Countdown begins to GES, Obama slated to attend
By Karamjit Singh July 8, 2013
Note: The White House has announced the President Obama will not be attending GES because of the US Government shutdown.
- 100-days to go for global event that celebrates entrepreneurship, with Obama expected to attend
- Malaysian Govt sees coding as embodiment of creativity and innovation
THE countdown has begun for what may be the most important technology event in Malaysia this year, the 4th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES 2013), which will be held in Kuala Lumpur from Oct 11-12.
US President Barack Obama, who will be in the region at the time for the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Bali and the East Asia Summit in Brunei, is expected to officiate at the event.
Obama first announced the GES in his now-famous ‘A New Beginning’ speech in Cairo in 2009, as part of an effort to engage the Muslim world, and hosted the first such summit in Washington DC the following year.
The event has grown to become a platform for business leaders, entrepreneurs and policy-makers to exchange views and ideas on how to encourage and facilitate entrepreneurship to improve economies and lives.
The KL event will be spearheaded by Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance (MoF). “We are very excited about the forthcoming 4th GES and the other events that will lead up to it,” said Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, the Secretary General of the Treasury at MoF.
“We hope Malaysian entrepreneurs and youth take full advantage of the many learning and sharing opportunities that will be available to them, to network and exchange ideas in a truly global platform,” he said on July 6 as he began the countdown to GES at D-Code Bootcamp 2013 (D-Code).
Acknowledging that without creativity and innovation Malaysia will not be able to achieve its high-income nation target, Irwan stressed the Government’s commitment to supporting all manner of innovation and creativity-based activities.
Saying that perhaps many good ideas do not leave the bedrooms of the creators, he added that more needed to be done to create a supporting environment for entrepreneurs and those at the ideation stage.
“You will see more of such support for the various innovation and creativity-based activities in Budget 2014,” he promised.
The theme for GES KL 2013, to be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC), is ‘Empowering and Connecting Entrepreneurs,’ and Irwan noted that initiatives such as D-Code were important in creating a critical mass of developers among Malaysian youth.
The 4th literacy
Organised by StartupMalaysia.org, D-Code is the brainchild of its founder Dhakshinamoorthy ‘Dash’ Balakrishnan, who also hopes to replicate the bootcamp across South-East Asia.
Thanks to the affordability of computing devices and the immersion of social media in our lives, coding is being touted as the fourth literacy after the 3Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic).
That was the reason why 500 people between the ages of 18 and 30 from around the country attended D’Code, which was conducted by four international facilitators from Silicon Valley and Perth, Australia.
“Coding is the language of the Internet and is crucial to creating the critical thinkers and problem solvers of tomorrow,” said Dash.
“Introducing coding skills to schools in Malaysia, and among our youth, will unleash the potential and plant the seeds of high-growth entrepreneurship in our young. This is the vision of StartupMalaysia.org – to airlift the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” he added.
D-Code Bootcamp is actually the second initiative under D-Code, the first being D-Code Camp 2013, a nationwide school programme delivered as a five-day residential camp involving approximately 1,620 primary and secondary school students as well as teachers.
According to Dash, 24 camps have and will be rolled out between May and November.
StartupMalaysia.org has partnered with Codecademy to provide these students and teachers with customised content for the camps. Codecademy is a US startup dedicated to teaching coding to all; its backers include Kleiner Perkins, CrunchFund and Richard Branson.
Both D-Code programmes are being supported by MoF agency Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, and participants did not have to pay to attend, thanks to funding from the ministry.
“Around the world, coding education is a pre-requisite for the power to create and innovate,” said Cradle CEO Nazrin Hassan.
“Programs like D-Code will help expand access to computer programming, which I hope will inspire more youths to explore education and career opportunities in technology.
“The exposure is not just about programming but fostering that desire to build imaginative things,” he added.
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