Week in Review: The entrepreneur’s journey and MaGIC

  • You can make the right bet when all the elements are lined up, and still fail
  • MaGIC programmes can make a difference; agency will rethink them if not

Week in Review: The entrepreneur’s journey and MaGICAS an entrepreneur, you can sometimes tick all the right boxes and still find success elusive.
 
For instance, Wemel Cumavoo and his wife Rani Wemel made the right bet, but will it be enough for them to build a successful business?
 
The duo launched a mobile education startup LTT Global back in 2004, based on an article Wemel read in 2002, predicting there would be more handphones than computers.
 
And with all the brouhaha back then about the dropping standards of English, they started out focusing on providing English lessons.
 
Clearly they made the right bet on the platform and service they wished to deliver. In fact, that platform has become even more powerful today, with smartphones all the rage and ever more pervasive.
 
Just today we ran the highlights of a report issued by GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of the GSM Association, which predicts that smartphones will account for two out of every three mobile connections globally by 2020.
 
The new study, Smartphone forecasts and assumptions, 2007-2020, finds that smartphones account for one in three mobile connections today, representing more than two billion mobile connections.
 
But the fact that LTT Global is still struggling for market acceptance of mobile learning, especially the corporate market, shows that even if you make the right bet on a platform, and have built a product that has been validated – in this case, by a university – commercial success can still prove elusive.
 
But Wemel and Rani duo are undaunted and still energised by their vision of making learning fun, accessible and affordable for all.
 
I am wondering what kind of impact Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) may have had on their chances if it had been around when the couple first started – not from a funding aspect or even helping match them to potential customers, but from the aspect of equipping them with the tools and resources to become better entrepreneurs.
 
Because that is what MaGIC is all about. As its chief executive officer Cheryl Yeoh told Digital News Asia’s A. Asohan, “We’re an intermediary [run by entrepreneurs] to bridge the gap between what entrepreneurs really, really need; and then connect them to all the resources provided by the Government.”
 
You can read more on that in this superb article and its accompanying second part, but what I am really looking forward to are the various programmes MaGIC will be introducing that would help entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs-to-be out there make better decisions around their business and everything that this entails.
 
And because Yeoh plans to run it like the entrepreneur she is, expect MaGIC and its team to make changes to programmes and drop those which are not working, and not be afraid to admit that some of their programmes perhaps did not meet a market fit as they had initially thought.
 
Across the world, it has been said that because technology is getting cheaper, this is the best time to become an entrepreneur.
 
I think in Malaysia, with MaGIC about to shift up a gear, the coming years are going to be a sweet spot for those brave and motivated enough to take the plunge into the exciting world of entrepreneurship.
 
Editor’s Picks:
 
The struggle to monetise online content facing new challenges
 
CEO Cheryl Yeoh lays out MaGIC’s ingredients
 
Internet governance: Time for Asean to step up
 
Stellar first-half performance by Nasdaq-bound MOL Global
 
Will HeiTech Padu return to the black this year?
 
LTT Global aims to deliver ‘education for all’ via mobile
 
The gender gap in STEM
 
 
Previous Instalments:
 
Week in Review: Leveraging public funds to raise private money
 
Week in Review: Competition and mitigation strategies
 
Week in Review: No more love
 
Week in Review: Of dotcom business models
 
Week in Review: Don’t let IP issues bite you in the rear

 
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