Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (“UTHM”)’s Team Genesys emerged as the winner of the fourth edition of the Alliance Bank EcoBiz Challenge after an intense five months of structured experiential learning, coaching, mentoring, and three rounds of business
The Batu Pahat team, comprising Wan Muhammad Idham Wan Mahdi, 31, Mohd Syahir Anwar Hamzah, 29, and Nurliyana Abdul Rahim, 29, won the judges over with their compelling pitch of setting up a social business with single mothers and youths upcycling discarded banners and buntings into useful items like tote and shopping bags for university students.
On the strength of their business proposition, they took home the grand prize of RM10,000 cash and a trophy. Each team member also received a certificate for participation.
The Alliance Bank EcoBiz Challenge is an environmental-themed competition in which tertiary students develop sound and sustainable business solutions to address environmental, economic or social issues.
This season’s EcoBiz Challenge theme of “Inspiring Malaysia to be a Zero-Waste Nation” encourages participants to develop sustainable green social businesses that advocate a
responsible waste management culture.
Coming in second was team Re-FAB, a mixed university team from Universiti Teknologi MARA (“UiTM”) and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (“UTHM”), while team Therapy Lab from Albukhary International University (“AIU”) won the third prize.
They each took home RM5,000 and RM3,000, respectively. Eight other teams from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (“UTM”), International Islamic University Malaysia (“IIUM”), AIU and University of Wollongong Malaysia KDU received RM1,500 each for their efforts.
“We congratulate all our EcoBiz Challenge finalist teams who have demonstrated resilience, ingenuity and commitment in developing innovative ideas to address the waste situation in Malaysia.
“It is very encouraging to see young changemakers promote awareness and drive actions to mitigate the impact of waste on the environment,” said Mr Joel Kornreich, Group Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Bank, at the closing ceremony.
EcoBiz Challenge Season 4 was supported by the Ministry of Environment and Water Malaysia and its agency, the Malaysia Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation (“MGTC”).
“We are pleased to see youths participating in this programme. We hope that the EcoBiz Challenge 4 will shift the mindset of students from being job seekers to job creators, as well as motivate other university students to start up green social businesses.
We are confident that such efforts will contribute positively towards achieving environmental sustainability and ultimately address climate change issues,” said Dato’ Mansor Haji Othman, Deputy Minister of Environment and Water Malaysia.
“The integration of MGTC’s Jana Graduan Usahawan Hijau (“JaGUH”) syllabus into this year’s EcoBiz Challenge is how we help youths support our nation’s efforts towards environmental sustainability, entrepreneurship, and job creation. JaGUH tests the finalists’ resiliency, adaptability to change, determination, and ability to think outside the box.
Regardless of the final results, all the teams we see here today are champions,” said Ts. Shamsul Bahar Mohd Nor, Chief Executive Officer of MGTC.
The shortlisted 11 teams underwent JaGUH’s 20-week structured training and coaching sessions in collaboration with the Youth Trust Foundation and The Future Commerce Sdn Bhd (“AVANA”).
Guest speakers comprising 12 social business founders, five industry experts, and eight chief executive officers took turns training, coaching, and mentoring the finalists on their sustainability business plan.
During their final business pitch, the teams were challenged on the viability of their business model and implementation, and evaluated on their conviction to inspire Malaysians to be a zero-waste nation.
The EcoBiz Challenge’s judges were Rizal Il-Ehzan Fadil Azim, Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Islamic Bank, Norhasliza Mohd Mokhtar, Senior Director of Climate Action Group at MGTC, Dr. Faiz Shah, Director of Yunus Centre at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand, Dr Yasmin Rasyid, Sustainability Advocate and Environmentalist, and Subramonia Sarma, Senior Director of Action Learning at Asia School of Business.
After the conclusion of EcoBiz Challenge Season 4, the 11 teams will continue to hone their eco-enterprise knowledge and skills with a six-month entrepreneurial programme organised by the Bank.
They will learn how to accelerate growth, improve customer experience, and other crucial business topics. Alliance Bank is committed to promoting and enabling sustainability initiatives that positively impact the communities and environment in which they operate.