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MaGIC, MDEC and industry partner launch initiative for tech start-ups

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) in partnership with the Malaysian branch of an American multinational technology company have launched the “Highway to a 100 Unicorns” initiative, which is part of a joint initiative to empower local start-ups and strengthen Malaysia’s start-up ecosystem.

Eligible start-ups will gain access to focused workshops on business and technology, as well as monthly knowledge-sharing webinars with the global start-up community. Additionally, the top start-ups from Malaysia will stand to gain from a year-long mentorship program, access to enterprise clients, as well as engagement opportunities with the firm’s experts and industry leaders.

The Managing Director of the tech firm’s Malaysia arm stated that the country has a vibrant start-up ecosystem, and they play a vital role in the economy as innovators, disruptors. In partnering with MDEC and MaGIC, the firm introduced the ‘Highway to a 100 Unicorns’ initiative in Malaysia.

The initiative is part of the firm’s collective commitment to empowering local start-ups with the right technology and expertise, enabling them to scale and achieve more globally. The start-ups could potentially become tomorrow’s unicorns, helping to shape economic recovery and resilience and build a stronger long-term future in Malaysia.

The Chief Executive Officer of MDEC stated that Kuala Lumpur has been ranked 11th among emerging start-up ecosystems in the world by Startup Genome, which adds to the confidence that Malaysia is primed to be the preferred land and expansion base for the best innovators and tech start-ups regionally.

As the spearhead of Malaysia’s digital economy, the CEO highlighted that MDEC is firmly committed to assisting tech start-ups in their fundraising journey, global market expansion, and forging corporate partnerships to entrench Malaysia, “as the Heart of Digital ASEAN.”

The CEO of MaGIC noted that the Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative is in line with their commitment to driving the development of a sustainable start-up and social enterprise ecosystem in Malaysia.

While steady growth has been witnessed over the years, the entire ecosystem has been challenged to innovate and accelerate its growth at a much faster pace in recent times. This initiative presents an exciting opportunity for Malaysian innovators and founders to scale and move beyond borders, through global collaborations, as well as industry-led mentorship and guidance.

Starting point

To be considered for the initiative, start-ups will first have to apply to the Emerge X competition. There are three criteria for Emerge X, which are:

  1. Business-to-Business companies with product-market fit, revenue-generating with at least 3-4 clients.
  2. Business-to-Consumer companies with a large customer base (upward of 100K customers) and are revenue-generating.
  3. Funding is a plus.

All Emerge X start-ups will be awarded free GitHub and Azure credits and focused business and technology workshops.

The top finalists from Malaysia will be announced in November, joining other shortlisted innovators and entrepreneurs from 16 other Asia Pacific countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.

Additionally, the finalists will benefit from a year-long mentorship with technical and business deep dives, a Founder Bootcamp over 3 days, access to enterprise clients globally through Microsoft’s unique co-sell program as well as opportunities to interact with Microsoft experts and industry stalwarts.

The Highway to Unicorn programme was first launched by the firm for start-ups in India, where only 56 start-ups were selected to the Emerge X program from six states, which have over 15,000 start-ups. The Emerge X winners have greatly benefited from global market access support, a 3-day founder bootcamp with world-class mentors, access to funding, ongoing mentorship, and guidance on Azure, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more. Following the success, the programme has been extended to the Asia Pacific region.

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