- Free technical and soft skills training on how to start your own business
- First intake Nov 16, applications close Nov 9 – and only meant for ‘average’ students
AFTER successfully training corporate types and entrepreneurs for about 10 years, Bikesh Lakhmichand (pic above) and his iTrain (M) Sdn Bhd are all set to take on a new challenge: Training young unemployed graduates to become successful entrepreneurs.
To do so, the iTrain group of companies – which includes Talent Intelligent (Soft Skills Training Malaysia) and 1337 Ventures – have tied up with Talent Corporation Malaysia Bhd (TalentCorp) to launch Leet Academy, which will offer its training for free.
The Academy, open to unemployed Malaysian graduates who are under 27 years old, will see its first intake on Nov 16.
“We will be taking 25 students at a time, 50 in total. So far, we have received over 30 applications,” Bikesh told Digital News Asia (DNA) in Kuala Lumpur recently.
These applicants are not automatically guaranteed a spot, as they will have to pass an interview before they can qualify for the programme.
And in a twist, the Academy is not open to those with good academic results.
“We are looking for those with a CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) of 2-3. We want to aim for average students, the ones who are young and hungry,” said Bikesh.
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The Leet Academy programme is funded by TalentCorp, an agency under the Prime Minister’s Department that is tasked with addressing the talent shortage and skills gap in the country.
Leet Academy classes, depending on the topics and syllabus, will be conducted by iTrain, Soft Skills Training Malaysia and/ or 1337 Ventures.
According to Bikesh, Leet Academy is unique as there is no other player offering a similar upskilling programme or technical bootcamp.
“There is actually nothing like this in the market,” he said, adding that the only opportunities available today were diploma or degree programmes, or “short courses on how to do some kind of online business, or how to do e-commerce, or how to code.”
“Here, you come in and say you want to start a business, but don’t know where to begin. We will teach you the ropes on validating the idea, going to market, soft skills, and more,” said Bikesh.
“So this is not the typical upskilling programme. It’s not a typical nine-week technical bootcamp. The programme is designed in such a way where we hope to create a well-balanced entrepreneur at the end,” he declared.
The Leet Academy programme comes in two parts. The first is a nine-week training course on four key areas: Soft skills, ‘alpha startups,’ app development, and starting a business.
The one-week soft skills training will cover communications skills, customer service, essential selling skills, as well as project management essentials.
Under ‘alpha startups,’ students will learn about developing a prototype or minimum viable product (MVP), validating it, marketing the prototype, and more; while app development will cover HTML5, Android and Java.
The second part of the nine-week training will have the students deciding between setting up their own business and working for a startup.
“We are going to give them a couple of options,” said Bikesh.
“Some will want to build a business, so they can be based in our (Alpha Startups) office with other startups to launch their ideas.
“We will supervise them, but that’s where they [and other entrepreneurs] can help each other out,” he added.
For those who prefer working for someone else at first, iTrain is teaming up with startups KFit and Be Malas in an internship programme.
KFit is the fitness sharing platform founded by former Groupon international vice president for Asia Pacific Joel Neoh, while Be Malas is a digital concierge services startup which landed US$500,000 in seed funding a mere month after it launched.
Going into these startups as interns will allow Leet Academy students to “get a taste of what it would be like working in a startup,” said Bikesh.
Whether or not Leet Academy will be expanded into a long-term programme will depend on how successful the pilot is.
“We have set very high goals for this programme,” Bikesh declared, adding that at least 90% of the 50 students must be able to sustain a job for a minimum of one year.
“For now, we are starting small with a pilot programme. If this works out well, then in 2016, we want to do this for the long-term.
“Just like Alpha Startups – we started small, and now we are running in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore,” he added, referring to 1337 Ventures’ pre-accelerator programme.
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