AmBank launches AmBank BizRACE entrepreneurship challenge

AmBank Business Banking division managing director Christopher Yap speaks during the recent AmBank BizCONFERENCE in Penang.

KUALA LUMPUR: AmBank Group under its Business Banking division is launching the AmBank BizRACE in strategic support of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) scaling to the next level in Malaysia.

A press statement said this initiative is part of the bank’s continuous efforts to provide additional support to SMEs that go beyond financial accessibility.

The AmBank BizRACE is an entrepreneurship challenge aimed at providing SMEs with access to valuable knowledge sharing sessions and development training that covers the area of leadership development, improvements in business model as well as system and structure, and culture transformation.


Participating SMEs will also have the opportunity to have greater market accessibility from a branding perspective. This move is based on AmBank’s collection of significant data showing that SMEs need access to knowledge, skills, and opportunities to move to the next life cycle of their businesses.

According to current statistics, SMEs make up 97.3 per cent of business establishments in the country. In comparison with other middle-income countries, Malaysia’s SME contribution to the GDP stands lower than average which calls for an urgent improvement.

AmBank’s Business Banking division managing director Christopher Yap understands that this is partly due to the high failure rate, as almost 80 per cent of companies don’t get past the three-year mark.

“There is already a lot of focus on start-ups and ideation, where SMEs are given the tools to succeed at the early stages of their business. After that, they are often left on their own and not given the support that they really need to continue their journey. This Race will help us identify SMEs who want to grow and scale their business and enable us to provide them the platform to do so,” explained Yap.

“As a bank, we need to go back to the basics and focus on the people within the company rather than just supplying them with finances. We want to look at how we can help our customers succeed in the long run and not just provide short-term solutions.”

Interested CEOs of SMEs may register to participate in the AmBank BizRACE at from Sept 19 until Nov 15.

The Top 100 applicants will then be selected based on their plans for scalability and growth, and invited to attend a series of pitching sessions with an esteemed panel of judges including the managing director at Google for Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines and New Emerging Markets Sajith Sivanandan, Digi CEO Albern Murty, Credit Guarantee Corporation CEO Datuk Mohd Zamree Mohd Ishak, and IOI Group CEO Dato’ Lee Yeow Chor.

Participants who make it to the Top 15 will be given complimentary development training packages for their SME worth up to RM350,000 and coaching opportunities with experienced entrepreneurs who can help them identify what is needed to scale their business.

In addition, the Top Five will get an exclusive chance to network with an internationally renowned entrepreneur and the Top Three contestants will win media packages worth RM595,000 for their company.

During the AmBank BizRACE registration period, a series of five free AmBank BizCONFERENCEs will be held nationwide targeted at Malaysian SME CEOs.

The AmBank BizCONFERENCE will feature successful business leaders from different industries who will share their insights on how they enabled their business to thrive and grow despite facing many struggles along the way. Among the line-up of speakers are Vishen Lakhiani (CEO of Mindvalley), Goh Ai Ching (CEO and Co-founder of Piktochart), Vimy Ramasamy (MD of IHS Markit Malaysia), Sharan Valiram (Executive Director of Valiram Group), Bharat Avalani (Global Partner of Anecdote International), Hannah Tan (COO of Quiibou Group of Companies), Ganesh Kumar Bangah (Global Founder of MOL and previous CEO of Friendster), and Lam Mun Choong (CEO of SelfDrvn Enterprise and Nettium).

These conferences will be held in five cities nationwide: Pulau Pinang (Sept 19), Johor Bahru (Oct 5), Kota Kinabalu (Oct 10), Kuching (Oct 12), and Kuala Lumpur (Nov 1).

Following the AmBank BizCONFERENCEs will be a series of ten smaller and more exclusive CEO Chat Sessions held in Kuala Lumpur, also featuring successful CEOs representing various industries. These sessions are designed to facilitate quality conversations between each featured speaker and a group of up to 50 CEO participants.

Registration for the AmBank BizCONFERENCE and the CEO Chat Sessions is free with availability of seats being on a first-come- first-serve basis.

For more information on AmBank BizRACE and to register for an upcoming event, visit