(From left) Sharala, Abdul Rauf, Ong, Chiau, Ng and Tan at the awards event yesterday. Photo by Shahrin Yahya
KUALA LUMPUR: Chiau Haw Choon, group managing director (MD) of building materials player Chin Hin Group Bhd, was crowned EY Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) 2017 for Malaysia at a gala event yesterday night, beating 15 other contenders vying for the title.
The recognition paves the way for the 33-year-old to represent Malaysia in the annual EY World Entrepreneur of the Year (WEOY) event in Monte Carlo next year, where he will compete with over 60 other country winners for the coveted title.
Chiau said the recognition was a big honour and thanked his team at the company for it. “I also dedicate this award to my grandfather, who started his hardware shop business 40 years ago. Without him, I wouldn’t have the passion for building materials,” he added.
Philip Rao, partner for Ernst & Young Advisory Services Sdn Bhd and EOY Malaysia programme director, described Chiau as an exemplary role model for modern entrepreneurship. “Despite his youth and inexperience, he courageously rose to the challenge to shoulder the enormous responsibility of leading his family business upon completing his studies,” Rao said in a statement.
“He encountered obstacles and hostilities, but remained undeterred from his vision and goals. Within 10 years, Chiau successfully transformed a traditional, small, family-run cement trading company into the country’s only public-listed integrated business materials’ specialist.
“The panel of judges was unanimous in its decision and agreed that Chiau has built a purpose-driven enterprise that has positively impacted its business, its people, its community and other stakeholders. We have no doubt that Chiau will do us proud in Monte Carlo next year,” Rao added.
Chiau’s entrepreneurial journey began when he took over Chin Hin’s wheels from his father in 2007. He was just a fresh graduate then, while the group was a regular cement trader with an annual revenue of RM392 million and 70 staff.
Driven by passion, conviction and courage, the young Chiau innovated the business. His efforts transformed Chin Hin into the country’s only building materials conglomerate offering solutions across the value chain. Now, Chin Hin’s manpower has grown to over 1,000 employees, with the group generating an annual revenue of over RM1.3 billion. Under his leadership, Chin Hin was listed on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia last year.
The EY EOY is a prestigious business awards programme for entrepreneurs, encouraging entrepreneurial activities among those with potential and recognises the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement.
“Entrepreneurs are extraordinary men and women who see beyond the present, defy all odds and go on to define and build a future that impact not only themselves, but also their people, their communities and the economy at large,” said Datuk Abdul Rauf Rashid, Malaysia managing partner for EY.
“They trail blaze new frontiers in their respective fields, driving growth and prosperity, and inspiring change. Entrepreneurs are legacy builders who help build a better working world,” Abdul Rauf added.
In addition to the top honour, Chiau also won the EY Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Malaysia title, while Alliancecorp Manufacturing Sdn Bhd MD Tan Ging Hoon was named the EY Technology Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Malaysia.
The EY Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Malaysia award was bagged by Sharala Axryd, MD of The Center of Applied Data Science Sdn Bhd, while Mega Fortris (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd’s group chief executive officer Adrian Ng was winner of the EY Master Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Malaysia.
Guest-of-honour and Second Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, in his speech at the event, pledged that the government would continue to provide the necessary support and resources to create a conducive environment for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive. “We will also further promote the growth of an entrepreneurial culture in this country, particularly among the younger generation,” Ong added.