05/06/2024 03:14 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 (Bernama) — Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd today launched the seventh iteration of BizSmart Challenge Accelerator Edition (Challenge) with expanded eligibility criteria to allow more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to participate in the challenge.

Group chief executive officer Kellee Kam said the challenge will now be expanded to accept participation by Malaysian-registered SMEs that have been operating between one and 10 years with an annual sales turnover of RM500,000 to RM40 million.

“For the first time in the BizSmart Challenge history, this year will also feature an opportunity for the top 30 finalists to pitch their business plan and ideas to venture capital investors from 1337 Ventures and 5X Capital.

“This gives entrepreneurs that important chance to impress the investors to gain a long-term partner along with investment funds that would propel them to the next level,” he said during the launching ceremony here today. 

He said finalists will need to impress the judges who will select the top 10 businesses which will proceed to a final round of business pitching for a chance to grab a share of the cash prizes, mentorship, brand exposure and business training worth up to RM2 million in total as well as preferential financing of up to RM20 million from Alliance Bank.

Finalists of the BizSmart Challenge can also leverage the resources, experience and know-how of an extensive network of programme partners, including from 1337 Ventures, 5X Capital, Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Bhd (CGC) and Cradle.

In addition, he said the launch of the BizSmart Challenge Accelerator Edition reaffirms the bank’s commitment to enable the growth journey of businesses through relevant and dynamic banking and non-banking solutions. 

“We recognise that business owners face various challenges especially during the start-up phase, from securing funding to accessing relevant business coaching. Hence, we are partnering with experts in different fields who can address the diverse needs that they have. 

“As a bank that aspires to become ‘The Bank For Life’ for our customers, we want to help businesses succeed at every stage of their life cycle, offering them differentiated solutions to meet their unique needs as they grow,” he said.

Since its inception in 2013, the BizSmart Challenge has received over 2,200 submissions while more than 155 finalists benefitted from the training and mentorship provided. 

Among its distinguished alumni are industry trailblazers such as Amazin’ Graze, Signature Market, Christy Ng, Chriszen, myBurgerLab, BloomThis and Heal Nutrition.

As part of the challenge, the bank will also be organising the BizSmart® Business Conference 2024 scheduled to take place on July 16, 2024 at W Hotel Kuala Lumpur with the theme “Business Beyond Tomorrow”.

Interested SMEs are encouraged to send in their submissions from now until July 15, 2024 and shortlisted participants will be contacted in August. 

For more information about the Alliance BankBizSmart Challenge Accelerator Edition, visit

Meanwhile, Alliance Bank expects a healthy loan growth of eight to 10 per cent this year, backed by the SME, corporate and consumer business segments. 

“We announced our full-year results just last week and we have actually grown the fastest at 13.6 per cent last year.

“We believe that the banking sector this year will continue to be healthy especially looking at the first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) number as we were starting to see a little bit more vibrancy coming through the tourism side of the business, and the services are picking up,” he said.


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