Alliance Bank has revealed the six finalists for the SME Innovation Challenge 2014.The shortlisted candidates include, social entereprise Biji-Biji Initiative, online ticketing agent Catch That Bus, tea company Chaiwalla & Co, burger aficionados Burger Bakar Abang Burn, natural sparkling soda maker The Tapping Tapir and the fashion house EightDesigns.
The finalist will be vying for cash prizes – the Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin Entrepreneurship Award worth MYR250,000 ($74,500), first runner-up prize of MYR150,000 ($44,700) and second runner-up prize of MYR100,000 ($29,800). Alliance Bank will announce the winners of the SME Innovation Challenge on November 28.
Mircrosoft Malaysia and Telekom Malaysia are the partners for the challenge. Steve Miller, senior executive vice president and head of group business (banking) at Alliance Bank said it was difficult for the judges to narrow down the selection to the initially planned five spots from the 20 candidates, who have been competing in the challenge for the past two months.
The online polling will account for 30% of their score while 70% of the score will be based on their business plan presentation to the judges.
Meanwhile, Microsoft Malaysia has also shortlisted five finalists, who will be offered mentoring by the company. They are, GoGet.my, Storehub.com, MauKerja.my, Catch That Bus and Dou Food & Beverage. One of them will be awarded the Technology Award ($29,800) cash prize by Microsoft Malaysia.
This year’s challenge, launched in July 2014 in conjunction with the Young Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Kuala Lumpur, attracted over 450 business submissions from across the nation from a diverse range of sectors. The challenge, in its second year running, is an extension of Alliance Bank’s BizSmart Academy for SMEs.
The 20 businesses were selected to undergo structured business coaching and had the opportunity to engage with well-known entrepreneurs the likes of Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin of EcoWorld Development, and Ameer Ali Mydin of Mydin at the CEO Chatroom series.
The voting for the six finalist is on at http://voting.bizsmart.com.my/