the launch of the awards that was conducted virtually yesterday.

He said that since its inception, SOBA had highlighted more than 350 companies, with several past winners growing to become public listed.

“More than just an awards programme, SOBA aims to foster a community of thought leaders where people will be inspired to scale their ideas to a sustainable reality,” said Yeow.

A sponsorship and partnership presentation took place in conjunction with the launch to officially announce the sponsors and partners for SOBA 2021.

SOBA 2021 is organised by SMG with Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Bhd, Maxis, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd as Main Sponsors and Matrade as Official Trade Promotion Partner.

It is supported by the International Trade and Industry Ministry and Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO with 988 and Suria as Official Media Partners.

Also virtually present during the launch were SMG chief business officer Lydia Wang, SMG events general manager Corinne Chieng, and witnessed by SOBA sponsors, strategic partners and representatives from business organisations and associations.

The awards, which mark the achievements of enterprises that have made a difference to the nation’s economy by opening new frontiers, aim to inspire and steer local, non-listed companies towards greater success by promoting business excellence and stimulating positive competition.

Yeow said they would be enhancing the SOBA LAB workshops by conducting the knowledge-sharing programme in English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese in order to reach out to a broader spectrum of SMEs.

Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Bhd president and CEO Datuk Mohd Zamree Mohd Ishak said they were honoured to participate in the awards for the seventh year running.

“SOBA’s role in encouraging and recognising SMEs’ contributions towards building a stronger and more resilient economy is aligned with our mandate,” he said.

Maxis chief enterprise business officer Paul McManus said they were inspired by those who use technology and digitalisation to create meaningful outcomes for their customers.

“This lines up perfectly with our brand purpose – bringing together the best of technologies to enable people, businesses and the nation to Always Be Ahead.

“We are excited to be partnering SOBA and look forward to recognising up-and-coming personalities and organisations and their contributions to the Malaysian economy,” he said.

PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd group chief executive and managing director Datuk Michael Tio said that branding was very important for a company and that in 2010 they decided to participate in SOBA and returned the following year to win more awards.

“We have grown our business by leaps and bounds ever since then and now we are back here to sponsor SOBA because we believe with branding, you can scale your business to another level,” he said.

RHB Bank Bhd Group Business & Transaction Banking head Jeffrey Ng said they were confident that SMEs could lead the rebuilding of a strong Malaysian economy.

“SOBA can provide that great opportunity for businesses to come together, to share, learn and be nurtured by the very best in the industry,” he said.

Matrade CEO Mustafa Abdul Aziz said that SOBA played an essential role in acknowledging the achievements and contributions of SMEs to the Malaysian economy.

“We would like to encourage SMEs to participate in SOBA to gain useful insights and to tap the minds of experts in trade and ensure their presence within the export sector,” he said.

SOBA is open to locally incorporated enterprises not part of a multinational or listed company with foreign equity not exceeding 50%. Subsidiaries of listed companies are eligible to participate. The deadline for entries is Nov 12, 2021.

There will be two tiers of the award based on company turnover – “Up to RM25mil turnover” and “Above RM25mil turnover”.

Shortlisted finalists will be invited to present their submission to the panel of judges.

To participate, complete the application form online via

This year’s winners will be rewarded with advertising space worth more than RM1mil in SMG’s platform, alongside other benefits.

For more information on SOBA 2021, call The Star Events at 03-7967 1388 ext 1871 (Lily) / 1039 (Poh Ern) / 1104 (Daryl) or visit

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