08 November 2022


The winners hail from sustainability-focused enterprises in waste energy recovery, farming production systems and food surplus management  


Kuala Lumpur: CIMB Group Holdings Berhad (“CIMB” or “the Group”) today announced three winners of the inaugural CIMB ESG-SME Pitch Challenge (“the Pitch Challenge”) as part of CIMB Group’s flagship The Cooler Earth Sustainability Summit 2022 held in September. Launched with a keynote address by Tunku Alizakri Alias, Chairman, Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP), the Pitch Challenge was organised in collaboration with pitchIN, the Private Financing Advisory Network (“PFAN”) and PwC Malaysia.


The winners, iHandal Energy Solutions, BoomGrow and Yindii received RM30,000, RM20,000 and RM10,000 cash prizes respectively, after going through preparatory workshops and virtual pitches to a panel of judges. These consisted of industry leaders including Paramjit Singh Gill, Chief Investment Officer of Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (“MAVCAP”); Renuka Sena, Co-Founder and Senior Partner of Scaleup Malaysia; Sam Shafie, Co-Founder and CEO of pitchIN; Dr Peter du Pont, Managing Partner, Asia Clean Energy Partners Ltd. Asia Regional Coordinator of PFAN; Ahmad Redzuan Sidek, Deputy CEO of VentureTECH; and Zarul Hafizh Hamzah, Director, Group Islamic Wholesale Banking, CIMB Islamic.


Aimed at bridging the Sustainable Development Goals (“SDG”) financing gap for sustainability-focused small and medium sized enterprises (“SMEs”), the Pitch Challenge attracted more than 50 SMEs across ASEAN, mainly from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. These SMEs are ASEAN-based and revenue generating businesses which focus on a green, social or sustainable impact area, aligned with CIMB Group’s Green, Social, Sustainable Impact Products and Services (“GSSIPS”) Framework.


The Pitch Challenge was created to drive the growth of sustainability-focused SMEs and showcase them to prospective investors and business partners to boost their businesses and chart their next phase of growth. Subsequent to the pitches, one-on-one sessions for selected businesses from the top 20 SMEs were also held with prospective investors and business partners spanning from venture capital, impact investors, and government-linked investment companies.  


Dato’ Abdul Rahman Ahmad, Group Chief Executive Officer of CIMB Group said, “We are pleased that the inaugural CIMB ESG-SME Pitch Challenge was well-received as a platform to empower sustainability-focused SMEs from across ASEAN. In line with its theme, ‘Financing the Transition’, we see a lot of potential within this space as these businesses are the key drivers and, in many ways, pioneers in advancing sustainable economy in the region. In addition to generating increased visibility and greater interest among investors, we hope the SMEs were also able to benefit from the insights and mentorship from our panel of judges and experts in the process. We look forward to continue catalysing growth among these SMEs and creating opportunities for them in line with our ambition to become an ASEAN sustainability leader by 2024.”


Coming in first was iHandal Energy Solutions (“iHandal”), a regional turnkey provider of sustainable engineering solutions. Its core business focuses on tailored mechanical and engineering solutions for clients to deliver measurable energy reduction and operational savings. The company recovers and processes waste energy from clients and returns it in a useful and measurable form that can be channelled towards heating or cooling outputs in areas such as water heating, process cooling and air conditioning. With a vision of creating a better environment for future generations, iHandal is focused on growing its regional reach and partnerships to eliminate 200 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually by 2030.


In second place, BoomGrow is a company that offers one of the most efficient farming production systems at minimal energy use. Its ‘Machine Farm’ and ‘Tower Farm’ modular systems offer the flexibility to scale up and create optimum conditions for growing produce throughout the year regardless of the weather conditions. The tech-based indoor farming is an exciting innovation in food production that has the ability to control light spectrum, water, energy, and nutrition intake, which will further enable stable supply and subsequently improve food security in Malaysia.


The third place winner, Yindii, is a marketplace solution connecting consumers to food retailers and restaurants in Bangkok for unsold food surplus at highly discounted prices of up to 80%, while raising awareness on food waste. The food is repackaged into high-quality, safe and hygienic bundles in an effort to not only reduce food waste and carbon footprint, but also enable consumers to play a role in achieving a greener future. Yindii now works with more than 150 partners including major hotels and supermarkets, as well as premium food brands across Thailand.


Over the past few years, CIMB has been an active proponent of the environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) agenda. Most recently, the Group announced that it has doubled its sustainable finance target to RM60 billion by 2024 under its GSSIPS Framework. CIMB is a founding member of the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking (“PRB”), a member of the Collective Commitment to Climate Action (“CCCA”) and Net-Zero Banking Alliance (“NZBA”), and a supporter of the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (“PCAF”) and Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”).


With a RM100 million commitment, CIMB is offering financing through Low Carbon Transition Facility (“LCTF”) as part of the LCTF financing scheme established by Bank Negara Malaysia (“BNM”) to encourage and empower businesses to adopt low carbon and sustainable practices for business resilience. Through CIMB’s LCTF, businesses including SMEs will benefit from collateral-free financing of up to RM10 million with an affordable repayment period of up to 10 years at a low-interest rate of up to 5% per annum.


Beyond financial solutions, CIMB also supports SMEs by committing its resources and expertise through capacity-building initiatives for SMEs such as knowledge enhancement programmes and CIMB MicroBizReady. In addition, CIMB also empowers businesses to embark on their sustainability journey through the CIMB GreenBizReady programme, which provides financial solutions and incentives such as sustainability-linked financing benefits, access to sustainability service providers, training and capacity building, certification and advisory services, and business matching with support from industry leaders and government agencies.


For more information about CIMB’s sustainable finance offerings and solutions, please visit https://www.cimb.com/en/sustainability/sustainable-business-and-banking-products-for-businesses.html.


Ahmad Shahriman Mohd Shariff, Chief Executive Officer of CIMB Islamic (third from left, top row) together with Tunku Alizakri Alias, Chairman of Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (second from left, top row) and participating partners announcing the winners of the CIMB ESG-SME Pitch Challenge at a recent virtual awards ceremony.