AmBank Berhad aims to disburse RM20 billion in loans in the next three years to spur SME development in Malaysia. In line with its Top 4 Strategy, AmBank has undertaken several initiatives aimed at igniting SME growth.
The bank’s AmBank BizCLUB, a platform to help SMEs scale to the next level through financing and beyond financing initiatives, offers training, networking and publicity opportunities to SMEs. The second season of the AmBank BizRACE, the cornerstone initiative under the AmBank BizCLUB is underway. The business competition provides SMEs with the opportunity to win RM2 million worth of prizes.
This year’s competition has seen more than 1000 entries from SMEs across the nation. The Top 30 will today go through a business pitching session to impress the AmBank BizRACE panel of judges in order to be selected as one of the Top 10 finalists. The Top 10 finalists will then go on to the final pitching session and subsequently, the grand finale Awards Night on 26 April 2019.
Dato’ Sulaiman Mohd Tahir, Group Chief Executive Officer, AmBank Group, said, “AmBank Group will continue to support SMEs through much needed financing. At the same time, we are also conscious of the need to go beyond providing companies with funding. Through our various SME-centric initiatives, we are focused on being there for our SME clientele, from cradle to IPO.”
In recognition of AmBank’s continuous efforts in support of the SME segment, the bank was recently named, the Best SME Bank for Malaysia by Global Banking & Finance Review, a leading UK based financial portal and print magazine.
In 2018, the bank disbursed RM6.14 billion worth of SME loans, marking a substantial 30.6% growth from RM4.7 billion in 2017. In order to enhance the support rendered to its SME clientele, the Bank looks to launch a purpose-built SME business banking service centre with a dedicated team to assist SMEs in their daily needs. The service centre is expected to be launched in the third quarter of 2019.
The Group’s strategic collaboration with Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Berhad (CGC) to develop as well as to provide financing to the SME segment in Malaysia, saw an additional RM100 million allocated in January 2019 to finance Proton dealers. AmBank has launched 9 Portfolio guarantee (PG) schemes with CGC amounting to RM2.25 billion between 2015 to 2019.
Over these two seasons, AmBank BizRACE has received close to 2,000 entries. Successful participants of AmBank BizRACE have received over 100 hours of training and development in key areas such as leadership, strategy, culture and innovation.
In the first season of the AmBank BizRACE that was held last year, the Top Five attended a learning trip to China where they were exposed to many companies with unique cutting-edge business models. The Top Five SMEs gained valuable insights on how these organisations grew and scaled their businesses. In addition, the winners had the opportunity to meet and network with innovative and global-minded business leaders.
AmBank completed its second BizCONFERENCE series last year consisting of five nationwide conferences that were held in Pulau Pinang, Kuala Lumpur, Klang, Melaka, and Johor. Each event featured local entrepreneurs and subject matter experts from various industries who shared their entrepreneurship journey. Three of the BizCONFERENCE sessions were catered to bilingual Malaysians, enabling a more inclusive learning environment.
Another branch of the AmBank BizCLUB is the AmBank CEO Chat Sessions, a series of chat sessions featuring talks by renowned CEOs, captains of industries and thought leaders in Malaysia. The small and exclusive sessions allow entrepreneurs to network and connect with speakers.
This year’s AmBank BizRACE official partners include UTM Azman Hashim International Business School (AHIBS), Microsoft Malaysia, EY, Media Prima and MasterCard.
Participating businesses will stand a chance to win RM 2 million worth of prizes including a development programme worth RM310,000, a China learning field trip worth RM340,000 and a UK-based executive development programme worth RM265,000, in addition to various awards.