The official launch of the SME Recognition Award 2013 was held at The Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

The SME Recognition Award is organised by SMI Association of Malaysia to honor SMEs in Malaysia at their best based on competitive strength and will be bestowed through 17 categories.

This is the 12th year this award is organised. Over the past 11 years, SME Recognition Award has developed a unique assessment and selection system that promotes healthy competition among Malaysian SMEs. The selection system provides a strict yet effective and transparent mechanism coupled with highly reputable judges, which is very well received as professional

evaluation platform that provides truly credible and honored recognition to distinctive SMEs.

Every year during the assessment period, the evaluation team will visit each and every short listed nominees companies, whereby the latest market information are shared, strengths and weaknesses of each company are analysed and briefed, hoping all of the short listed candi- dates will benefit from this value added session.

This year, the organiser introduces a new category, SME OSHA Award to recognize SMEs which have estab- lished high standards of safety and health at work. Nominees are expected to show strong management leadership and active participation in safety and health.

The SME Recognition Award, or rather SMERA is back again. As in the past, SMI Association of Malaysia would take this opportunity to recognize the outstanding SMEs in the country via this prestigious annual Award.

Mr. Teh Kee Sin, National President of the SMI Association of Malaysia said in his speech at the launch, “We are now entering into the 12th year of organizing SMERA and in the past, nearly a thousand SME companies whom had won the awards, gained significant benefits through the participation of SMERA, for example: it help to enhance the brand image of the winners, publicity, recognition from banks and ease their accessibility to financing facilities and etc.

We are also proud to be a public listing pre-assessment gateway for our past winners. There were approximately 30 SMERA winners whom have been listed in Bursa Malaysia, so far.

Currently, there are various awards available in the market, but however, since its inception in 2002, the prestigious, SMERA, organized by SMI Association of Malaysia, remain an award that, very much, sought after, especially among the SME community. Thanks to the rigorous, stringent conditions and strict evaluation process by a team of relentless professional evaluators, the Independent Auditors, lead SJ Grant Thornton, as well as the Selection Committee Board.”

He continued, “The business world is changing at bullet-train speed – technology, the global economy, increasing regulatory scrutiny, the looming talent crisis, the recognition that mental illness is dramatically affecting the workplace. All of these are having a huge impact on the SME businesses today.

Our business model or strategy therefore, should be focusing in using the existing capital more effectively to increase productivity, stimulate innovation and improve workforce skills, especially with the impending minimum wages ruling, which will, fully taking effect early next year. If we do not act quickly and effectively, the changing economic environment will dilute our profit margin due to rising manufacturing cost. As a result, we may lose our competitiveness and ended up, winding up the business.

The theme for SMERA 2013 is Embracing Innovation, Accelerating Transformation; this is in line with this Government aspiration as indicated in the SME Master Plan 2020, announced by the Prime Minister, Dato Seri Najib Razak, last year.

One of the plan, is aimed to move our country, to become a developed nation in 7 years, or rather, 5 years as mentioned, by the Prime Minister in London recently.

On this note, being an NGO, SMI Association of Malaysia will continue to play our role, in leading and facilitate the SMEs, in view of the timing has become very crucial now; SME should accelerate the transfor- mation process in order to achieve the vision of 2020.

SMERA is now open for nomination for all SMEs in the country, we encourage all new, up-and coming as well as, established SMEs to participate in SMERA 2013. The closing date for nominaion is 15th September and the Award Presenta- tion and Grand Dinner for SME Recognition Awards are scheduled for December, 13th.”