May 24, 2024

Innovate Biz Pro

Innovation that Brightens the Future

SEBA 2023 entrepreneurs who won Central Grand biz awards

10 min read

An evening of celebration and recognition took place on November 30 at the much-awaited SEBA 2023 Central Grand.

In attendance were local entrepreneurs and SMEs, as well as Yang Berhormat Datuk Ewon Benedick, the Minister of Entrepreneur & Cooperatives Development, and Yang Berusaha Tuan Khairy Jamaluddin, our former Minister of Health.

Here were the 30 entrepreneurs who were highlighted and honoured during the evening.

Table of Contents

1. Venon Tian, Zuspresso (M) Sdn Bhd

Image Credit: ZUS Coffee

Venon Tian, the COO of ZUS Coffee, was named the highly coveted Entrepreneur of the Year.

ZUS Coffee barely needs an introduction, the homegrown coffee chain having grown to a whopping 320 outlets in just four years. And the man at the helm of this rapidly growing business is none other than Venon.

Earlier this year, Vulcan Post had featured the tech-driven coffee company and got to speak to Venon himself.

The COO had shared that the team aimed to keep going until they become the go-to neighbourhood coffee brand, offering affordable, accessible coffee to every community.

SEBA’s award is a recognition of those efforts as ZUS Coffee continues to grow its footprint across Malaysia.

2. Lennise Ng, Borong.com

Image Credit: Lennsie Ng / Borong.com

Previously known as Dropee, Borong.com is B2B ecommerce solution provider that enables businesses to buy and sell in bulk online. Aside from empowering small businesses to digitalise, they’ve worked with big companies such as MYDIN to launch an ecommerce site.

Above being the CEO and co-founder at Borong.com, Lennise is also a SEA eTrade for Women Advocate for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Given her accomplishments, she was named SEBA’s E-commerce Entrepreneur of the Year.   

3. Harsha Ravindran, Ascendance Pro

Image Credit: Harsha Ravindran

At just 21, Harsha Ravindran is already a highly accomplished individual, having started her entrepreneurial journey at a young age of 11. SEBA 2023 has named her the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year for her work.

She’s now the CEO and co-founder of Ascendance Pro, a Malaysian youth-led movement. It helps students discover what they love to do, gain real-world experiences through experiential learning, and start their own social enterprises.

Aside from Ascendance Pro, she’s also had previous ventures that have been featured on Vulcan Post.

4. Juliana Adam, Biji-Biji Initiatives

Image Credit: Juliana Adam / Biji-Biji Initiative

Founded in 2013, Biji-Biji Initiative is an environmental-based social enterprise providing upcycling and art installation services. Over the years, the platform has gone on to nurture over 400 changemakers, creating 138 impact projects.

It supports social innovation by empowering entrepreneurs with the right tools and resources, organises impact accelerator programmes, and contributes to the circular economy with its plastic recycling Beyond Bins programme.

For her work, the CEO of social enterprise Biji-Biji Iniatives was named Social Entrepeneur of the Year.

5. Melinda Looi, Mellooi Creation Sdn Bhd

Image Credit: Melinda Looi

Malaysian fashion designer Melinda Looi is being celebrated by SEBA this year as the Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year.

With an ethos of creating unique, wearable art pieces, Melinda has won multiple awards worldwide, getting recognition in countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, France, UK, Switzerland, Canada, and Japan.

Melinda has three brands under her name, including the ready-to-wear Melinda Looi, Melinda Looi Couture, and Mell.

6. Nurazam Malim, Twistcode

Image Credit: Nurazam Malim

SEBA’s illustrious Technopreneur of the Year award goes to Twistcode’s Nurazam Malim this year.

A supercomputer and AI solutions provider, Twistcode was founded in 2006 offering acceleration-as-a-service to help speed up computation for businesses. Its supercomputer, A.D.A.M., was ranked the 88th fastest in the world back in 2019.

This award has previously recognised names such as Carsome’s Eric Cheng and Teoh Jiun Ee as well as Aerodyne’s Kamarul A Muhamed, so Nurazam is certainly one to watch.

7. Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina, Enfiniti (M) Sdn Bhd

Image Credit: Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina / Enfiniti

Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina is an actress, film producer, musical theatre producer, singer, as well as the founder of the Enfiniti Group of Companies.

Through her performances and now her company, Tiara brings world-class theatre and film to Malaysia. She was celebrated by SEBA as the Innovative Experiences Entrepreneur of the Year, a recognition of her work in improving the performing arts ecosystem in Malaysia.

8. Nor Zila Binti Aminuddin (Ella), Ben Jawi Ventures Sn Bhd

Image Credit: Ella Aminuddin

Ben Jawi Ventures’ Nor Zila Binti Aminuddin, better known as Ella, was recognised as the Celebrity Entrepreneur of the Year.

Ella is a Malaysian singer who began her career at age 19 and has earned herself the nickname of Rockqueen. Today, she’s also a part of Ben Jawi Ventures, her talent and event management company that has seemingly diversified into the plantation industry.

9. Tan Sri Datuk Liew Yun Fah, Desa Group

Image Credit: Desa Group

SEBA 2023’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Agriculture went to Tan Sri Datuk Liew Yun Fah of Desa Group.

Desa Group is a government-linked company (GLC) that’s wholly owned by the Sabah state government. Its business portfolio is diverse, with core businesses in integrated poultry, livestock and dairy, and retailing, amongst many other industries.  

Desa brand milk and chicken is a household name in Sabah, alongside its downstream products such as cheese, yoghurt, and gelato.  

10. Datuk Irwan Shah Abdullah (Datuk DJ Dave), Yayasan Kebajikan Artis Tanahair

Image Credit: Datuk DJ Dave / Yayasan Kebajikan Artis Tanahair

The Unity Icon of the Year is Datuk DJ Dave, an iconic Malaysian singer and the president of Yayasan Kebajikan Artis Tanahair (YKAT).

YKAT is a platform that supports the welfare of Malaysian artists, helping ease the financial burdens of artistes who are disadvantaged, regardless of race and faith.

11. Suria Hani Affandi Chew, Meraque Services Sdn Bhd

Suria Hani Affandi Chew, the COO of Meraque Services was named Most Inspiring Woman Entrepreneur.

Meraque Services provides drone solutions across various industries such as construction, agriculture, and even security, using innovation to reduce labour costs and safety hazards.

12. Daphenie Tan, Vape Empire Distribution Sdn Bhd

Image Credit: Daphenie Tan / Vape Empire

Named SEBA 2023’s Leading Innovative Female Entrepreneur, Daphenie is the COO of Vape Empire Distribution.

Vape Empire was established in 2013 and, according to its LinkedIn page, it’s grown to 65 stores in the country, with a presence in over 30 countries.

13. Shyam Narayan Thakur, Clifftop Group

Image Credit: Clifftop Group

Clifftop Group is home to a range of F&B and nightlife brands, such as Le Mirch, Red Room, The China Bar, and more.

The man behind it, Shyam Narayan Thakur, was named SEBA 2023 Central Grand’s Gourmet Innovator of the Year.

14. Thiruvarasu Karuppaiah, L&D Innovation Sdn Bhd

As the Rising Entrepreneur in Metal Fabrication Industry, there’s not much about the up-and-comer online yet.

L&D Innovation does metal fabrication for cooling towers, structures, platforms, walkways, and much more.

15. Dato Seri Dr Mohamad Feardaus Bin Khairuddin, Greentech Axis Berhad

This entrepreneur was actually recognised by SEBA 2023 Northern Edition just earlier this year in the Green Technopreneur category as well as the Best in Green Technology Projects.

His work has also now earned him SEBA 2023 Central Grand’s Entrepreneur: Sustainability Strategy award.

Greentech Axis is a company that works on environmental sustainability and renewable energy initiatives.

16. Nurul Aina Binti Abdul Ghani, Aina Abdul Entertainment

Image Credit: Aina Abdul

Cinching the Visual Icon of the Year title was Nurul Aina Binti Abdul Ghani, better known as Aina Abdul. She’s a Malaysian singer, composer, and lyricist, as well as the woman behind Aina Abdul Entertainment.

Befitting the award she won, Aina Abdul often wears dazzling and unique outfits when she performs, her outfits catching eyes wherever she goes.

17. Dato’ IR Raj Kumar A/L R Gopal Pillai, Universal Peak Sdn Bhd

Recognised at the SEBA 2023 Northern Edition for Best In Corporate Growth Strategy, Dato’ Raj Kumar A/L R Gopal Pillai is now being celebrated for his Visionary Leadership at Universal Peak.

Universal Peak specialises in the business of providing repair, maintenance, overhaul services, and the supply of electrical products and services.

18. Datuk Gary Gan Kah Siong, Radium Development Sdn Bhd

The Group Managing Director of Radium Development was crowned the Most Enterprising Property Developer.

Radium Development’s projects include affordable homes, urban residences, and premium developments.

19. Dato’ Dr Vesvanathan Pullian, VS Logistics & Shipping Sdn Bhd

Image Credit: VS Logistics & Shipping

The CEO of VS Logistics & Shipping, Dato’ Dr Vesvanathan Pullian was named the Top Rising Entrepreneur in Project Cargo & Heavy Lifting Logistics.

According to his LinkedIn profile, he’s a specialist on handling special equipment, heavy lifting, and transportation, with 15 years of experience in warehousing, distribution, and logistics service.

20. Kristy Liew, Ink Marketing Sdn Bhd

Image Credit: SEBA

Named Most Innovative Women Entrepreneur, Kristy Liew is the Managing Director of Ink Marketing, an accredited below-the-line shopper activation specialist.

The marketing agency designs and manufactures in-house, allowing for better cost and quality control. Their product catalogue includes things such as temporary, permanent, and semi-permanent displays.

21. Dr Vijendran Arulrajah, Brixsten Academy

Image Credit: Brixsten Academy

The award for Edupreneurship Excellence went to Brixsten Academy’s CEO, Dr Vijendran Arulrajah.  

Founded in 2015 by reputed tutors in Klang Valley, Brixsten Academy aims to offer quality education at an affordable cost. Its programmes include a full-time IGCSE course as well as tuitions.

22. Ferdinand Wong Yiung Ying, Faith Marine Sdn Bhd

Image Credit: Ferdinand Wong / Faith Marine

Faith Marine Managing Director Ferdinand Wong Yiung Ying was recognised by two awards during this evening. One for Maritime Excellence, and one for being a Visionary in Maritime & Shipbuilding.

Faith Marine is a ship engineering and building company based in Sibu, Sarawak.

23. Datuk Wira Dr Franck Li, First Pavilion Technology Sdn Bhd

The Leading Entrepreneur in Fintech Solution Industry went to Datuk Wira Dr Franck Li.

First Pavilion Technology is a regional holding company and parent to a suite of fintech subsidiaries and affiliates providing comprehensive fintech solutions and services to kickstart, define, and accelerate businesses.

24. Datuk Dr Mani Priya Thirumaney, MPT Medical Services Sdn Bhd

The CEO of MPT Medical Services, Datuk Dr Mani Priya Thirumaney was given the recognition for Emerging Trends in Holistic Pharmacy by SEBA.

While there isn’t much we could find about her and MPT Medical Services online, we hope to learn more about what they do as they gain prominence.

25. Dr Suriany Bullah, Putramed Clinics (Wholly owned by Andaman Empire Sdn Bhd)

Putramed Clinics, which is wholly owned by Andaman Empire Sdn Bhd, was given the Best in Medical Industry award, recognising Dr Suriany Bullah.

26. Tan Boon Huat, Happy Family Well-Being Sdn Bhd

Image Credit: Happy Family Well-Being

Hailing from Melaka, Tan Boon Huat is an iridologist and holistic wellness specialist. Iridology is the alternative medicine practice whereby a specialist studies one’s irises to determine their health.

Happy Family Well-Being is the healthcare brand he founded that carries various health products such as liver-detoxing beverages and anti-reflux teas.

He and the company were recognised for their work, and given the title Excellence Holistic Wellness Practitioner.

27. Navindran K. Sundarajoo, Navin Group Events Sdn Bhd

Given the title of Emerging Event Executor, Navin Group offers customers affordable, professional solutions to event equipment needs.

Its catalogue covers canopies and tents, tables and chairs, air coolers, fan and lighting equipment, red carpets, PA systems and DJs, and so much more.

28. Whan Mugilan, Vessel Pro Sdn Bhd

Agritech R&D company Vessel Pro’s Head of Business Development Whan Mugilan was named SEBA 2023’s Sustainable Farming Steward.

We couldn’t find much about the company, but according to Whan Mugilan’s LinkedIn, he is a certified Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) Trainer with 15 years of experience in smart farming production, arrangements, and training.

29. Engr (Dr.) Nik Azhan Nik Hashim, NZMA Sdn Bhd

For the Sustainable Energy Leadership category, Engr (Dr.) Nik Azhan Nik Hashim was recognised for this work under NZMA.

While not much has been published online about the company, he was recognised by another award, the World Muslimpreneur Award, last year.

30. Danny Khoo, W Aesthetics Holdings Sdn Bhd

W Aesthetics Holdings, which operates with the brand name of W360 Aesthetics, is a skincare clinic in Malaysia.

Danny Khoo, the CEO, was recognised by SEBA 2023 as the Pinnacle of Aesthetic Achievement.

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Congratulations to all the awardees, and congratulations to SEBA for another year of bringing entrepreneurs into the spotlight!

  • Learn more about SEBA here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Ella Aminuddin / ZUS Coffee / Nurazam Malim


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