KUALA LUMPUR: A bigger and stronger community of entrepreneurs is key for Malaysia to become a developed country, according to long-time entrepreneur Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin.
He said Malaysia had its outstanding entrepreneurs but it lacked the numbers to form an economy driven by entrepreneurship.
“Malaysia’s economy is very government-reliant. What businesses pursue usually follow a top-down approach, based on what the government provides or targets,” he said.
Liew believed that entrepreneurs should also look at global opportunities, instead of being contented fighting for a slice of the same pie.
The country should not rely solely on internal wealth as growth in the domestic market has its limits, he said.
The director of Eco World Development Bhd was at the launch of Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd’s SME Innovation Challenge 2014, for which he is chairman judge.
“What we are looking for (in the challenge) is an entrepreneur with a ‘never say die’ attitude whether it is a 22-year-old fresh graduate or a bored housewife,” he said.
“True entrepreneurship is when no matter what people tell you, you stick to your programme. Because as entrepreneurs, you chart your own path; you live and die by the decisions you choose to make,” he said.
This year’s challenge promises to be bigger and bolder, with cash prizes up to RM600,000 and a fine-tuned programme to groom the finalists.
There will be an enhanced structured learning programme and CEO Chatroom series with top business leaders like Liew and Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin of Mydin Mohamed Holdings Sdn Bhd.
Alliance Bank head of group business banking Steve Miller said the bank hoped to have a mix of SMEs from outside the Klang Valley and Sabah and Sarawak as well.
“We’re looking for a more diverse group of entrepreneurs from different parts of the country to represent true Malaysia,” he said.
The annual SME Innovation Challenge 2014 is open to young Malaysian SMEs who have been in business between one and three years. The 20 high-potential young SMEs will be selected to undergo structured business coaching and will also receive guidance from top business leaders.
There will also be media and branding opportunities, and supported with new technology solutions from Microsoft to revolutionise their business.
The SME Innovation Challenge 2014 will feature three-tiered main prizes and one category prize namely the Tan Sri Liew Entrepreneurship Award of RM250,000, first runner-up prize of RM150,000, second runner-up prize of RM100,000 and Microsoft sponsored a Technology Award with a RM100,000 cash prize.