MDBC celebrates the Day of the Entrepreneur & Innovation and Sustainability Awards
On Thursday, 18 November, the Malaysian Dutch Business Council (MDBC), in close partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, celebrated the ‘Day of the Entrepreneur’ or “Dag van de Ondernemer” (DVDO) at the Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur. Festivities culminated with the launch of the MDBC Innovation & Sustainability Awards (MISA) 2021 / 22.
Entrepreneurs and SMEs were recognized for their courage, perseverance, and innovativeness at the ‘Day of the Entrepreneur’ (or ‘Dag van de Ondernemer’ (DVDO) as it’s known in the Netherlands) event with MDBC and the Netherlands Embassy.
With the huge role that SMEs play in Malaysia’s economy (accounting for just over 97% of total business establishments in 2020 according to DOSM), it seemed a natural fit for Malaysia to join the event. Initiated by MKB – Nederland (Dutch association for SMEs) back in 2016, DVDO is strongly supported back in the Netherlands with everyone from cabinet members down to individual entrepreneurs encouraged to participate.
In 2018, one of the first dedicated DVDO activities outside of the Netherlands took place when MDBC organized a DVDO event in Malaysia, followed by another in 2019. It has since grown into a worldwide celebration, and this event marks the third time it has been observed locally.
The ‘Day of the Entrepreneur’ was made possible by the strong support and presence of Event Partners: the Netherlands Embassy and NL in Business, as well as Service Providers: Signify, Malaysia Airlines, Maxis, Standard Chartered Bank, and Volkswagen.
Taking the lead, the Embassy kicked off festivities with a lunch for Dutch entrepreneurs in Malaysia. In attendance was Eva Oskam (Deputy Head of Mission & Head of the Economic Section, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands). When asked about her thoughts on the event, said, “We are thrilled to be able to celebrate the Day of the Entrepreneur once again with an offline event for Dutch businesses. While COVID restrictions have posed challenges for everyone in the past one and a half years, small and medium sized entrepreneurs have often been hit even harder. By organizing this event, in close partnership with MDBC, we acknowledge and honor their courage and perseverance, and salute the innovative solutions many small and medium sized enterprises bring to the economies of both Malaysia and the Netherlands.”
MDBC then brought together both Dutch and Malaysian SMEs and entrepreneurs for a presentation by the service providers who shared business solution tools, valuable information, and offers to support entrepreneurship.
Several attendees shared some advice for others, as well as insights into their favourite things about being entrepreneurs. When asked to share some advice to entrepreneurs or SMEs, Remco Koster (Managing Partner, EXPANDIAN Limited) shared, “Your network will be a crucial part of your success; MDBC has the best network for Dutch entrepreneurs.
Adzlinda Zin (Founder and CEO, Rumah Duta Sdn Bhd) shared her favorite thing about being an entrepreneur, “It’s thrilling, you never stop learning and growing!”
Sjoert Boljuis (General Manager, Frames Group) added, “Every day is a new challenge.”
“There’s never really a dull moment and I can constantly push myself to go from strength to strength”, said John Tan (Managing Director, Poet Farmer).
Attendees were also on hand to witness the launch of the MISA 2021 / 22 edition.
“We know that there have been a great number of challenges to the community over the past couple of years, and we have been witness to the strength and tenacity of these individuals and corporations who have found new ways to meet this demanding period. MDBC, in its role of facilitating trade and investment between Malaysia and the Netherlands, is keen to celebrate and increase the awareness of these innovations and as such, is happy to also launch the 25th anniversary edition of the MDBC Innovation & Sustainability Awards (MISA) 2021 / 22,” shared Marco Winter (Executive Director, MDBC).
MDBC’s unique Awards Program – MISA - is a platform to showcase the best practices of companies in the areas of Sustainability and Innovation, recognizing them for their excellence and trailblazing spirit in these fields. Open to the local business community to participate (as long as the submitted projects meet the category requirements), shortlisted finalists are obliged to participate in a day event, presenting their projects in front of a panel of judges and an open audience for review.
The open forum concept of the presentation day (judges and audience members can ask questions about the project to shortlisted candidates, but the candidates may also ask questions to the audience) means that the knowledge gained by these finalists is shared, while allowing them to also gain information themselves. Awards are presented immediately after during the evening event which is held on the same day. This special edition of their long running Innovation & Sustainability Awards will be expanded to include dedicated categories for SMEs and Entrepreneurs. The seven MISA categories are:
- Dutch Investor in Malaysia (MNC)
- Dutch Investor in Malaysia (SME)
- Malaysian Investor in the Netherlands
- Malaysian exporter to the Netherlands / EU
- Most Promising New Dutch SME in Malaysia
- Dutch – Malaysian partnership
- Flexible Work Arrangements
The packed value add to this celebratory event for Dutch and Malaysian entrepreneurs and SMEs is a great example of how MDBC always strives to provide the best value for their members. In their 25th anniversary milestone year, MDBC continues to gain recognition for this, having just won the ‘Best Bilateral Business Services Provider – Malaysia’ award from APAC Insider earlier this year.
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