Fashion label Twenty3 bags top prize at SME Innovation Challenge 2015

Twenty3 founder and CEO Sherlyn Tan and deputy CEO Barry Ooi (centre) flanked by Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin and other judges accepting the main prize of the Alliance Bank BizSmart SME Innovation Challenge 2015. — Picture courtesy of Twenty3
Twenty3 founder and CEO Sherlyn Tan and deputy CEO Barry Ooi (centre) flanked by Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin and other judges accepting the main prize of the Alliance Bank BizSmart SME Innovation Challenge 2015. — Picture courtesy of Twenty3

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — Dreams certainly do come true and home-grown fashion label Twenty3’s CEO and founder Sherlyn Tan can certainly attest to this after bagging the top award at the Alliance Bank BizSmart SME Innovation Challenge 2015.

Twenty3 beat six other Malaysian companies to take home the Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin Entrepreneurship Award, the first prize in the SME Innovation Challenge that comes with a prize money of RM250,000.

Tan and Twenty3’s deputy CEO Barry Ooi were present to receive the award at a glitzy ceremony that was held at Bangsar Shopping Centre last Friday. Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin in present the reward said that “this year’s winner showed the most passion and took the biggest risks, without fear — that’s what defines an entrepreneur.”

It certainly was a night to remember for Tan who started the company four years ago because she had a dream to realise. “Entrepreneurship can be a long and lonely journey. I worked solo for two years, singlehandedly building Twenty3 from an online retailer with an initial capital of RM5,000 to the brand that it is today. We’ve hit RM10 million in total revenue over three years, and we’re one of the top online fashion stores in the country in terms of traffic,” said Sherlyn.

“This is the most prestigious award for SMEs in Malaysia, and we are absolutely honoured to have won it among an exceptional field of entrepreneurs. The training and the people we met have made this an invaluable experience,” said Sherlyn. “The prize money will go a long way in raising Twenty3 to the next level, and we have many exciting plans lined up in 2016.”

This has been an amazing year for Twenty3 with a debut show at KL Fashion Week, the launch of its signature line Sher by Twenty3, and the opening of a pop-up store at Publika.

Renowned international footwear designer Dato’ Jimmy Choo has also taken the brand under his wing, coming on board as Twenty3’s Brand Consultant.

This year’s SME Innovation Challenge, the third annual instalment since it was launched in 2013, attracted over 300 entries from various sectors. Twenty3 first was selected as one of the 20 finalists and went through several months of training on leadership and other aspects of running an SME under BizSmart Academy.

Sherlyn Tan set up Twenty3 when she was at that age, giving up a cushy corporate job to fulfil her entrepreneurial dreams. — Picture by Choo Choy Ma
Sherlyn Tan set up Twenty3 when she was at that age, giving up a cushy corporate job to fulfil her entrepreneurial dreams. — Picture by Choo Choy Ma