EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 Malaysia

AT a glamorous black-tie event at The Majestic Kuala Lumpur last Thursday, Plaza Premium Lounge Management Ltd founder and CEO Song Hoi-see was named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 Malaysia. Song, 61, will represent Malaysia and join more than 60 other country winners to compete for the coveted EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year award at the annual WEOY event in Monte Carlo next year.

Determined to “do something for the majority”, Song changed the perception that airport lounges are reserved for premium travellers. He transformed the airport hospitality industry by establishing the Plaza Premium Lounge at the Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong International Airports in 1998, introducing the world’s first pay-in/independent airport lounge for all travellers, regardless of airline or class of travel. Two decades on, the group is now the benchmark and global specialist for bespoke premium airport services in over 160 locations and 42 airports in 21 countries, serving over 14 million passengers annually.

Philip Rao, partner of Ernst & Young Advisory Services Sdn Bhd and EOY Malaysia programme director, said, “Song Hoi-see is an exemplary role model for entrepreneurial excellence. Through his vision, courage and determination, he disrupted the status quo and established new norms that enhanced the quality of life for the many air travellers who throng airports daily. Song has played a significant role in redefining the airport services industry, and continues to expand his footprint and raise the bar in enhancing travel experiences across the world.

“The panel of judges was unanimous in its decision and agreed that Song has built a purpose-driven enterprise that has positively impacted its business and created a better working world for air travellers, its employees and all other stakeholders. We have no doubt that Song will do us proud in Monte Carlo next year.”

In his address at the event, Minister of Entrepreneur Development Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof reaffirmed the government’s support and encouragement of entrepreneurship. “The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development hopes to collaborate with the relevant ministries, agencies, private sector organisations as well as non-governmental organisations on the newly launched National Entrepreneurship Framework (NEF),” he said.

“We are presently collating views from all segments of the entrepreneur and SME communities to build on this framework, and hope to be able to produce the National Policy on Entrepreneurship by the middle of next year. The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development will continue to pursue policies and programmes that are facilitative of local entrepreneurs and SMEs. We will also work with other relevant ministries and agencies to ensure that the right policy levers are put in place to enable the development of our entrepreneurs and SMEs, including placing greater emphasis on entrepreneurial education.”

In addition to the top honour, EY also presented four awards for entrepreneurial excellence across the four categories of the competition, with Song scooping the top spot in the entrepreneur category. In the emerging entrepreneur section, iHandal Energy Solutions Sdn Bhd CEO Aaron Patel came out tops for his compelling tale of filial piety and innovation as he transformed his father’s solar panel trading company into a turnkey engineering and contracting firm specialising in improving the energy efficiency of commercial and indus­trial buildings.

As an experienced figure in the mobile and technology industry, Johary Mustapha is the hands-on technical mastermind behind Forest Interactive Sdn Bhd and the winner in the technology entrepreneur category. Established in 2006, Forest Interactive is a global mobile technology company that provides multifaceted platforms as a service and value-added service solutions specialising in mobile content distribution and digital payment services.

The deserving winner of the woman entrepreneur category was Dr Lim Li Sze, who founded Medical Innovation Ventures, based on her idea of creating better diagnostics for tropical infectious diseases. Simultaneously licensing technologies from universities and developing in-house capabilities, Mediven collaborates closely with research institutions locally and abroad to tap research and scientific expertise to constantly come up with innovative products.

All the winners were selected by an independent panel of judges guided by a set of global standard criteria. The list comprised Bursa Malaysia securities market director Mahdzir Othman, Chin Hin Group CEO Chiau Haw Choon, Commerce DotAsia Ventures founder and CEO and Pikom chair Ganesh Kumar Bangah, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs chair Tan Sri Rebecca Sta Maria, MDEC growth ecosystem development division vice-president Hizam Kadir, Ministry of Entrepreneur Development secretary-general Wan Suraya Wan Mohd Radzi and Sipro Plastics founder Datuk Norani Soltan.


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