Nurturing the next generation of talent pool

The Cyberview Living Lab Accelerator (CLLA) programme is one that has nurtured 75 startups, raised over RM87 million in total investments and generated more than RM218 million in total revenue to date.

The programme has created more than 550 jobs with their partners and programme managers; 1337 Ventures, WatchTower and Friends, Infinite Ventures and Finnext Capital.

“The CLLA programme serves as a launchpad for start-ups to accelerate their growth, enabling them to test, pilot and validate their solutions using real-life settings throughout Cyberjaya.

Since the CLLA’s inception in 2013, the programme has come a long way, nurturing 80 start-ups to date and raising a total cumulative revenue of over RM200 million, as well as creating more than 500 employment opportunities,” Shafinaz Salim, Head of Technology Hub Development Division, Cyberview said.

“We are indeed very proud of what start-ups under our latest cohort of the CLLA programme have achieved. Despite the various challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought, this cohort’s participants have demonstrated great resilience and ingenuity in developing and deploying their solutions.

We hope that their success stories will inspire other up-and-coming start-ups to join our programme and contribute to Cyberjaya’s vibrant start-up ecosystem. As Cyberview continues to spearhead initiatives that cultivate innovation in Malaysia, we aspire for start-ups like these to not only strengthen our city’s tech ecosystem, but also support our nation’s agenda for tech and digital growth,” she added.

Two of the innovators from the programme, Yinxie Chew, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Internspoon and Nur Atiqah, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Creative Sandbox shared their journey as startups.

Internspoon is a platform that connects students and employers for internships, while Creative Sandbox is a platform for kids to unleash their potential in digital art and creative multimedia.

What inspired you to start your own business?

YC: I realised the market gap between employment and talent. I used to deal with SMEs and I find them struggling to get relevant candidates to join their organisation. Job portals are easier for big companies compared to small ones. So, that’s when we decided to make a presence in the universities to ensure students can explore the organisation and jobs.

NA: People are more concerned about academic performances and in the process, they put aside their children’s passion. So, I wanted to make sure children are able to bring out their creativity.

How Covid-19 has affected the business?

YC: It actually helped our business because many organisations froze hiring but were open to interns as they are more affordable. Interns are like white paper and they are ready to explore all kinds of job scope. The one thing we missed was the physical presence to engage in universities.

NA: There were no major effects but it was a wake-up-call when we had to go from offline to online. We changed a lot in terms of the way we operate. It is a plus because students from other states were able to attend our virtual classes. Basically, the pandemic made us restructure our business.

How did the Government help your business grow during these tough times?

YC: The PENJANA allocation by the Government really helped us. Through Cyberview, we are in talking terms with HRDF to be on board as their intern partner to help students and fresh grads.

NA: We were found by MDEC and they provided a lot of contacts to parents and programme partners. Although there were no funding, the network was really helpful in making our journey easier. It was indeed a huge channel that blasted out promo for our workshop.

How are you different from your competitors?

YC: We provide personalised relevant candidates for organisations to explore. Nowadays, people utilise social media to advertise, but we cannot validate them through those platforms. For example, the Graphic Designer pool is small. So, we at Internspoon get candidates with a graphic-related skill set even from other academic qualifications to apply. We provide a variety to organisations to explore more and it is also much safer for interns to apply.

NA: There are quite a number of Learning Management System (LMS) but mostly focusing on coding. But we are creating opportunities for art enthusiasts. We also provide programmes for trainers.

What are your plans for 2021?

YC: We will be focusing on platform integration services like rental platform and banking to help students build up their journey. Some students actually come from other states, and they need accommodation. We already have vendors to rent out for a few months to help.

NA: We plan to automate our business. Since the pandemic, we understand that our operations should transition from offline to online. We also want to focus more on welcoming new trainers and have more programmes.

What would be your advice to those wanting to start their own business?

YC: You will need to be prepared to face a lot of rejection before acceptance. So, mentally you need to be prepared to say goodbye to sleep as you’ll need to invest a lot of time to see your business grow.

Additionally, a good partner is needed to bounce ideas around. The journey might be challenging but it will be fulfilling. You just need to have a strong heart and passion to make this work.. Your resources (talent/network) are equally important.

NA: For those who are like me, with no family background in business, remember that you are the one in charge of your journey. Do not let others discourage you. Choose your journey wisely. When you have your personal idea, share it with your trusted friends and family and voice out your opinion.

Be sure to start first, even if you don’t have much prepared. Be ready and go for it because eventually you have to start somewhere. Then you can reach out for help to realise your idea.

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