Malaysia sets bar higher for Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has certainly set the bar higher for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Morocco next year, following the successful conclusion of the fourth edition here last Saturday.

Though no monetary target was set, the GES in Kuala Lumpur edition raked in an impressive RM12.65 million in business deals.

This success of the entrepreneurs will continue to be replicated as Malaysia plans to organise a similar event on an annual basis.

The GES is a follow through on United States President Barack Obama’s emphasis on entrepreneurship as a pillar of the country’s global engagement.

It also underscores the importance of entrepreneurship as one of the most powerful ways to improve economic circumstances.

Despite Obama’s absence at the Kuala Lumpur summit, it successfully attracted more than 4,700 delegates from 123 countries, making it the largest since the inaugural 2010 event in Washington.

Secretary of State John Kerry represented Obama alongside a high-level delegation from the US.

Making a strong commitment towards developing the entrepreneurial spirit, Kerry announced several initiatives, which would be beneficial in giving greater impact to driving entrepreneurship as one of the growth drivers, particularly  in the region.

One such initiative is “Up Global”, which would see half a million young entrepreneurs coached and mentored by leading US businessmen in 1,000 cities across the globe.

The announcement will certainly have a spillover effect across industries, and it is pertinent that Malaysia was chosen as the location by the US, to announce the initiatives.

The US proclamation was further supported by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s announcement on the establishment of a Malaysian Global Innovation and Creative Centre (MaGIC).

The ‘one-stop shop’ for entrepreneurs will likely tie-up with the US Up Global initiative, which will be another leap forward in bilateral relations between the two nations.

The Malaysian centre will provide everything from securing financing from banks or venture capitals, to incubators for developing start-ups and intellectual property registration, alongside facilities for training, coaching and mentoring.

There were 14 satellite programmes to complement the GES and one was the final pitching of ideas for grants.

Ideas 2 Invest, a nine-day programme which started prior of the summit, for example, resulted in many solid thoughts for businesses within the short time-frame it was held.

Another initiative, the 1Malaysia Entrepreneur (1Met) saw a pioneer batch of 5,000 young entrepreneurs having an opportunity to interact with both Najib and Kerry.

The meeting with the two leaders certainly provided the sort of inspiration  the young people needed to strive harder to reach out for and attain their dreams.

The presence of the prime minister’s son and daughter, Nor Ashman and Nooryana Najwa at some of the summit sessions, also highlighted the fact that entrepreneurship is certainly a matter close to Najib’s heart.

As host, Malaysia also won the hearts of the GES guests’, with praises gushing forth for the wonderful hospitality and good organisation of events.

Jonny Finity, from the United States, who came for the Global Startup Youth (GSY)said the pitching session was good with young people coming together from 45 countries to build and pitch ideas.

“The summit is the right place to connect people, especially with many talented and experienced entrepreneurs here, willing to share their experience,” he told Bernama.

“Apart from that, the many young entrepreneurs who gathered in Kuala Lumpur created a vibrant and creative atmosphere, making it so challenging and inspiring for me personally,” Finity added.

Canadian Marc-Antoine Baril, who was visiting Malaysia for the first time at the summit, said the country did a perfect job as host.

“I cannot complain of a single thing,” said the 22-year old Business Strategy student.

He said the GSY, for example, was a great experience, with 500 energy-filled people gathered under one roof, seeking to resolve the same problems in education, health and women empowerment.

A 30-year old Turkish entrepreneur Erdem Sahin, who is co-founder of the vocational online education business, said he left Malaysia with a good impression of the country and its people.

Meanwhile, 35-year old technology entrepreneur Bahadir Baran Odevci was impressed with the mood at the GSY, saying that it was a good platform for young entrepreneurs to exchange ideas, despite having diverse cultural backgrounds.

The GSY, one of the satellite programmes, was held between Oct 8-11, and targeted at young entrepreneurs.

“You learn a lot of theory at this event, and if put to practical use, it becomes useful indeed. Overall, it was a real learning experience,” said Odevci, who was in Kuala Lumpur for the second time.

With the US praising Malaysia as a role model for cultural diversity, it was prominently highlighted at the GES, with many cultural elements being slotted into the opening and closing ceremonies.

The local and foreign delegates left the fourth edition of the GES with not just a good impression but many sweet memories.

Malaysia certainly managed to stand tall at the summit, echoing the lines of the closing anthem of the 4th GES, ‘standing tall in the eyes of the world’ and sung with gusto by the country’s Queen of Rock, Ella. — Bernama

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