Many tech startup gems in Malaysia: Proficeo
By Goh Thean Eu December 2, 2014
- Good for local ecosystem if more people were aware of the good companies
- Entrepreneurs should look at foreign partnerships as they expand abroad
MALAYSIANS have every reason to be proud of local startups and technology entrepreneurs as many of them are doing a great job locally and internationally, according to Proficeo Consultants Sdn Bhd.
Proficeo, which specialises in coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs in the tech ecosystem, said that many Malaysians were still unaware that there are many local companies which have achieved success in the international arena.
“We shouldn’t be asking ‘Where are the companies?' because we do have great companies, and they are here,” Proficeo chief evangelist Dr V. Sivapalan (pic) told a media conference after the 2014 Coach and Grow Programme (CGP) Awards last week.
He said that some of these good companies are part of the CGP programme, which Proficeo manages for Cradle Fund, the Ministry of Finance agency.
The CGP is a ‘market-driven’ coaching programme aimed at bringing together key players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to support and help technology entrepreneurs grow their business. It caters not only for startups, but also companies at the growth and global stages.
So far, two editions of the CGP have been completed, with the third CGP coming on-stream sometime next year.
During the recently concluded CGP, several companies were recognised for their achievements.
These include Flexiroam Sdn Bhd, which provides affordable international mobile roaming solutions for travellers, and which won the Best Team award during CGP2; Tapway, which offers location-based analytics servicers and was named Most Progressive Startup; Free The Seed, one of the three winners for the Most Innovative Product award, which uses technology to convert agricultural waste into recyclable packaging materials; and more.
“Malaysians need to know that we have great companies in the country. We have companies that are very innovative. We also have companies that are selling products and solutions to big firms like Apple, Honda, and others,” Sivapalan argued.
Other companies that were highlighted during the CGP Awards include Tootpay Sdn Bhd, SportsBoleh, Juris Technologies, Pulsar UAV, Tableapp, Radica Software and Mobile Waiter.
Foreign tie-ups help global expansion
Meanwhile, Sivapalan also highlighted the difficulties and challenges a company can face when expanding overseas, and how these challenges can be overcome with the help of a strong partnership with a foreign party.
He said that with a foreign partner on board, companies can fast-track their expansion plans as the foreign partner will have deeper insight into market trends and culture in its home market, as well as be able to provide networking opportunities.
“Let's say you want to expand to Estonia. By having someone from Estonia on board, you will not only able to understand the market well, but this also opens the door to expand to neighbouring countries and the region [such as Russia and Latvia],” said Sivapalan.
Hopefully sometime next year, thanks to government initiatives, Malaysia may see more foreign entrepreneurs setting up business in the country.
During the Budget 2015 proposal that was tabled two months ago, Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the Government plans to make the country the location of choice for startups in the region.
These initiatives include setting the paid-up capital for startups at RM75,000 (US$22,400) and offering one-year work passes to eligible expatriate startup entrepreneurs.
These initiatives are believed to be part of the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC)’s upcoming programmes, including its Asean Accelerator that was based on the successful Startup Chile programme.
Under the country’s current regulations, should an expatriate want to work in Malaysia, the company he is attached to has to have a minimum paid-up capital of RM500,000 (approximately US$150,000) if it is a 100% foreign-owned company, or RM350,000 (US$105,000) if it has a mix of local and foreign ownership.
“While some see this as increased competition, I would encourage local entrepreneurs to see it as an opportunity to partner or to tie-up with foreign entrepreneurs,” said Sivapalan.
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