KUALA LUMPUR, 6 July 2017 – The SME Bank 90-Days Business Challenge program, which started in 2015 and jointly organized by SME Bank and the Department of Community College Education, Ministry of Higher Education, has been successful in developing young entrepreneurs who are able to manage their business well and earn a lucrative income.

SMT Empire Resources from Paya Besar Community College, champion of the 2015 program, is currently earning a steady income of between RM20,000-RM30,000 per month selling sports attire such as footwear, jersey, pants and sports accessories with the support from its 70 dropship agents.  Besides that, the company also supplies sports products to other suppliers.

The 90-Days Business Challenge competition continues to grow and this year, 87 Community Colleges from all over the country have participated, showing an increase of 93% participation rate compared to 2015. To ensure the objective of the competition is achieved, SME Bank made some improvements in the implementation of the program and this include conducting briefing sessions on entrepreneurship for all the participants and a dedicated bootcamp program for the 20 finalists to improve on their business projects.  This is an addition to the online reference materials being made available to the students.

Dato’ Razman Mohd Noor, the Chief Operating Officer of Corporate Management and Operations of SME Bank Group said, “SME Bank 90-Days Business Challenge Program is a testimony that SME Bank is committed in fulfilling the Government mandate in creating more entrepreneurs in the country, especially amongst the youth.”

Dato’ Razman added, “The efforts in creating more young entrepreneurs is one of the  Bank’s priorities and the 90-Days Business Challenge Program has complemented the Bank’s initiative of targeting students from higher learning institutions.”

Selection of the winners was done by a panel of experienced juries in entrepreneurship comprising representatives from SME Bank, Department of Community College Education, SME Corporation Malaysia and successful entrepreneurs.  The evaluation criteria include marketing, financial, management and technical aspects of the business. The results were audited by a professional accounting firm appointed by SME Bank.

The competition offers cash prizes totaling RM30,000 for the winners comprising RM15,000 for champion, RM10,000 for runner-up and RM5,000 for the third placing, along with a trophy and certificate of participation for all participants. The champion will be given a special consideration when applying for SME Bank financing if they decide to continue with their business after graduating from the college. Winners of the competition will also receive free entrepreneurship training provided by the Center for Entrepreneur Development and Research Sdn. Bhd, or CEDAR, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SME Bank.  In addition, all participants will automatically become an alumni member of the SME Bank 90-Days Business Challenge.

As at to date, the SME Bank 90-Days Business Challenge Alumni has 208 members comprising participants from the 2015 competition. As members of the Alumni, they have been given the opportunity to join entrepreneurship programs and participated in various activities organized or participated by SME Bank.

YB Datuk Haji Ahmad Maslan, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry was present to give away the prizes to the winners.