Among the many problems that a startup must face in its arduous journey to greatness is to get the recognition that it deserves. Besides the challenges of building a product, securing the right finances and creating a healthy customer-base, the typical startup will not have the resources to properly push its achievements into the public eye.

This is what the ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards aims to do for startups from all over the ASEAN region. The awards program, which typically just goes by Rice Bowl, reward innovation, excellence, and best practices in the startup industry from each of the ten Southeast Asian countries.
The awards take its name from the humble rice bowl, a symbol of livelihood and sustenance in this part of the world. It was chosen to represent the idea that startups has always been the driver of Southeast Asian economy.

Rice Bowl is the Southeast Asian chapter of the Global Startup Awards (GSA). Regional winners of Rice Bowl will be competing at the global level against startups from the Nordic countries, Central Eastern Europe, South Europe, Southern Africa, South Asia, and East Asia. Being the biggest independent startup ecosystem competition in the world, competing at this global level will open a lot of doors for a startup in terms of financial access, market expansion opportunities and international recognition.

Past winners of Rice Bowl have found that winning the award at a regional level has been helpful in providing access to more opportunities that was previously unavailable. Albert Alexander, founder of Glueck Technologies, regional winner of the Best DeepTech / AI / Big Data Startup at the 2017 Rice Bowl, remarked “The recognition as winners in national and regional level competition has opened some doors for business opportunities for Glueck Technologies.”

Zoom Malaysia, winner of the regional Startup of the Year for 2017 Rice Bowl also had the same experience. Group CEO and founder Jeevan Kumar said, “Recognition from the awards was key in getting the exposure to the mass market.” Zoom has since seen massive growth and has started operations in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Rice Bowl has open up more categories for competition this year than ever before. Now there are a total of 18 categories, ranging from industry awards, cross-sector awards, ecosystem awards and the coveted Star awards. Among the newest categories that debuted this year are Best ‘Life-Helper’ Startup and Best Digital Marketing Startup.

This year the regional-level awards event will be held in Bali. This is where the Rice Bowl Gala Night will be held, as well as the other programs that is being planned, aimed to assist startups and other ecosystem players. A representative of all national winners of each country will be flown to Bali to meet up with venture capitalists and other investors, where investor-matching sessions and pitching will take place.

Nominations for the 2018 Rice Bowl is open until the 31st of July 2018. All startups from the region is encouraged to join the awards program by going to ricebowlawards.com.

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