After announcing the launch of their Highway to a 100 Unicorns in Asia Pacific, Microsoft Malaysia has teamed with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) to strengthen the nation’s startup ecosystem.
Successful startups will stand to gain from an intensive 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 and first-movers. We are excited to be partnering with MDEC and MaGIC to introduce the ‘Highway to a 100 Unicorns’ initiative in Malaysia,” said K Raman, the Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia.
Eligible startups will gain access to focused workshops on business and technology, as well as monthly knowledge-sharing webinars with the global startup community.
Our local startups can potentially become tomorrow’s unicorns, helping to shape our economic recovery and resilience, and build a stronger long-term future in Malaysia,” added Mr. Raman.
Kuala Lumpur has been recognised as the 11th emerging startup ecosystem in the world by Startup Genome, adding to confidence that Malaysia is primed to be the preferred ‘land and expand’ base for the best innovators and tech startups regionally.
“The commitment of corporations such as Microsoft will further strengthen international investor confidence by bringing in the wealth of market knowledge, resources and a vast network of clients,” said Surina Shukri, Chief Executive Officer of MDEC.
To be considered, startups will first have to submit an application for Emerge X competitions in their countries. Business-to-business startups must have a product-market fit and revenue generating with at least three to four clients. Business-to-customer startups should have a large customer base with upwards of 100,000 customers, and are revenue generating.
The top finalists from Malaysia will be announced in November, joining other shortlisted innovators and entrepreneurs from 16 other Asia Pacific countries, including Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
“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,” said Dzuleira Abu Bakar, the Chief Executive Officer of MaGIC.
Finalists will benefit from a year-long mentorship with technical and business deep dives, a Founder Bootcamp over three 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.
“This initiative presents an exciting opportunity for our local innovators and founders to scale and move beyond our borders, through global collaborations, as well as industry-led mentorship and guidance,” added Ms. Abu Bakar.
The Highway to a 100 Unicorns programme was first launched by Microsoft for Startups in India, where only 56 startups were selected from six states, which have over 15,000 startups.
Following the success, the program has been extended to Asia Pacific, to discover and nurture the region’s technology startups with a high potential to become truly global enterprises in the future.