Mother of all entrepreneur festivals at MaGIC’s launch

  • Various activities designed to inspire, educate, promote
  • Catalyst to improve national ecosystem, change mindsets 
From left: Agil Faisal Ahmad Fadzil, president, Young Entrepreneur Organization Malaysia; Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, secretary-general, Ministry of Finance; Jasmine Hor, co-founder & CEO, Gizwiz Studio and Dhakshinamoorthy Balakrishnan, founder, Startup Malaysia.

THOSE who work with him on the MaGIC (Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre) project will tell you that it is more than just a project to him. It is a mission he has almost made personal, indeed at times calling it “my MaGIC.”
And so it was that at a media event yesterday (April 7), Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah (pic above), secretary-general of the Ministry of Finance, claimed that as a policy maker in the government he has helped create many millionaires, “but … I told the Prime Minister, if you want to create a high income economy, this is the way to go – building entrepreneurs.”
Irwan’s passion comes through in the manner he talks about MaGIC and his hopes for it. “The creation of MaGIC will be the catalyst to change the ecosystem. Through this place will we create the future entrepreneurs of Malaysia.”
To be sure, there is going to be a lot of hard work to be done between now and when Irwan’s dream comes true. And he is betting a lot on MaGIC being the catalyst to not just improve the ecosystem of creating and supporting tech and social entrepreneurs but also changing the existing mentality of entrepreneurs.
“It needs to be changed to move to the next level,” he says.
But for now, he is focused on pulling off the mother of all entrepreneur festivals in Cyberjaya come the weekend of April 25 when MaGIC will be launched by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and where he hopes United States President, Barack Obama will make an appearance before the expected 7,000 youth that are expected to take part in the various festivities and entrepreneur focused activities which will end with a concert under the stars.
A plethora of activities centred around entrepreneurship will be happening or culminating over that weekend. Digital News Asia (DNA) has already written about the crowd sourcing event. Another interesting event is the MaGIC Jr Pitch Program that hopes to inspire 300 secondary school children to experience what it’s like to be an entrepreneur.
The students will come from 50 schools and the 20 best ideas will be fine tuned before launching on pitchIN to enable the students to understand what entrepreneurs go through and for them to experience crowd validation with the top five ideas that get the highest pledges receiving a matching grant from MaGIC of up to RM5,000 and enjoying a further six months of coaching with the hope of creating a startup.
Speaking of startups, the launch week will also see a Mega Startup Weekend from Startup Malaysia. MaGIC is forming a partnership with Up Global (the main organisation who owns Startup Weekend), and Startup Malaysia is organising a Mega Startup Weekend which will have 300 partipants. The usual number is up to 110.
According to Dhakshinamoorthy ‘Dash’ Balakrishnan, Startup Malaysia founder and Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia (TeAM) president, this is the first Mega Startup Weekend in the region and will take place from April 24-27. Startup Weekend is an event where designers, developers and entrepreneurs from all domains come together to build startups, all over the course of 54 hours. There are three industry themes – education, gaming, and e-commerce.
The four day event will bring together over 300 Malaysians, aged 18 to 40 years old, and 20 UP Global mentors from seven continents. 
“As a follow up to Startup Weekend, we will be working with UP Global on the deep dive program ‘Startup NEXT’, a five week program for selected startups from this Mega Startup Weekend,” says Dash.
As of now, all 300 spots for Mega Startup Weekend have been taken up. However, Startup Malaysia has added more slots with registration closing on April 10, with the organisers specifically looking for more coders.
With all the activities leading up to MaGIC’s launch over the weekend of April 25, an understandably excited Irwan declares, “this is the time for me to do this [build an entrepreneurial ecosystem]. The window of opportunity is there.”
For more details on the events leading up to MaGIC’s launch, click here.


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