CIMB Group Holdings Bhd announced the CIMB ESG-SME Pitch Challenge to accelerate and enable ASEAN SMEs that have sustainability-focused business models or operations to seek equity funding that will enable them to advance their business to the next level.
The ESG-SME Pitch Challenge makes its debut as part of the fourth edition of CIMB Group’s flagship The Cooler Earth Sustainability Summit.
With the theme ‘Financing the Transition’, the CIMB ESG-SME Pitch Challenge is designed to expose promising SMEs to potential funders to boost their businesses and chart their next phase of growth.
SMEs are invited to apply to participate in the competition, with shortlisted participants receiving coaching and guidance via preparatory workshops by CIMB’s partners, namely pitchIN, a crowdfunding platform for private investors, and the Private Financing Advisory Network (“PFAN”), a global network of climate and clean energy financing experts hosted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) that provides free business coaching and investment facilitation to entrepreneurs.
PwC Malaysia, a supporting partner of The Cooler Earth will also be conducting a workshop on the essentials of developing an ESG strategy as part of capacity-building for the SMEs ahead of the Pitch Challenge, according to a statement by CIMB.
The top 10 successful participants will be selected to have the opportunity to pitch their businesses and raise funding of up to RM10 million from equity investors, such as venture capital, private equity firms, impact investors, government-linked investment companies and high-net worth individuals.
Applications are open from now until 2 September 2022. Participating SMEs must be focused on a green, social or sustainable impact area, aligned with CIMB Group’s Green, Social, Sustainable Impact Products and Services (GSSIPS) Framework, and must be revenue generating, ASEAN- based, and have sustainability embedded into their business and operations. SMEs may be from key verticals in relation to different areas of sustainability, among others:
- Green production (including resource efficiency, green manufacturing, circular economy);
- Energy-related (including renewable & clean energy, energy efficiency);
- Blue economy (including water-related businesses, ocean-related ventures); and
- Social (including affordable housing, social economy, free/subsidised healthcare or education).
Dato’ Abdul Rahman Ahmad, Group CEO of CIMB Group said, “We are excited to introduce the CIMB ESG-SME Pitch Challenge as part of our flagship The Cooler Earth Sustainability Summit, which plays a dual role as our latest initiative in expanding CIMB’s support for the empowerment of SMEs in the region, while encouraging sustainability innovation amongst ASEAN entrepreneurs.
“We hope this dynamic event platform will see the convergence of high potential SMEs and a diverse range of investors and become a launching pad for green, social and sustainable SMEs to scale-up their businesses.”
SMEs form the backbone of ASEAN economies, with Malaysian SMEs contributing over 37% to the country’s GDP in 2021. However, many SMEs continue to find it difficult to raise funds, and CIMB aims to help green, social and sustainable SMEs access a broad range of potential investors who are looking to invest specifically in businesses with an environmental or social impact.
The CIMB ESG-SME Pitch Challenge is a collaboration that brings together industry leaders such as pitchIN and PFAN and PwC Malaysia in driving the growth of sustainability-focused SMEs. Together, they will provide practical knowledge on technical and financial capacity building as well as sustainability strategies, which will give the SMEs added exposure to sustainable practices as well as investor insights.
The competition aims to not only provide a way for SMEs to raise equity funding, but also offer networking opportunities with top investors, corporates, and other entrepreneurs. In addition, successful SMEs may also explore CIMB’s wide range of financial solutions such as GreenBizReady, as well as pitchIN and PFAN’s programmes and resources to empower SMEs to achieve their business aspirations.
CIMB’s flagship The Cooler Earth Sustainability Summit will be held from 20 to 24 September 2022. The hybrid Summit aims to convene global experts, business leaders, financiers, investors, and policymakers to encourage greater discourse on sustainability and shape a more sustainable future.