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56 startups get a dose of MaGIC mentoring

Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) has kicked off its Global Accelerator Program (GAP), designed to help equip 56 handpicked global startups with the necessary skills, knowledge, and network to break into the ASEAN market and become investment-ready in four months.

Run by MaGIC, the program provides four months of mentoring from technical and business experts with direct access to route-to-market partners such as Axiata, Digi, Maxis, and Maybank. It also provides a co-working space, accommodation, monthly stipend and benefits worth over USD400,000 from Microsoft, Amazon Web Services , IBM, 123RF, and HubSpot, among others.

The program will run from July to October 2017, out of the MaGIC campus in Cyberjaya.

GAP, an evolution of the popular MaGIC Accelerator Program (MAP), attracted a diverse mix of applicants. The program received 947 applications from 47 countries located in North America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

The top 56 startups (70% from Malaysia, 30% from other 10 countries) were shortlisted based on three key criteria: prospect to expand in the ASEAN market, potential of highly scalable products, and readiness for early stage investment. The program was first announced by Malaysia Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak during the inaugural Global Entrepreneurship Community (GECommunity) 2016 late last year. It aims to help create interconnectivity within the ecosystem through collaboration between global and local startups.

Malaysian startups that are handpicked to be part of the program include, JOM Parking, BiiB, Caredo, CanLaw CarinMED, GetDoc, OhMyGrocer, and Bookyboo, a platform that brings together “cutting-edge technology” to deliver personalised story books for children.

Supporting cross-border collaboration in entrepreneurship and innovation is critical in building the regional entrepreneurship ecosystem, MaGIC said in a statement to A+M.

The initiative will also further establish and strengthen Malaysia’s position as the gateway to the region for entrepreneurs who are keen to expand their business and reach in the ASEAN market, a region that is often touted as the world’s next consumer powerhouse.

Ashran Dato’ Ghazi, CEO of MaGIC, said: “We know that startups drive innovation and accelerate value-creation, and are excited by the potential and energy generated by this cohort. For the next four months, our hand-picked selection of entrepreneurs will meet and work with some of the region’s experts, collaborate with peers, fine-tune their ideas and understand what makes a business sustainable. I urge you to challenge yourself, and take full advantage of our large pool of mentors and coaches, as well as abundant resources and wide network.”

With its experience in running accelerator programs, MaGIC said it can help startups in four key ways: identifying the target market and building the right product, measuring the right metrics to drive the required outcomes, positioning for local expansion and regional growth, and getting ready for Demo Day and investors. Participants are also encouraged to integrate a social mission into their startup as they set out on their journey to build a sustainable business.

“We believe in striking a balance between financial profit with human, social and environmental values to drive real change. This is why we are encouraging our participants to have a social mission and teach them how to design and drive sustainable business growth,” Ashran said.

“Opportunities are abound for entrepreneurs in Malaysia. I encourage all of our participants to learn from each other as well as the experts and mentors guiding their way on this four month journey,” he added.

Startups will also have the chance to enhance their business ideas based on GAP’s nine industry verticals and customised industry specific curriculum: creative and lifestyle (45%), mobile (16%), healthcare (15%), smart cities (5%), e-commerce (4%), education (4%), finance (4%), social innovation (4%), and supply chain (3%). Participants could choose to participate in up to two industry verticals.

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