MaGIC, MDEC and Microsoft launch the Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative
By Digital News Asia October 22, 2020
- Startups gain access to focused workshops and knowledge-sharing webinars
- Emerge X top finalists gain year-long mentorship; access to a Founder Bootcamp
Microsoft Malaysia, in partnership with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) have launched the “Highway to a 100 Unicorns” initiative, which is part of a joint initiative to empower local startups and strengthen Malaysia’s startup ecosystem.
Eligible startups will gain access to focused workshops on business and technology, as well as monthly knowledge-sharing webinars with the global startup community. Additionally, the top startups from Malaysia will stand to gain from a year-long mentorship program, access to enterprise clients, as well as engagement opportunities with Microsoft experts and industry leaders.
“Malaysia has a vibrant startup ecosystem, and they play a vital role in our economy as innovators, disruptors. We are excited to be partnering with MDEC and MaGIC to introduce the ‘Highway to a 100 Unicorns’ initiative in Malaysia,” says Microsoft Malaysia managing director K Raman.
“This is part of our collective commitment to empowering our startups with the right technology and expertise, enabling them to scale and achieve more globally. Our startups can potentially become tomorrow’s unicorns, helping to shape our economic recovery and resilience, and build a stronger long-term future in Malaysia.”
MDEC chief executive officer Surina Shukri says that Kuala Lumpur has been ranked 11th among emerging startup ecosystems in the world by Startup Genome, which adds to the confidence that Malaysia is primed to be, in her words, “the preferred land and expand base for the best innovators and tech startups regionally.”
As the spearhead of Malaysia’s digital economy, Surina points out that MDEC is firmly committed to assist tech startups in their fundraising journey, global market expansion, and forging corporate partnerships to entrench Malaysia, “as the Heart of Digital ASEAN.”
MaGIC CEO Dzuleira Abu Bakar says that the Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative is in line with their commitment to drive the development of a sustainable startup and social enterprise ecosystem in Malaysia.
“While we have witnessed steady growth over the years, the entire ecosystem has been challenged to innovate and accelerate its growth at a much faster pace in recent times. This initiative presents an exciting opportunity for our innovators and founders to scale and move beyond our borders, through global collaborations, as well as industry-led mentorship and guidance,” she adds.
To be considered for the initiative, startups will first have to submit an application for the Emerge X competition. There are three criteria for Emerge X, which are:
- Business-to-Business companies with product-market fit, revenue generating with at least 3-4 clients.
- Business-to-Consumer companies with a large customer base (upward of 100K customers) and are revenue generating.
- Funding is a plus.
All Emerge X startups will be awarded free GitHub and Azure credits and focused business and technology workshops.
The top finalists from Malaysia will be announced in November, joining other shortlisted innovators and entrepreneurs from 16 other Asia Pacific countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.
Additionally, the finalists will benefit from a year-long mentorship with technical and business deep dives, a Founder Bootcamp over 3 days, access to enterprise clients globally through Microsoft’s unique co-sell program as well as opportunities to interact with Microsoft experts and industry stalwarts.
The Highway to Unicorn programme was first launched by Microsoft for Startups in India, where only 56 startups were selected to the Emerge X program from six states, which have over 15,000 startups. The Emerge X winners have greatly benefited from global market access support, a 3-day founder bootcamp with world-class mentors, access to funding, ongoing mentorship, and guidance on Azure, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more.
Following the success, the programme has been extended to Asia Pacific.
Applications close on 31 Oct 2020. For more information, visit https://aka.ms/highway
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