The Alliance Bank-EcoWorld BizSmart Challenge, an entrepreneurial programme presented by Alliance Bank Malaysia and Eco World Development Group, is introducing an Instagram Story business pitch where participants can bring their pitch to life in video format. According to Alliance Bank and EcoWorld, this is a creative and innovative way for finalists to improve their chances of being selected in the Top 20 as part of their submission.
The list of brands and media outlets supporting this challenge are Celcom Axiata, Katchi Group, Visa Malaysia, Manulife Insurance, BFM 89.9, and Media Prima Television Networks. The BizSmart Challenge is open to all SMEs registered in Malaysia that have been in operations between one and five years, with an annual turnover of less than RM50 million. Since its inception in 2013, the BizSmart Challenge has offered business training, coaching, mentoring, networking, brand exposure, and financing to business owners. Over the years, it has received more than 1,700 submissions and empowered over 130 finalists in their entrepreneurial journey.
The mentor line-up comprises Malek Ali, founder of BFM89.9, and Ernest Kwong, head of group SME Banking at Alliance Bank. They will provide hands-on coaching to the Top 10 finalists for the reality TV business challenges, and lend perspective and guidance on the finalists’ business plans and strategies. The BizSmart Challenge judges are group CEO of Allianz Bank Joel Kornreich and chairman of EcoWorld Liew Kee Sin.
Kornreich said the challenge is a platform to help entrepreneurs grow their business further. "We are proud of the businesses we have given exposure to in the past, and look forward to extending more opportunities to other high potential SMEs this year,” he said.
“This year, we have improved the prize quantum to over RM1.5 million in cash, product sponsorships, and media coverage prizes. The reality TV business challenges will also be made accessible to more viewers via TV3. After the BizSmart Challenge has ended, we will extend up to RM5 million in collateral-free financing, and assign a dedicated SME Banking Advisory team, to help the Top 20 finalists with their entrepreneurial journey,” he added.
Meanwhile, Liew said the unique partnership in being able to meet young and determined entrepreneurs, and seeing them grow in their journey to success, has been very fulfilling. "It is also exciting to see the accelerated growth of our alumni, and we look forward to nurturing and mentoring a new batch of young SMEs achieve their full potential," Liew said.