GEM’s US$100k Asean challenge for that breakout idea

  • Three programmes in 2017 to drive tech innovation and scale-ups
  • GEM aims to achieve ‘democratic entrepreneurship’, lift Malaysia

GEM’s US$100k Asean challenge for that breakout idea

THE Global Entrepreneurship Movement (GEM) marked its first anniversary on 10 March with a celebration and announcements of its upcoming initiatives to fund and help build startups.

Addressing a packed audience which included a couple of corporate CEOs, GEM’s patron Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, also the Malaysian secretary general of Treasury, announced three new GEM programmes.

The first is CollosusINNO2017, a challenge open to residents of all ASEAN countries that carries a prize of US$100,000 (RM445,300). The purpose of CollosusINNO2017 is to inspire entrepreneurs to find breakout innovative solutions to problems. The prize money is to be used to further the winner's product development. More importantly, winners will also be linked to government-linked companies or multinationals for possible commercial opportunities.

The innovation focus of CollosusINNO2017 can be traced to a pain point in Malaysia where Irwan notes that Malaysian companies, be they SMEs or larger companies, do not want to innovate and transform because of the abundance of cheap migrant labour in the country.

“We are looking for breakthrough technologies, a new creation that is going to shape the whole region,” he says.

The second programme is the 10xClub, which will choose 10 startups which hit at least RM1 million (US$225,000) revenue in their first year with GEM working to help them scale further. The panel that chooses the 10 startups will consist of Irwan, SME Corp, MaGIC, certain financial institutions and successful entrepreneurs from the private sector.

According to Irwan, the government will aid these startups by giving them priority in such matters as bids for government contracts, as well as in making relevant connections, including financial connections for funding needs.

“We are going to support these startups and entrepreneurs to make them into future millionaires,” he says.GEM’s US$100k Asean challenge for that breakout idea

The third initiative is the launch of the Global Entrepreneurship Magazine, where entrepreneurship success stories will be featured. The magazine, which will be published in print and digitally, will act as a resource for aspiring entrepreneurs for tips, skills and trends.

“The magazine will promote Malaysian entrepreneurs to the world,” says Irwan.

GEM, a non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation steered by industry leaders, aims to achieve ‘democratic entrepreneurship’ by aligning the various entrepreneurship communities with all current private and public sector entrepreneurial initiatives. Its stated aim is to lift the Malaysian entrepreneurial ecosystem into the global marketplace.

GEM’s president Dhakshinamoorthy 'Dash ' Balakrishnan says that young entrepreneurs face a credibility gap where the lack of experience when they first start out works against them as other market players are reluctant to work with unproven ideas, business models or entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurs are truth-seekers. What GEM does is bring together new entrepreneurs with people who have experience. Entrepreneurship is no longer the domain of the lone champion. It’s a community effort now,” he says.

More details about CollosusINNO2017 and 10xClub will be announced in June.

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