Coach and Grow Programme in Malaysia delivers outstanding impact with 163% average revenue growth from Cohort 5
By Digital News Asia August 14, 2021
- 10 year public-private Cradle & Proficeo collaboration proves itself again
- Best ever cohort in terms of calibre, resilience & true entrepreneurship spirit
Known in the Malaysian ecosystem as the best C-suite intervention programme, the Coach & Grow Programme (CGP) has proven itself once again with its current cohort of graduating companies.
The CGP is a public-private partnership between Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, Malaysia’s leading early stage influencer and industry partner, Proficeo Consultants Sdn Bhd, and is designed to bring together key players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to support and fortify technology entrepreneurs to scale their businesses to greater heights.
Launched in the midst of the 1st Movement Control Order in 2020, Season 5 or Cohort 5 of the programme came at an opportune time helping 108 companies navigate the unprecedented changing economic and business landscape that came as an aftershock to the pandemic that shook the world.
“When we started, MCO 1.0 was just launched. Many of the companies were still reeling from trying to figure out how to move into virtual business mode, Work-from-Home, keeping customers happy etc. Even all of us at Proficeo had to find solutions to coordinate and run the program virtually. It was chaos in the beginning but I knew we had to persevere because more than ever the entrepreneurs needed us to help them survive and pivot,” said Renuka Sena, CEO and cofounder of Proficeo.
The economic impact of the pandemic has shifted dynamics in society from the way we live, work, play and how consumers and businesses spend their money. The dramatic shifts that have been taking place and will continue to take place has forced companies to rethink their go-to-market and scaling models. “What used to work in the past was no longer a certainty,” she added.
Case in point, AI Smartual that came into the programme with an e-learning platform for students and teachers. Some may say that it was perfect timing for their product as students, teachers and parents were forced to use e-learning platforms as a tool to facilitate learning during the lockdown. The industry was ready and looking for solutions but it was wrong timing for AI Smartual as their product was new and untested.
To give credit to the founder, they did try but the e-learning space was busy and competitive and they struggled. CGP coaches and mentors worked with AI Smartual to rethink how to utilise their asset to capture a niche market. As it happened, the founder David Cheng had vast experience with listed companies and handling investor relations. Additionally he had good networks and credibility in this market segment.
As such, six months into the programme the company launched their e-AGM solution into the market, and from being on the verge of giving up AI Smartual is now solidly booked out for the rest of the year and generating revenue in excess of US$47,400 (RM200,000).
AI Smartual is one of the many compelling business turnaround stories. In fact the average revenue growth rate of the CGP5 companies stands at 163% - an incredible feat in view of the ensuing economic lockdown that has plagued the country since 2020. “Despite a highly challenging year, these companies with the help of their coaches not only survived but also increased their total cumulative sales by US$16.1 million (RM68 million),” said Rafiza Ghazali (pic), Group CEO of Cradle. “For 108 companies to chalk up a total of RM176 million sales in 12 months against RM108 million achieved in the preceding 12 months is tough enough under normal circumstances but during a pandemic is just inspiring. I’m sure all the CGP5 Graduates are extremely grateful for the support they received through CGP,” she added.
[RM1 = US$0.237]
Rewarded for their achievements, companies that were outstanding in the various industry verticals were recognised for their achievements during the virtual graduation ceremony. A notable award recipient was Women Entrepreneur of the Year, Rena Rifaee, cofounder of Natugee, who overcame personal and business challenges to grow her business by 650% since joining the CGP.
Unlike the previous cohorts, this time around companies and founders were also assessed and rewarded for their resilience, persistence and contributions to the ecosystem during Covid-19. Cradle and Proficeo social media channels were abuzz over the past couple of weeks with “Road to Graduation” content honouring startups in categories like “Tech-for-Good” recognising startups creating social impact; “Empowerment platforms” for women, youth, seniors and e-commerce; “Covid Game Changers” for companies that are disrupting their industries and “Future-Tech” for companies in the forefront of AI, Robotics, AR/VR and Nanotechnology.
“It was a tough year and so many of the companies in this Cohort worked hard and rose to the challenge so we thought the very least we could do was to recognise their achievements,” said Renuka. “I would give them all an award if I could because this Cohort was definitely the best ever in terms of calibre, resilience and true entrepreneurship spirit,” she added proudly.
Now a decade old, the graduating cohort will join the CGP alumni network making up a total of 577 companies. They will join the ranks of notable alumni such as iPay88, Easyparcel, Babydash, JomParking, Signature Market, Dropee and Doctor-on-Call.
You can learn more about the graduating companies here.
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