10 December 2019

Alliance Bank-EcoWorld BizSmart® Challenge Returns to Help Young Businesses Grow

Press Release
10 December 2019

Alliance Bank-EcoWorld BizSmart® Challenge Returns to Help Young Businesses Grow

Press Release

Sixth season of the entrepreneurial programme offers unmatched opportunities

BizSmart® Challenge Highlights
  • Sixth season of BizSmart® Challenge
    • Received over 1,700 submissions since 2013
    • Awarded more than RM4 million in cash, product sponsorship and media coverage prizes
  • Second year on TV; first time on free-to-air channel (TV3)
  • More than RM1.5 million cash, prize sponsorship and media coverage prizes
  • Opportunity for up to RM5 million collateral-free financing for Top 20 finalists
  • Hands-on coaching and mentoring from experienced business leaders during the BizSmart® Challenge, and dedicated SME Banking Advisory team post programme
  • Innovative Instagram Story Business Pitch this year

Kuala Lumpur, 10 December 2019 - The Alliance Bank-EcoWorld BizSmart® Challenge (the “BizSmart® Challenge”), an entrepreneurial programme presented by Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad (“Alliance Bank”) and Eco World Development Group Berhad (“Eco World”), returns for the sixth season to help business owners take their business further.

Since its inception in 2013, the BizSmart® Challenge has provided business training, coaching, mentoring, networking, brand exposure, and financing to business owners. Over the years, it has received over 1,700 submissions and empowered over 130 finalists in their entrepreneurial journey. “The BizSmart® 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,” said Mr. Joel Kornreich, Group Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Bank.

“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,” said Mr. Kornreich.

Eco World’s Chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said, “EcoWorld is delighted to be part of the BizSmart® Challenge for the sixth year. This unique partnership in being able to meet young and determined entrepreneurs, and seeing them grow in their journey to success, has been very fulfilling indeed. 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.”

The mentor line-up comprises Mr. Malek Ali, Founder of BFM89.9, and Mr. Ernest Kwong, Head of Group SME Banking at Alliance Bank. They will provide hands-on coaching during the reality TV business challenges to the Top 10 finalists, and lend perspective and guidance on the finalists’ business plans and strategies. The BizSmart® Challenge judges are Mr. Joel Kornreich and Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin.

For the first time, the BizSmart® Challenge introduces Instagram Story Business Pitch where participants can bring their business pitch to life in video format. 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 BizSmart® Challenge welcomes participation from all SMEs registered in Malaysia that have been in operations between 1 and 5 years, with an annual turnover of less than RM50 million. Entrepreneurs of all ages, language, and business industries are encouraged to submit their application online no later than 6 February 2020 at www.bizsmart.com.my. The BizSmart® Challenge is presented in collaboration with BFM 89.9-The Business Station, Manulife Insurance Berhad, Visa Malaysia, Media Prima TV Networks, Celcom Axiata Berhad, and Katchi Group Sdn Bhd.

How BizSmart® Challenge Helped Chriszen Malaysia Elevate Its Brands

A year since winning the championship title of BizSmart® Challenge 2018, Ms. Mandy Leong, Founder of Chriszen Malaysia Sdn Bhd (“Chriszen”), has successfully elevated her brand.

During the year, Chriszen developed a new range of skin care products, and expanded its brand line-up to include personal care items, rolling out 69 new products.

The homegrown skin care company increased its sales by RM1 million after doubling its shelf space at the local pharmacies with the BizSmart® Challenge cash prize, and added five new skin care products at 200 Guardian pharmacy locations nationwide.

Chriszen has diversified its revenue stream by going into TV Home Shopping Channels, and collaborating with celebrity make-up artist Muabellaz to launch a new series of products.

Mr. Malek Ali, Founder of BFM89.9 - The Business Station, Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, Chairman of Eco World Group Development Berhad, Mr. Joel Kornreich, Group CEO of Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad and Mr. Ernest Kwong, Head of Group SME Banking of Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad at the official launch of the entrepreneurial programme Alliance Bank–EcoWorld BizSmart® Challenge to help business owners take their business further.

About Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad

Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad and its subsidiaries, Alliance Investment Bank Berhad and Alliance Islamic Bank Berhad, is a dynamic, integrated financial services group offering banking and financial solutions through its consumer banking, SME banking, corporate and commercial banking, Islamic banking, investment banking and stockbroking businesses. The Bank provides easy access to its broad base of customers throughout the country via multi-pronged delivery channels which include retail branches, Privilege Banking Centres, Business Centres, and Investment Bank branches located nationwide, as well as mobile and Internet banking.

About Eco World Development Group Berhad (EcoWorld Malaysia)

EcoWorld Malaysia is a public listed Malaysian company involved mainly in property development. The Group is led by some of the most well-known and respected players in the property industry.

It has secured approximately 8,126.4 acres of land bank with a total gross development value (GDV) of RM87.5 billion. Currently, EcoWorld Malaysia has a presence in the Klang Valley, Iskandar Malaysia and Penang with 20 projects in total comprising a product range that includes affordable, upgrader and luxury homes, integrated high-rise developments and green business parks.

Through Eco World International Berhad (EcoWorld International), the brand has also extended its reach to the United Kingdom and Australia.

EcoWorld Malaysia is honoured to be one of the Top 10 Developers at The Edge Malaysia Property Excellence Awards since 2016 and is also proud to be named ‘Best of the Best Employers - Malaysia’ in AON’s Best Employer Studies in 2016 and 2017.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Ms. Agnes Ong

Vice President, Group Communications
Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad
Email: agnesong@alliancefg.com
Tel: 03-2604 3378 / 012-672 4245

Ms. Diana Chin

Head, Communications
Email: diana.chin@ecoworld.my
Tel: 03-3344 2552 / 012-234 0159