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Press Release

BizSmart Challenge 2018 is Back!

Challenge will be televised as a reality TV show; offers finalists RM1 million cash and media coverage prizes and up to RM5 million in non-collaterised financing

Kuala Lumpur, 12 April 2018 – The BizSmart Challenge 2018, presented by Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad (“Alliance Bank”) and Eco World Development Group Berhad (“EcoWorld”), is back for the fifth year, offering RM1 million in cash and media coverage prizes, and up to RM5 million in collateral-free financing for finalists.

This year’s Challenge will be in the format of a reality TV show, the first reality TV business programme in the country by a financial institution.

The BizSmart Challenge 2018 is open to all SMEs nationwide which have been in operations between 18 months and five (5) years. From the submissions, 20 finalists will be shortlisted to undergo structured business coaching, which includes marketing, presentation skills and talent management training, mentoring sessions and networking opportunities. Of the finalists, 12 will be selected to move on to the business challenge, which will be the main feature of the reality TV show.

Alliance Bank’s Group Chief Executive Officer Mr. Joel Kornreich said the BizSmart Challenge is the Bank’s flagship programme aimed at nurturing and growing SMEs.

“Our Bank has always been committed to helping Malaysian SMEs grow and develop their full potential. Among the many initiatives to nurture SMEs, the BizSmart Challenge is our flagship programme. Every year, we innovate and improve the programme. This year, we are delighted to welcome Eco World as co-partner. We will also offer up to RM5 million in financing to the finalists, and have added the element of reality TV to the Challenge,” he said.

Chairman of Eco World Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said: “After working closely with Alliance Bank over the last four years, EcoWorld is delighted to join as co-partner to help create an even bigger, better and more sustainable platform for young businesses to advance in their chosen fields and contribute positively to the Malaysian economy. The 2018 Challenge is indeed an exciting one – all the best features of the prior year challenges have been retained with new elements introduced to help participants gain more media exposure for their brand as well as improve their access to financing. We are certainly eager to see the lineup of applicants this year and support them in their entrepreneurial journey.”

Since 2013, the Challenge has helped discover and groom more than 110 young businesses, some of which are not only making waves in Malaysia but abroad as well. It has also become a great platform for young SMEs to gain access to industry icons, build their network, and learn how to scale their businesses to greater heights.

Winners of past challenges include online fashion retailers Christy Ng Shoes and Twenty3, social enterprise Biji-Biji Initiative, and food & beverage producer, NutriBrownRice. These businesses, together with many other programme alumni, have all become well-known names in the Malaysian start-up and SME scene.

Mr Kornreich thanked EcoWorld for its steadfast support for the Challenge and for being this year’s co-partner in the programme. Other programme partners of this year’s BizSmart Challenge include Manulife Insurance Berhad, Visa Malaysia, BFM89.9 – The Business Station, and Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad.

Applications for the BizSmart Challenge 2018 are open from now until 20 May 2018. For more information on the Challenge and how to participate, please visit

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About Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad

Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad and its subsidiaries, Alliance Investment Bank Berhad and Alliance Islamic Bank Berhad, is a dynamic, integrated financial services group offering banking and financial solutions through its consumer banking, SME banking, corporate and commercial banking, Islamic banking, investment banking and stockbroking businesses. The Group provides easy access to its broad base of customers throughout the country via multi-pronged delivery channels which include retail branches, Privilege Banking Centres, Islamic Banking Centres, Business Centres, and Investment Bank branches, as well as mobile and Internet banking.

For more information on this press release, please contact Chong Su Ann, Tel: (03) 2604 3379/012-523 3569, or e-mail at


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