Penang-Based Startup Wins RM250,000 Grand Prize In Alliance Bank Challenge

Meet the five innovative Malaysian brands that took home top prizes!

Cover image via Leaderonomics

This Spotlight is sponsored by Alliance Bank.

NutriBrownRice is announced the winner at the Alliance Bank SME Innovation Challenge 2016

The fourth installment of the annual SME Innovation Challenge saw Penang-based NutriBrownRice emerge as overall champions this year. As winners of the EcoWorld Entrepreneurship Award, they receive RM250,000.

NutriBrownRice is a brown rice instant beverage packed with natural vitamins and minerals and made from the rich paddy fields of Northern Malaysia.

Featured in the National Heart Institute of Malaysia for every inpatient, their products can be found in major supermarkets throughout the country such as Aeon, Cold Storage, and Sam's Groceria, as well as in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Image via Alliance Bank

Borenos, a Sabahan fast-food restaurant, takes home the prize for first runner-up along with RM200,000

The homegrown franchise is known for their fried chicken, and their use of daily-delivered locally farmed chickens, resulting in no overnight freezing of food.

Borenos opened their flagship store on 9 March 2015 at Asia City Complex, Kota Kinabalu. With their signature whole spring chicken dish, their goal is to provide a healthier and more satisfying fried chicken fix for Malaysians.

Image via Alliance Bank

Rounding up the top three is Amazin’ Graze, a food startup focused on creating healthy, delicious, and affordable treats

Amazin' Graze has over 90 different products under their brand, which can be found in over 50 locations in Singapore and over 100 locations in Hong Kong. Their aim is to build healthier, stronger communities throughout Asia by providing easy access to high nutrition and tasty, affordable health food.

Image via Alliance Bank

Meanwhile and Grub Cycle receive recognition in separate categories

The Visa Retail Award, which recognises innovative retail businesses with a RM100,000 prize, was awarded to

As Southeast Asia's largest service platform, they connect over 200,000 customers to 10,000 service professionals throughout the region. The platform provides high value jobs such as interior design, home renovation, event planning, and wedding cake creation.

Image via Alliance Bank

Grub Cycle, a platform that combats food wastage by funneling surplus food to lower income families, won both the RM100,000 Manulife Sustainability Award and the HyppTV Viewers' Choice Award worth RM200,000 in media packages.

On top of cutting food wastage and providing meals for the less fortunate, part of the proceeds from Grub Cycle are used to subsidise the cost of basic food necessities for lower income families, and each "grub bag" consists of daily necessities such as rice, cooking oil, salt, sugar, and eggs.

Image via Alliance Bank
Image via Alliance Bank

Mr. Joel Kornreich, Group Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Bank said, “SMEs are not just the backbone of a nation. They represent the best of a country’s creativity, ingenuity and resilience.”

The SME Innovation Challenge 2016, includes two months of structured business coaching, CEO Chatroom sessions, and media exposure for the 60 shortlisted brands. Winners were chosen after three separate rounds of business proposition pitches to a panel of judges.

The annual challenge has attracted over 1,300 high-quality submissions from across Malaysia. Applicants include food and beverage, retail, e-commerce, green technology, and more.

Find out more about The Challenge and this year's winners here

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