Kuala Lumpur: Social enterprise Biji-Biji Initiative won the coveted Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin Entrepreneurship Award of RM250, 000 at the Alliance Bank BizSmart Academy SME Innovation Challenge 2014 Grand Finale Awards last Friday.
Launched in early July 2014 the SME Innovation Challenge 2014 attracted over 480 submissions from across the nation from a diverse range of sectors ranging from robotics, food and beverage, e-commerce to medical devices, green technology and retail.
Through extensive evaluations and interviews, the organisers and judging panel had narrowed the selection to 20 high-potential young businesses.
These 20 finalists underwent a one-month structured business coaching and had the opportunity to engage with well-known entrepreneurs such as Liew who contributed the cash award and Datuk Wira Haji Ameer Ali Mydin of Mydin in the CEO Chatroom series. They were also provided with exposure to widespread media and opportunities to promote their brand.
Close on Biji-Biji Initiative’s heels, the “Honest Tea” Chaiwalla & Co., container café from Johor, was named the first runner up while the second runner-up of the Challenge was online and retail Muslimah fashion, EightDesigns (EDZ).
Each won RM150, 000 and RM100, 000 in cash prizes respectively. Meanwhile, Catch That Bus was named the recipient of the Technology Award sponsored by Microsoft and walked away with a RM100, 000 cash prize.
Liew, a judge in determining the winners said the judging process was based on the participants’ passion, proof of their entrepreneurial spirit and observation of how they overcame difficulties.
“The degree of their moral values and a sound business plan were key to me,” Liew said. “I would personally invest in some of these businesses. Each and every one of our Challenge’s finalists had a clear vision and good product proposition for what they want to achieve with their business. That’s the core of every successful entrepreneurial journey: the vision must be aligned with the entrepreneur’s values, passion and practicality.”
Established in November 2014, Biji-Biji Initiative is a sustainable living social enterprise that runs a platform to explore sustainable design concepts by way of green technology, effective waste management methodology and creative upcycling of discarded materials. Biji-Biji Initiative works in an inclusive and collaborative way as it believes that collaboration supersedes competition and promotes innovation.