He is seen as an influencer by startup leaders from around the world
Malaysians can leverage on his global connectivity to launch their ventures
“IT starts here,” said Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, pointing to his heart. “You have to believe that you can make a difference. Believe that you can be bold, brave and be audacious and we will support you all the way,” promised Najib to loud cheers from the thousands of youths gathered at the 1Malaysia Entrepreneur (1MeT) bootcamp, which is described as a social accelerator.
Najib had earlier officiated the opening of the much-anticipated Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) together with US Secretary of State John Kerry.
The traits Najib was extolling to his fellow Malaysian youth are in abundance in one Malaysian entrepreneur who 'believed' way back in 2008, when he became the country partner for the Global Entrepreneurship Week in Malaysia.
He has huge doses of boldness, audacity and bravery in him too, and this is Dhakshinamoorthy Balakrishnan, founder of StartupMalaysia.org and current president of the Technopreneur Association of Malaysia (TeAM).
Covering GES and attending the Global Startup Youth (GSY) and StartupNations meet-up, both of which were organised by Dash, as he is fondly known as, it is clear to me that he is a global connector and influencer in the startup space.
I have been guilty of thinking him as just a ‘jaguh kampung’ (home champion) and taking for granted that all the amazing programmes he has put together could be done by any other high-powered Malaysian.
I think I was wrong.
To wit, I was sitting in on the inaugural meet-up of StartupNations, where about 50 individuals who are leaders of the startup scene in their countries had gathered to exchange ideas about how they can move the agenda higher for startups into government priorities. They also spoke of how they can help each other advance their own startup movements.
After a few introductory words from Adam Steele, the chief operations officer (COO) of Startup Weekend which started in the United States but is now a global movement, he called out to Dash who was sitting in the back of the room. “Dash, you brought us all here. Tell us why.”
That was when my eyes opened up because in that room, there must have been startup leaders from at least 20 countries there and they considered Dash a key player in the global startup ecosystem.
I realised that we Malaysians are incredibly lucky that we have in Dash a Malaysian who is recognised by startup leaders around the world as a key player in the startup movement that is slowly gaining global momentum. All of us can leverage on that.
And it is no surprise that the single biggest objective of Dash in conceptualising and then organising Global Startup Youth is to help Malaysian entrepreneurs to connect with like-minded individuals from around the world, and to start believing that they can take their businesses global, if not now, some day.
But they must believe that they can, which was also the Prime Minister’s message.
And while Najib’s promise of supporting entrepreneurs has been happening for a long time in Malaysia, I sense we are going to see a much more concerted push by the Government to support entrepreneurship and startups.
I know in Digital News Asia (DNA) we define startups as those who launch a business around technology and that is understandable as we are a tech news portal. But the term startup is really describing the launch of a business using technology.
And Najib has said that the Malaysian government plans to set the right conditions for the sparks of entrepreneurship to flame wherever they are. He also announced the establishment of the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creative Centre or MaGIC in Cyberjaya, which will be a one-stop entre for entrepreneurs.
I am sure we will hear more about this in the Budget 2014 announcement and I am sure we will hear a lot more being done to ‘set the right conditions’ for entrepreneurship to flourish in Malaysia.
And with globally connected influencers like Dash in our midst, the future looks exciting and it is certainly achievable.
Finally, this week’s most read story was: ‘We’re here to solve the world’s biggest problems’
Have a good week ahead.
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