Inaugural Cradle Open Day 2024 shines light on Sabah’s startup ecosystem

  • Collaboration with SCENIC brings Cradle one step closer to state’s ecosystem
  • Rising numbers of startups originating from Sabah participate in MYStartup portal  

The Cradle Open Day 2024 was a one-day tech conversation and networking event, in conjunction with Kinabalu Startup Bootcamp in Sabah. Norman Matthieu Vanhaecke (3rd from left), Cradle Group CEO, participated in the event as well.

Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, Malaysia’s focal point agency for startup ecosystem under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), initiated the inaugural Cradle Open Day 2024 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah on 19 March with the aim to stimulate the creation of high-impact startups across Malaysia.

In collaboration with Sabah Creative Economy and Innovation Centre (SCENIC), Cradle Open Day is a one-day tech conversation and networking event hosted in conjunction with Kinabalu Startup Bootcamp, seeking to enhance opportunities for startups and entrepreneurs in the region.

Norman Matthieu Vanhaecke, Cradle Group CEO, emphasized the critical role of local startups in advancing entrepreneurial ecosystems in various regions across Malaysia.

“At the core of our mission lies the ambition to elevate the number of impactful startups in the country while creating a globalised, high-performing, inclusive, and sustainable ecosystem for the country. In collaboration with SCENIC, our aim today is to bring Cradle one step closer to the startup ecosystem in Sabah, extending support to those at various stages of their entrepreneurial journey,” Norman said.

The event marked Cradle’s return to Sabah following the conclusion of MYStartup NXT, a capacity-building programme under the MYStartup initiative, held in Kota Kinabalu last Nov. As of Feb 2024, the MYStartup portal has facilitated more than 3,600 startups with over 1,000 connections to investors, with a rising numbers of startups originating from Sabah.

Of note, Cradle said, is rising international interest in Malaysia’s startup ecosystem where the MYStartup portal saw 10% of the over 130,000 visits originating from global demographics. Furthermore, 6,170 startups have benefitted through capacity-building programmes such as accelerators, pre-accelerators, and hackathons under Cradle as of end-2023.

Cradle Open Day with the focus of Funding & AgriTech featured an engaging panel discussion titled, “Beyond the Pitch: Cracking the Code of Funding & Talent Acquisition” with speakers from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Sabah (KSTI) Elevate Academy and Cradle. This was followed by a fireside chat “Innovations in AgriTech: Transforming Sabah’s Agricultural Landscape”, joined by representatives from SCENIC and Sabahan startup AgriData Portal.

In addition, existing and aspiring startups had the chance to connect with representatives from Cradle and network with other local startups, including those planning to scale their existing ventures.

The event concluded with three startups– Rare is Real, Reviewbah, and AgroDaya, receiving US$528 (RM2,500) each in recognition of their innovative ideas. Moving forward, Cradle reaffirmed its commitment to encourage the creation of impactful startups through organising a series of engagements with the ecosystem, such as this Open Day, in line with its aim to be among the top 20 global startup ecosystems by 2030.

For more information about Cradle, please visit


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