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SME Bank Partners School of Business of The University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) for SME Bank Sandbox Swiss Innovation Challenge

24 June 2024



  • RM110,000 Prize and Swiss Innovation Challenge Awaits Malaysian Talent
  • Collaboration with CEDAR, UMK, Putra Business School, and DRB-HICOM University of Automotive Malaysia Boosts Innovative Sustainable Business Ideas

KUALA LUMPUR: 24 June 2024 – Small Medium Enterprise Development Bank Malaysia Berhad (SME Bank) has partnered with the School of Business of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) for the SME Bank Sandbox Swiss Innovation Challenge (SSSIC) 2024.

This challenge invites start-ups, SMEs and tertiary students to submit innovative business ideas with significant environmental, social, and economic impact, for an opportunity to receive a total cash prize of RM110,000 as well as the chance to represent Malaysia at the Swiss Innovation Challenge 2024 International Pitch in October 2024. Supported by institutions like the Centre for Entrepreneur Development and Research Sdn. Bhd. (CEDAR), Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), Putra Business School, and DRB-HICOM University of Automotive Malaysia, SSSIC 2024 will offer practical knowledge and skill enhancement through experienced coaches and entrepreneurs.

Datuk Wira (Dr.) Aria Putera Ismail, Group President/Chief Executive Officer of SME Bank said: “At SME Bank, we want to encourage entrepreneurs and SMEs to always be ahead of the curve. The SME Bank Sandbox Swiss Innovation Challenge provides a platform to promote innovation among MSMEs and enable entrepreneurs and innovators to demonstrate their creativity and propose innovative sustainable solutions to today's challenges, whilst creating opportunities for international networking and potential funding.”

“Our collaboration with FHNW is designed to nurture start-ups and new establishments to excel further within the MSME sector by empowering them with the tools and knowledge to drive sustainable development, create substantial community impacts, and build a network of international partnerships which will be a valuable asset as they navigate the dynamic business landscape. This is aligned with the government's efforts to enhance local companies across all tiers through ecosystem innovation as underpinned by the Ekonomi MADANI framework,” he added.

SSSIC 2024 aims to not only support innovative start-ups and SMEs but also to raise awareness and advocate for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) adoption among MSMEs by offering participants the opportunity to pitch new business ideas, product innovations, service innovations, organisational innovations, management innovations, or business model innovations, that pioneers business concepts aligned with relevant United Nation Sustainable Development Goals.

Prof. Dr. Arie Hans Verkuil, Head of the Institute of Management at the FHNW University of Applied Sciences, also Jury President of the SIC added: “The SIC has long been supported by the Swiss government to discover innovative business ideas from start-ups and SMEs. It is encouraging to know that there is growing global interest in this unique initiative beyond the European region, and we are happy to be working with SME Bank in Malaysia who are a major proponent of the holistic growth of MSMEs beyond financial services, particularly in ESG adoption. Together with our local varsity counterparts, this collaboration will pave inroads into a better understanding of the start-up or new business environment driving positive change and fostering a culture of innovation and sustainability within the MSME community.”

The SSSIC 2024 is now accepting submissions from 24 June to 26 July 2024. To learn more about the competition and how to participate, please visit www.smebank.com.my/sssic2024 .