- Unique mix of startups with 40% from outside the Klang Valley
- Impressed by entrepreneurial final year students running businesses while studying
WHAT does it take to be a successful startup? That is the million-dollar question many have been asking but for accelerator Code Army’s commander-in-chief Zafrul Noordin, he looks at three core traits: hard work, discipline and an eagerness to learn.
As the official regional partner of LEAN Startup Machine since 2015, Code Army promotes and trains entrepreneurs using The Lean Startup methodology and has observed many Asean founders.
“We have had the opportunity to travel and study the startup ecosystems across the world and have observed the behaviour of various founders and the culture of the local ecosystem. There is certainly a pattern that we recognise and that is how disciplined and hardworking entrepreneurs are the ones who make it,” he said, adding that it is those qualities that Code Army looks for when selecting startups for its accelerator.
Code Army’s alumni of startups include the likes of CanLaw, MyBump and Fundeavour.
The KNEO connection
As one of the accelerators selected under the Khazanah Nasional Entrepreneurship Outreach (KNEO) programme, Code Army has selected 10 startups to bring up to speed and take their ideas to the next level.
The startups include FinC, PMS Club, Solviepro Malaysia, Farmas Tech, Pikon, Contract Hero, LimbX, ZACC, Placento , Pinkcollar and Carsuka.
Zafrul believes that they have a unique mix of startups in their current cohort as it is not just about a mix between tech and non-tech startups but at least 40% of their cohort originate from outside Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley coming from Perak, Terengganu and Pahang.
The diversity in this cohort is one of the defining characteristics of Code Army’s pick as chief operating officer Riz Ainuddin cited the example of one startup, Farmas Tech which was started by Muhammad Salehin Kornain & Mohd Hasrizal students in Pahang who came up with the concept of acting as a supplier for local farmers, cutting out the middleman and sell fresh produce directly to customers.
Another interesting startup in Code Army’s cohort from Petak is Solviepro by Abdul Qayyum. Abdul Haiy, Mohd Ikmal, and Fateh, that focuses on connecting people, primarily students, in search of flexible work opportunities to earn some extra income.
Possibly one of the more interesting startups is LimbX is a startup that focuses on creating affordable 3D printed prosthetics to those in need. What started out as a project by Muhamad Hariz Hazwan Mohd Zarir, who is also a doctor, to supply prosthetics to amputees in Malaysia, his scope has widened to conflict-stricken Sri Lanka where he is helping more than 160,000 people with missing limbs.
Cultivating the spirit of entrepreneurship
Though some of the startups are just a few months old, Zafrul was particularly impressed that some of the entrepreneurs are still students who have been balancing their time running a business while sitting for their final year of university.
“These students are hitting above their weight class, competing with other more experienced entrepreneurs. It certainly is not easy studying while getting a business up and running, but that is the right kind of stuff that we like in these startups.
Part of this can be attributed to the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015 - 2025, that has inculcated the spirit of entrepreneurship into the students. In a sense, this new batch of students is not just coming out into the working world to look for a job but also be job creators in their own right.
Zafrul is excited to share and teach the Lean Startup methodology to a wider audience as it is inline with Code Army’s motivation to help startups gain a firm foundation and benefit the entire startup community in the long run and spread the methodology to as many entrepreneurs as possible.
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