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MDEC launches funding initiative to empower tech start-ups

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) announced the launch of the Founders Grindstone, its sixth funding initiative in four months.

This comes after the facilitation of five alternative funding initiatives for companies seeking financial relief during the Movement Control Order that was implemented on 18 March 2020.

The Founders Grindstone is a six-month programme, consisting of three blocks of intensive workshops conducted by global partners from venture capital firms, equity crowdfunding operators, startup-centric media and the legal practice.

It also aims to offer the opportunity to leverage funding platforms of the partners on-board, granting Malaysian entrepreneurs’ access to investment offerings by the global funding network.

The first block of workshops will be conducted virtually by MDEC and Draper Startup House Ventures (DSH) on July 15. Participants will be guided on the creation of effective pitch decks and the art of storytelling.

Following the workshop, participating start-ups will be eligible to submit their pitch decks on the DSH Ventures platform where 20 chosen start-ups will be invited to pitch in the coming weeks.

Part of the programme, Izwan & Partners will be running an enrichment workshop, July 29 to address the legalities involved in the funding process.

MDEC’s Chief Executive Officer stated that Founders Grindstone will up the ante in a post-seed startup landscape. As the nation focuses on scaling digitally-powered businesses, the government is thrilled to draw on the collective experience of Draper Startup House and top-echelon partners to provide stewardship and tactical advice to Malaysia’s tech entrepreneurs.

Tech start-ups are undeniably the key drivers of digital transformation worldwide. Going digital is no longer a corporate mantra but part of lifestyle today, from contactless transactions at work and leisure, to e-learning in schools, digital ID at dwellings, remote-working solutions, e-wallets and many more, MDEC’s Global Growth Acceleration Division Vice-President added.

Registration is now open and additional information is available on the website.

Developing local digital talent

The Founder Grindstone appears to complement efforts to drive Malaysia’s digital talent development and workforce upskilling which have received global recognition.

The recent Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2020 (GTCI 2020), a report by INSEAD University, Google and Adecco produced to track and measure talent performances across 88 countries, shows that Malaysia rose from to 26th place from 28th in last year’s ranking. This is the country’s highest-ever ranking.

Malaysia scored strongly in the Enable, Attract, and Vocational and Technical Skills pillars. Besides that, it improved its ranking in the Retain pillar, as OpenGov Asia earlier reported.

Malaysia also ranks 6th globally for Employability, besides placing high in two sub-pillars relating to talent enablement – namely Business and Labour Landscape (13th) and Market Landscape (22nd).

These achievements reinforce the fact that Malaysia is on the right track to develop industry-ready digital talent.

The country must continue to level up our workforce and provide a conducive environment for digital innovation and creativity to thrive, the Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) had said.

More importantly, businesses now need such talents as entire industries must be digitalised as the global economy explores a new norm for a post-COVID-19 period.

This is where Malaysia’s digital talent development, digital adoption and global growth accelerator programmes for high potential local companies will play a key role in upskilling the nation’s talent to the next level.

It should also be noted that in the new GTCI 2020 ranking, Malaysia is the only country from the Upper-Middle income bracket that is in the top quartile of the report, outperforming high-income countries in the list such as China, South Korea, Spain and Portugal.

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