Ecosystem needs to be more connected for economy to thrive

  • Businesses drive an entrepreneurial nation with the government as a connector
  • Too many programmes focus on the post-startup stage but not ideation stage

 

Ecosystem needs to be more connected for economy to thrive

 

THE Cyberjaya Startup Summit 2019 (CSS2019), hosted by Pixalabs and The Launchpad carried the theme “Build Stuff That Matters” and attracted about 200 people.

Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) chief executive officer Dzuleira Abu Bakar (pic), delivered the keynote address highlighting the role of MaGIC as an ecosystem connector.

She highlighted Malaysia’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index 2018 at 35th place while its neighbour, Singapore came in at five.

With the belief that Malaysia’s ecosystem has all the “right ingredients” in terms of founders, thinking and people, Dzuleira is confident of Malaysia’s capability to catch up with Singapore. The missing link, however, is the lack of connectedness within the ecosystem.

“I think we are not connected as much as we think we are. Startups and entrepreneurs don’t tell us what they need or if they do, it may not be what they actually need,” she said.

Inbaraj Suppiah, the event organiser and co-founder of The Launchpad shared a similar sentiment based on feedback that there are too many startup networking events. “I think there are never enough because we need different kind of events for different kinds of people and different platforms for those at various stages.”

On the role of MaGIC, Dzuleira said there are gaps to fill: “We connect the dots and piece these pieces together. We are connecting the ecosystem to build something greater.”

However, although the government can facilitate connections, the onus of building businesses lies with the founders and companies themselves.

“We can provide the right platform and regulation to promote fair practices and good business environments. But beyond that, it is really the responsibility of the startups and entrepreneurs to grow their own businesses.”

“The backdrop of any entrepreneurial nation is really businesses. A thriving economy thrives on good businesses. In public private partnerships, the private bit has to be bigger than the public one,” she said.

Keeping the session interactive, she invited the audience to share their thoughts. Taking up the opportunity, the founder of StartupMalaysia.org, Dash Dhakshinamoorthy, shared one issue in particular that concerns him.

“A lot of agencies and programmes concentrate on the post-startup stage. There’s a huge gap in the pre-startup or ideation stage. The ideas are not strong enough,” he explained.

Speaking about the recently launched National Entrepreneurship Policy which aims to build resilient and global companies by 2030, Dzuleira said the outlook is positive based on the progress thus far. “I think it is achievable. We have grown by leaps and bounds in the past five years. The Malaysian ecosystem has seen the biggest change in this time span.”

 
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