Helping to build SMEs’ resilience

Fruitful get-together: (Front row, from left) Lim, Ng, Ko, Ahmad Yazid, Star Media Group Client Brand Marketing senior general manager Sharon Lee, DPMM executive director Osmirizan Melan and RHB Bank, Head Business Development manager Danny Koo Kim Choy with other participants at the SOBA Association Hosting in Petaling Jaya. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: It was an evening of extensive knowledge sharing and networking opportunities as business chambers and entrepreneurs gathered to discuss business prospects and explore the way forward as the Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) staged the first SOBA Association Hosting for this year.

Held at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya, the two-hour long evening session on Sept 15 was attended by representatives from the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (DPMM) and Junior Chamber International (JCI) Malaysia.

Themed “Business Leadership Talk and Networking”, the event had a talk that provided an avenue for various small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to mingle with one another while looking into possibilities of business developments and expansion.

Guests, too, were decked in traditional Malaysian costumes to accommodate the dress code for the event.

Also present at the gathering were SOBA sponsors Credit Guarantee Corporation Berhad (CGC), PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd, CelcomDigi Berhad, RHB Bank Berhad and official trade promotion partner Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade).

In her opening remarks, Star Media Group (SMG) events senior general manager Jamie Ng said the event was an exclusive one aiming to provide members with the opportunity to network and socialise with fellow hosts, sponsors and business partners.

“It provides peer-to-peer networking opportunities in knowledge sharing and experiences to enhance your organisation.

“Beyond trying to be an awards programme, SOBA has always been about fostering a community consisting of high calibre leaders, willing to share their expertise to uplift one another,” she said.

DPMM secretary-general Ahmad Yazid Othman said the event was a special occasion for the chambers to maintain and reaffirm business networks among one another.

“As we know, Malaysia has expressed its readiness to support all international efforts aimed at stabilising the nation’s economy.

“There are economic challenges all over the world, be it external or internal, but as usual Malaysia will be able to show and prove to the world that we will be fine and prosper together,” he said.

Ahmad Yazid described a rapidly changing global landscape and a shift away from the pace that could slow down the economic development of the nation.

“We must remain steadfast, committed and have the belief that we are meant for greatness together,” he added.

JCI Malaysia National Partnership Commission chairman Ken Lim said they were excited about the possibilities that lay ahead and looked forward to build a stronger collaboration with its partners.

“Together, we aim to create a sustainable ecosystem that not only benefits our organisation but also leaves a positive mark on society,” he said.

Plus Xnergy Holding Sdn Bhd co-founder and group chief executive officer Ko Chuan Zhen said entrepreneurs in the current landscape had to build sustainable businesses.

“It should be something that can be built to last. When we talk about sustainability today, it’s not just about going green, but also how to build a sustainable business model, working environment and business solutions.

“Sustainability is a key for entrepreneurs to have in mind as it’s the only way to run a business in the long term while benefiting employees, clients and communities,” he said.

A business, Ko said, should also focus on the fundamentals such as professionalism in services, the quality of products, customer satisfaction and employee skill sets, culture and behaviour.

“This is what’s needed to build a solid business.

“Many today may want to aim big and look good but somehow when we pursue those things and neglect the fundamentals, it will be difficult for the business to last,” said Ko who is a previous SOBA winner in the Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2019, Most Promising Business Award 2017 and Grand Winner of Rising Star 2015.

Plus Xnergy is a clean energy solutionist focused on the future, and towards redefining a cleaner and smarter new energy landscape.

SOBA 2023 is organised by SMG with CGC, PKT Logistics, CelcomDigi and RHB Bank as main sponsors, with Matrade as the official trade promotion partner.

Supported by Bursa Malaysia. SOBA is audited by BDO while radio stations 988 and Suria are official media partners.

To take part in SOBA 2023, or for more information, call SOBA Hotline (017-2311789) or go to

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