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Celebrate Your Start-up at the Rice Bowl Startup Awards 2017

Do you know a start-up doing great work in Southeast Asia? Nominate them now!

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BY Cristina Morales - 02 Aug 2017

rice bowl startup awards

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

This could be your start-up’s chance to shine. Created in 2015 by the New Entrepreneurs Foundation Malaysia (myNEF), the Rice Bowl Startup Awards were specifically designed to celebrate Southeast Asian start-ups that are creating solutions for the region’s nagging pain points. The start-up doesn’t need to be huge—but it must have “the potential to grow fast, innovate, and create positive impact.”

“We saw that a lot of the other organizations were giving awards to people who sounded American,” says myNEF CEO Lilyana Latiff at a briefing held in ASPACE Greenbelt, Manila last July. Latiff points out that many organizations tend to celebrate ideas that would be more suitable in Silicon Valley rather than in Southeast Asia.

They wanted to highlight start-ups like the Philippines’ SALt, which produces sustainable and ecologically designed light sources using salt water to bring light to remote places that have no access to electricity. But the Rice Bowl Startup Awards is not just for social enterprises; it sets out to celebrate “companies that have the potential to answer a lot of the issues that ASEAN countries are facing.”

The goal of the Rice Bowl Startup Awards is to raise their visibility in the local, regional, and global start-up scene. In addition, an expert team of investor-matching analysts will work with every finalist to find them the right kind of VC or investor. “We don’t promise that you will get closed, but we do promise that we will work hard to get you further investment,” says Latiff.

Winners at the Rice Bowl Startup Awards also get the opportunity to represent Southeast Asia and compete at the Global Startup Awards, which is celebrated across different regions—namely the Nordic regions, Central Europe, South Asia, and next year, China and Africa.

Rice Bowl 3.0

In its first year, the Rice Bowl Startup Awards received 500 nominations and awarded 11 winners from 7 countries. Last year, they received 1500 nominations and awarded 11 winners from 8 countries. Past winners include Qwikwire, Eatigo, and Grab.

Now on its third year, the awards’ organizers anticipate more nominations for more countries. “Who knows? Maybe 2000 nominations [this year],” says Latiff. “Last year, we didn’t get nominations from Laos and Brunei. This year, we engaged people in Brunei and Laos and we’re expecting more nominations from them.”

This year’s awards have even more categories:

• Best Newcomer

• Best Social Impact Startup

• Best Smart City Solution

• Best e-Commerce / Supply Chain Startup

• Best Healthy Lifestyle Tech Startup

• Best Green Biotech / Food Tech Startup

• Best Life Sciences / MedTech Startup

• Best Fintech Startup

• Best DeepTech / AI / Big Data Startup

• Founder of the Year

• Investor of the Year

• Best Accelerator Program

• Best Co-working Space

• Best Startup Ecosystem Initiative

• People’s Choice

• Startup of the Year


Know of a great start-up that fits the bill? Nominations for the Rice Bowl Startup Awards close on August 30.

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