BizSmart Challenge unveils new feature

Instagram Story Business Pitch is among several big improvements made to attract more participation in the 6th edition of the challenge


THE BizSmart Challenge, presented by Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd and Eco World Development Group Bhd, now has a new segment dubbed “Instagram Story Business Pitch” to allow participants to pitch their business in a creative and innovative manner.

The new platform is among several big improvements made this year to attract more participation in the sixth edition of the challenge, Alliance Bank group CEO Joel Kornreich (picture) said.

“In terms of technology, we are going to be using Instagram story (feature) for their (the participants) business pitch which is for businesses to create four 15-second clips to showcase their business. This allows businesses to create a structured pitch that would be exposed to many people as possible,” he said at the launch in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

In order to provide finalists with more help in gaining success and expanding their business, the top 20 finalists of the challenge will gain access to a small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) banking advisory team dedicated to assist them in financing their business and aligning their finances with their future plans.

“This year, we have improved the prize quantum to over RM1.5 million in cash, product sponsorships and media coverage prizes. The reality television business challenges will also be made accessible to more viewers via TV3.

“By helping SMEs to grow, we are contributing to the national agenda and we are very passionate about helping businesses to be successful,” Kornreich added.

Alliance Bank group chief strategy and marketing officer Dr Aaron Sum said the Instagram story platform was introduced as it is the best way for entrepreneurs to enhance their creativity in showcasing their business.

A video is sometimes the best way to capture body language, emotion and passion or ideas that are difficult to explain on paper, Sum explained.

“But if we watch the videos, we can see the actual passion of the entrepreneurs coming through. That is one of the primary reasons we made this new channel available,” he said, adding that the company is expecting up to 600 submissions for the challenge.

Chriszen Malaysia Sdn Bhd founder Mandy Leong, who won the grand prize at the challenge last year, said the RM250,000 cash prize she received was utilised for the expansion of her business by adding 69 new products to the existing 79 and expanding into skincare and personal care lines — besides cosmetics.

The homegrown skincare brand, currently available at 200 Guardian outlets nationwide, increased its sales by RM1 million after doubling its shelf space at local pharmacies with the cash prize won from the challenge.

It focuses on innovative formulations including halal ingredients to cater to Malay customers to ensure it stands out against other brands.

“Most of the contract manufacturers we are working with are halal certified and we make sure that our products are clean. That’s how we cater to our target customers. That is also another winning point for us, to be outstanding among international brands in the local market,” Leong told The Malaysian Reserve.

The company’s biggest milestone this year was setting up its flagship store in One Utama Shopping Centre. It is also considering increasing the number of physical stores in 2020.

“For next year, we forecast to have another one million additional sales with the new launches,” Leong added.

The BizSmart Challenge welcomes participation from all registered SMEs in the country that have been operating between one and five years, with an annual turnover of less than RM50 million.

Participants are encouraged to submit their application online by Feb 6, 2020.

The grand prize includes a RM250,000 cash prize from Alliance Bank and RM250,000 worth of media coverage on TV3 and TV9.

The first runner-up will receive RM200,000 cash and RM250,000 in media coverage, while the second runner-up will receive a RM150,000 cash prize and media coverage of the same amount.