To support the Malaysian startup ecosystem in their pursuit of success, Microsoft will be supporting the various accelerator programs launched by the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC), Selangor Information Technology & Digital Economy Corporation (Sidec) and Sunway iLabs, to fast-track the ecosystem’s growth and innovation.
With cloud technology becoming a critical enabler for success in the digital economy, Microsoft will be supporting participating startups through skilling efforts incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data. Participants will gain access to global resources and training paths offered by Microsoft. Additionally, Microsoft will be helping local startups to learn and build a solid cloud foundation with Microsoft Azure, whilst providing training on data migration and infrastructure building. Microsoft will also offer 1-on-1 consultation on technology architecture for selected entrepreneurs, assisting startups to embrace and accelerate cloud transformation.
“Startups play an essential role in supporting the growth of our nation’s economy,” said K Raman, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia. “Every successful business began as a startup, creating disruption through rapid innovation and paving the way for waves of transformation. As part of our Bersama Malaysia commitment, we’re excited to help our local entrepreneurs and startups further innovate and succeed. Our collaboration with MaGIC, Sidec and Sunway iLabs will provide Malaysian entrepreneurs with the opportunity to compete on a level playing field, whilst tapping into cloud technology and the possibilities it unlocks in the digital economy.”
Additionally, Microsoft has been announced as an official technology partner of the National Technology & Innovation Sandbox (NTIS). NTIS was launched in August 2020, providing a facility that allows startups and entrepreneurs to innovate and test products designed to help solve challenges faced by the nation. Microsoft provides a secure cloud environment through Microsoft Azure for startups to develop and test their products in a sandbox under the NTIS programme.
“At its core, MaGIC’s DNA is comprised of creativity and innovation – with a proven track record in the tech startup ecosystem to accelerate the realisation of Malaysia’s innovation policy agenda. Through the collaboration with Microsoft, we can push our innovative solutions beyond local shores. Adopting a perspective of creating solutions for the world is paramount, as we focus on a more holistic approach through our Global Accelerator Programme (GAP) which includes technological interventions, sustainability and adaptability. This is to ensure that our GAP startups, both local and foreign, are able to survive the challenging economic climate or any other crisis while gearing to expand into the global market,” said Amiruddin Abdul Shukor, Acting Chief Executive Officer of MaGIC.
“We are delighted to have Microsoft as one of our partners in our iLabs Super Accelerator program, as their mission is aligned with ours: building the startup ecosystem in Malaysia,” said Matt van Leeuwen, Chief Innovation Officer of Sunway Group. “We believe that giving entrepreneurs access to the right ingredients to succeed such as funding, market access, mentorship, and technology tools in a structured format is especially crucial in this day and age. It will not only speed up the development of pertinent solutions to address big problems that we are facing today, but will also contribute to building a robust talent pool to make Malaysia a leading digital nation in the region”.
Meanwhile, Sidec has been nurturing 90 startups since the Selangor Accelerator Programme (SAP) was launched in 2018. Out of the 90 startups, 43% received funding which is considered a high success rate for startups.
“We greatly appreciate Microsoft’s decision to be our strategic partner for our accelerator programme, providing mentors and extra workshops for our startups,” said Yong Kai Ping, Chief Executive Officer of Sidec. “This year’s SAP will focus on opportunities created under the new norms such as Agritech, Fintech, Greentech, e-Commerce and Smart City Solutions (Proptech, Mobility & Logistics). While traditional brick and mortar companies have been hit hard by the lockdowns, businesses related to these solutions are booming.”
Empowering the local startup scene
Microsoft has been actively partnering with the ecosystem enablers as part of the company’s commitment to empowering local startups and nurturing a vibrant and strong ecosystem in Malaysia. This is also in support of the nation’s MyDIGITAL blueprint, which aims to accelerate the growth of the local startup ecosystem and contribute to the creation of at least 5,000 startups by 2025. Public-private partnerships are critical to achieving this goal.
In 2020, Microsoft Malaysia launched the Highway to a 100 Unicorns programme in partnership with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), MaGIC, and Cradle Fund. Through this programme, 11 high-potential local startups are receiving a year-long mentorship programme with Microsoft for Startups to help them scale and accelerate their growth.
Microsoft has also supported MaGIC as its technology partner via the MyStartup Hub 2021 programme, and most recently with PixaLabs for the Kuala Lumpur Startup Summit 2021.