After an intense breath-holding, knuckle-breaking moment on stage, Christy Ng Sdn. Bhd. (more popularly known as Christy Ng Shoes) was named the Grand Prize winner of the inaugural Alliance Bank SME Innovation Challenge 2013 at its Grand Finale last night.
A stunned and tear-eyed Christine Ng, owner of Christy Ng Shoes, walked away with the grand prize of RM250,000 funding to implement their business plans. Christy Ng Shoes also received complimentary Microsoft Office 365 subscription, a year-long recruitment services’ package worth RM25,000 from jobsDB Group, an exclusive radio interview and a featured article in a mainstream publication. They will soon be paying a visit to Microsoft’s Centre of Excellence in the USA.
In a last-minute surprise twist to the tale, the Bank decided to sweeten the Challenge’s pot with a RM100,000 runner-up prize which was awarded to the first runner-up of the Challenge, TBA Resources Sdn Bhd (Textbook Asia).
“All our Challenge’s finalists have demonstrated that they have what it takes to bring their business to the next level: passion, the entrepreneurial innovative spirit that fuels their business ambitions matched by their level-headed practical nature,” said Steve Miller, Head of Group Business Banking. “It re-affirms the Bank’s belief that when we invest in our customers future and help them to succeed, we will be able to learn from them too.”
At the height of the Challenge in the last week leading to the winner announcement last night, the Challenge’s three finalists (Smooshie Juice, Christy Ng Shoes and Textbook Asia) had to solicit for public votes online before pitching their business plan to the judges for the last time. “It was a very close competition and a tough decision had to be made,” explained Miller. “Which is why, in the end, based on the judges’ recommendation, the Bank decided to sweeten the Challenge by adding a runner-up prize of RM100,000.”
“Textbook Asia had a meaningful proposition of helping students reduce the cost of education, which we felt was highly commendable. Because it mirrors the Bank’s emphasis on quality and meaningful education, we wanted to help Textbook Asia extend this proposition to students across the country.”
The first-of-its-kind Alliance Bank BizSmart Academy and the inaugural SME Innovation Challenge was born out of the Bank’s business proposition of helping customers to succeed by investing in their future. Launched in August 2013, the Challenge invited young SMEs who have been in business between one and three years to submit their business propositions for consideration. From over hundreds of submissions, 13 high-potential young SMEs were selected to undergo structured business coaching and training in Blue Ocean Strategy to enable them to bring their business to the next level.
The 13 SMEs also received guidance from top business leaders the likes of Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Liew Kee Sin, CEO & President of the SP Setia Berhad Group, exposed to widespread media and branding opportunities on radio and in print, and supported with new technology solutions from Microsoft to revolutionise their business.
“Our finalists met with our panel of judges led by Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Liew Kee Sin two weeks ago to present their business plans based on the Blue Ocean Strategy structured business coaching and mentoring that they had received over the past two months,” said Miller. “Stemming from that pitch, three finalists, Textbook Asia, Smooshie Juice and Christy Ng Shoes, made it to the final round of public voting which accounted for 40% of their scores.”
“At the last pitch-out, each finalist had to demonstrate three main traits during their presentation: entrepreneurship, financial performance and innovation,” elaborated Miller. “In deciding on the winner, the judges looked for commitment and vision, and if our finalists were able to make rational business decisions based on their current and projected financials. Their ability to anticipate and embrace change in a dynamic environment was also considered.”
To view what happened at the Grand Finale of the SME Innovation Challenge, check out the Alliance Bank Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AllianceBankMalaysia
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