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The SME Innovation Challenge 2015 was launched on 9 July 2015 with a total RM1,000,000 cash and media prizes to be won. There are three additional category prizes to be won this year namely, the Manulife Sustainability Award (RM100,000), VISA Retail Award (RM100,000) and HyppTV Viewers' Choice Award (RM200,000). The Grand Prize for the Champion will receive Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin Entrepreneurship Award RM250,000/ First Runner-up will get RM200,000 and Second Runner-Up will receive RM150,000.

The application for the SME Challenge 2015 was closed on 1 September and those shortlisted including my new company CarBengkel was called for an interview and had to pitch 6 prominent judges chaired by billionaire and philanthropist Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin on 18 September 2015 (for more information, read HERE). From that session, twenty were selected and the TOP 20 Finalist was announced this afternoon at the Young Entrepreneurs Conference 2015 held at the Planery Hall, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

The Young Entrepreneur Conference 2015 is a by-invitation-only event and is open to all aspiring entrepreneurs. Amnan Bazli Pahamin and I attended the YEC 2015 with a mix feeling. Nervous, excited and anxious!! We really look forward to be selected as the Top 20 Finalists. Being a new start-up, we can only imagine the mileage we will get being shortlisted. I did my best though I felt I could have done better pitching Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin and those prominent judges last week on 18 September. We had the pleasure and honour to meet the humble Malek Ali, the founder for our favourite radio station BFM 89.90 who is also one of the judges at the recent pitch. I love his inspiring life story.

The announcement for the Top 20 Finalists were made at 3pm after a short video compilation of all those shortlisted (Li Lian Khaw!! Please get me a copy of the footage! Thank you). I could not believe we made it to the Top 20 Finalists.


The next date to diarise is the 30 November 2015 for the 2nd pitching session to be shortlisted to TOP 6. After that pitching session, there will be a public voting from 1 December to 6th December 2015. The public voting accounts to 30% of the total score while the balance 70% are marks given at the second pitching session. This is when I need all the readers support for the public voting (Please vote for me!!)

Those shortlisted for the Top 6 will have to go through the 3rd and final pitch on 9 December 2015 and the winners will be announced and crowned on 10 December 2015. There is still a long process

I had the pleasure to meet some of the top 20 finalists but did not had the time to camwhore (I know, very unlike me). They were Amos from Humble Beginnings, Cliff from the alphabet press, Effon from, Fuqaha from, Gidden from, Hui from ash be nimble, John Isaac from Sangkaya, John Oh from Fresh Cart, Sherlyn from Twenty3 and Shuen from Rent A Dress.

SME Challenge 2015 Top 20 finalists
Amnan and I did manage to camwhore alot abit before the event started.

Thank you Tan Sri Liew, Victor Khoo, Hazel Hassan, Malek Ali, Kenny Thing and Roshan Thiran for the vote of confident to select us as the Top 20 Finalists and a bigger thank you to all sponsors Alliance Bank, EcoWorld, Cradle, BFM 89.90, Leaderonomics, HyppTV, Manulife and VISA for organising such a successful and meaningful event. We would also like to extend our gratitude to Azman Hood from Cradle for all the encouraging and inspiring words and wisdom.

Until the next BizSmart program scheduled on 2 October 2015, Stay tuned and do not forget the public voting from 1st-6th December 2015!!

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