Microsoft, MDEC and MaGIC to nurture Malaysia’s next tech unicorns

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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 initiative, as part of a joint effort to strengthen the nation’s startup ecosystem and empower local startups with mentoring, technology, and access to enterprise clients.

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 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. This is part of our collective commitment to empowering our local startups with the right technology and expertise, enabling them to scale and achieve more globally. 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,” said K Raman, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia.

“Kuala Lumpur has been recognized as the 11th emerging startup ecosystem in the world by Startup Genome, adding to confidence that Malaysia primed to be the preferred ‘land and expand’ base for the best innovators and 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 vast network of clients. As the spearhead of Malaysia’s digital economy, MDEC is firmly committed to assist local tech startups in their fundraising journey, global market expansion, and forging corporate partnerships to entrench our Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN,” said Surina Shukri, Chief Executive Officer of MDEC.

“Highway to a 100 Unicorns’ initiative is in line with MaGIC’s commitment to drive the development of a vibrant and sustainable startup and social enterprise ecosystem in Malaysia, built on impact-driven innovation and inclusivity. 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 local innovators and founders to scale and move beyond our borders, through global collaborations, as well as industry-led mentorship and guidance. MaGIC, together with our partners, is poised to further help startups looking to broaden their reach,” said Dzuleira Abu Bakar, Chief Executive Officer of MaGIC.

Emerge X Competition

To be considered, startups will first have to submit an application for Emerge X competition. Criteria for startups to apply for Emerge X is as follows:

  1. Business-to-Business companies with product-market fit, revenue generating with at least 3-4 clients.
  2. Business-to-Customer companies with a large customer base (upward of 100K customers) and are revenue generating.
  3. 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, Malaysia, 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 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 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.

Applications close on 31 October 2020. For more information, visit https://aka.ms/highway

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