Spurring Malaysian start-ups to “think big”

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startup

There are more start-ups now than ever that focus on the ASEAN region, but not many have started to think globally.

The government of Malaysia has done various things to incentivise the start-up ecosystem, from giving out grants of commercialization of RM500,000 under the “Cradle Fund,” to working with incubators and think-tanks that come up with strategies to spur start-ups into the above-$100 million league.

The latest D-Code and AngelHack events, both hackathons, were oversubscribed, and this is just the first year Malaysia is getting its hands into the scene. More incubators are springing up in Malaysia, from familiar names, such as Founders Institute and Bootstrap Accelerator, to locally grown ones, such as LEET.

The tax incentive in Malaysia for an IT company is also tempting. The government currently offers 100 per cent pioneer tax-free status to all companies who apply through the MSC/MDEC agency. We are talking about a 27 per cent saving of net revenues in the first 10 years of any innovating start-up company. With the government (Ministry of Finance, Innovation Agency) constantly in dialogue with entrepreneurs to see what we need in order to make the next leap and bringing in mentors/advisors/investors from abroad, the ecosystem is going through a phase of activation and growth.

What is potentially still lacking is enough experienced advisors and mentors (across diverse fields) to help the early-stage start-ups to propel themselves into the next level. I made an observation in Silicon Valley while I was there (maybe it was just SV that is a special place in this whole world) and found that people really went out of their way to make an introduction for us at Piktochart (the online infographic tool that I co-founded). It was eye-opening to see that.

The main fuel for any start-up is talent and this remains to be an area of interest in Malaysia.

Piktochart has chosen Penang as its home base (the location is close to as idyllic as Bali sounds), because of the diligent talent pool that is available, lower cash-burn rates and an amazing work life balance. Malaysia in general possesses significant talent, who converses well in English, are highly educated and diverse.

What I find that generally lacks in the workforce is a lack of that all elusive “THINK BIG” mindset, as well as the lack of soft skills (although we are seeing some improvement in that respect). I personally look up to some founders who are in the scene including iMoney.my, Mindvalley and Says.com for their fast growth, powered by brilliant minds executing really good strategies.

It is the hope of many that activities will be carried out at the grassroots level to stimulate the minds of young Malaysians to continue dreaming big, be passionate about coding/designing/founding their own start-ups in the future.

This has fueled the economy of many other countries and it is now time for Malaysia to wake up to the movement of “stay lean and be agile.”

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Reading Time: 2 minutes

startup

There are more start-ups now than ever that focus on the ASEAN region, but not many have started to think globally.

The government of Malaysia has done various things to incentivise the start-up ecosystem, from giving out grants of commercialization of RM500,000 under the “Cradle Fund,” to working with incubators and think-tanks that come up with strategies to spur start-ups into the above-$100 million league.

The latest D-Code and AngelHack events, both hackathons, were oversubscribed, and this is just the first year Malaysia is getting its hands into the scene. More incubators are springing up in Malaysia, from familiar names, such as Founders Institute and Bootstrap Accelerator, to locally grown ones, such as LEET.

The tax incentive in Malaysia for an IT company is also tempting. The government currently offers 100 per cent pioneer tax-free status to all companies who apply through the MSC/MDEC agency. We are talking about a 27 per cent saving of net revenues in the first 10 years of any innovating start-up company. With the government (Ministry of Finance, Innovation Agency) constantly in dialogue with entrepreneurs to see what we need in order to make the next leap and bringing in mentors/advisors/investors from abroad, the ecosystem is going through a phase of activation and growth.

What is potentially still lacking is enough experienced advisors and mentors (across diverse fields) to help the early-stage start-ups to propel themselves into the next level. I made an observation in Silicon Valley while I was there (maybe it was just SV that is a special place in this whole world) and found that people really went out of their way to make an introduction for us at Piktochart (the online infographic tool that I co-founded). It was eye-opening to see that.

The main fuel for any start-up is talent and this remains to be an area of interest in Malaysia.

Piktochart has chosen Penang as its home base (the location is close to as idyllic as Bali sounds), because of the diligent talent pool that is available, lower cash-burn rates and an amazing work life balance. Malaysia in general possesses significant talent, who converses well in English, are highly educated and diverse.

What I find that generally lacks in the workforce is a lack of that all elusive “THINK BIG” mindset, as well as the lack of soft skills (although we are seeing some improvement in that respect). I personally look up to some founders who are in the scene including iMoney.my, Mindvalley and Says.com for their fast growth, powered by brilliant minds executing really good strategies.

It is the hope of many that activities will be carried out at the grassroots level to stimulate the minds of young Malaysians to continue dreaming big, be passionate about coding/designing/founding their own start-ups in the future.

This has fueled the economy of many other countries and it is now time for Malaysia to wake up to the movement of “stay lean and be agile.”

 

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