ASEAN Business Awards: An Overview

March 1st, 2017

ABA 2017 Web Photo v2
The ASEAN Business Awards is fast approaching and to give an overview of what the awards are all about, we’ve prepared a primer encompassing the background and objectives.

1. Background

Since its establishment by ASEAN Leaders in 2003, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) has been active in promoting public-private sector partnership and consultation to assist the integration of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2017. In its efforts to bridge ASEAN Governments with its private sectors, the Council launched the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) in 2007 to give recognition to enterprises that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the ASEAN economy.

ABA was conceived to be the first of its kind in the region, with the dual objectives of recognizing outstanding ASEAN enterprises, and to serve as a platform to spread information concerning the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). In addition, ABA also brings to the spotlight promising ASEAN small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have the potential of becoming global economic players.

A dedicated Working Group of ‘National Gateways’ consisting of ten ASEAN-BAC Members (one representative from each Member State) forms the foundation of ABA.  The roles of the National Gateways are to promote the event in their respective countries, as well as to select ‘National Judges’ who will be responsible in selecting the recipients of ABA.

Since it was first launched in 2007, ABA has recognised more than 100 companies throughout the region that excel in the categories of: Growth, Employment, Innovation and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In 2015, however, ASEAN-BAC expanded the categories of ABA to include the Priority Integration Sectors (PIS) of ASEAN element, as well as recognising outstanding young entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs.

To ensure the high-quality and independency of such a prestigious event, ASEAN-BAC engages a Strategic Partner each year to administer the implementation of the ABA Framework; short listing nominations of companies; administering the Judges Meeting and assist in promoting the event throughout the ASEAN region.  This Terms of Reference (ToR) aims to briefly highlight the event’s objectives, categories and criteria, and tentative plan in carrying out ABA 2017.

2. Objectives

Aside from recognising outstanding ASEAN enterprises, ABA also has the objectives of serving as a platform to disseminate AEC-related information, as well as to bring to the spotlight SMEs that have the potential of becoming global economic players in their respective industries.

3. Categories

Outstanding performance and presence in the ASEAN Economic Community Priority Integration Sectors. Includes the recognition of integration and connectivity between ASEAN businesses owned and operated by the applicant. Submissions should demonstrate exemplary track records in Growth, Employment, Innovation and CSR.
1. Fisheries
4. Textiles
5. Logistics
6. Wood-Based
7. Rubber
8. Agri-Food
9. Healthcare
10. Tourism
11. Automotive
12. Retail


  1. Inclusive Business – Outstanding business models that sustainably create social impact through the company’s core business operations. Nominated business models should demonstrate financial viability, positive impact on poor and low-income people and communities, innovation within the value chain, and scale and replicability of the business model to alleviate the poverty and inclusion problem.
  1. Friends of ASEAN  A non-ASEAN owned enterprise that demonstrates a continuous and increased commitment in growing its presence within ASEAN


  1. Young Entrepreneur – Outstanding business owner below the age of 45 who have demonstrated significant success through leadership, market positioning and company performance. 
  1. Women – Female business owner who have demonstrated significant success through leadership, market positioning and company performance. 
  2. SMEs in 4 Categories
    – Growth
     – Have achieved outstanding commercial success and sustainable growth will be honoured with this award. Submissions should demonstrate initiative and a willingness to undertake bold new ventures and include evidence of sustainable growth and commercial success to levels that are outstanding for the size of the applicant’s operations. 

    – CSR  Demonstrate a high standard of commitment in the way they organise and integrate their responsible business practices will receive this prestigious endorsement. Submissions should provide evidence of a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy that integrates responsible business practice into their mainstream operations resulting in a positive impact in the workplace, the marketplace, the environment or the community. 

    – Employment – Demonstrate the provision of a stimulating and supportive workplace. Qualifiers of this award are required to demonstrate how its people development strategies have created a committed, motivated and effective workforce. 

    – Innovation – Demonstrate a proven ability to create, nurture and develop new products or services. Qualifiers of this award are required to demonstrate how they have differentiated themselves from others in their industry. Achievements can include, but are not limited to the invention, design, production, performance, marketing and distribution of their product or service. 


The nominations or selections for ABA 2017 can be made via one the following channels:

* Automatic nominations from national level ABAs;
* Application through national gateways; and
* Online applications, either through the website of ABIS or ASEAN-BAC

With regard to application to be made through national gateways, auditors in respective countries are expected to work with national gateways in determining the nominations or selections for ABA. In terms of online applications, appointed auditors’ office in Philippines will take the coordinating role to vet online applications. Auditors are also expected to formulate simple application process, preferably based on the standard of evaluation already accepted in ASEAN.

ASEAN BAC Sponsors