Sunday, May 16

MaGIC boost for aspiring entrepreneurs in Sabah


KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre Berhad (MaGIC), an incorporated body under the Prime Minister’s Department, has expanded its wings to Sabah, to help further spur entrepreneurship in the state.

For a start, they will bring to local aspiring young entrepreneurs here their programmes, namely the MaGIC Accelerator.

Chief operating officer (COO) Norita Jaafar and her team of officers yesterday paid a courtesy visit to Deputy Chief Minister cum Industrial Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah to discuss collaboration with the state government in the implementation of the programme and other MaGIC activities here.

“Our modules have been proven effective (in Peninsular Malaysia) and we believe they can do a lot to help boost, especially the start-ups scene in Sabah. Sabah has the potential as there are a lot of start-ups with good networking here; they may just need a more directed guidance and development programme so that their businesses can really take off and scale up,” she told reporters after the visit.

Norita explained that the MaGIC Accelerator programmes have two components – the ASEAN Startup Track and Social Enterprise Track.

For the ASEAN Startup Track, she said 50 spots were available, 30 for Malaysian participants and 20 for participants from other ASEAN countries.

The module would focus on product development and user acquisition, building relationships to support start-ups, providing access to global and regional investors and route to market partners.

“Start-ups are usually small, with only a few members, five at most. They must be highly scalable with large growth potential and usually internet-based, as it is cheaper to do business online and there is less risk too. This will be a four-month programme with specially designed monthly themes,” she said.

Successful applicants will also be provided with RM1,500 (~USD$400) monthly allowance, free accommodation throughout the programme, and RM1,000 round trip reimbursable flight allowance.

Application opens until May 10 and further information on the module can be obtained at MaGIC website,

The second module, as vice-president (Social Entrepreneurship) Ehon Chan explained, is aimed at helping social enterprises with bold new ideas to improve lives and build a sustainable world.

Selected applicants will be trained by international experts to help them gain necessary skills and knowledge to grow their businesses.

Upon completion of the module, promising participants will be given a seed fund of RM30,000 to pilot their business idea.

During the training, RM1,500 (USD$400) monthly allowance will also be given each participant, who will also each be entitled to free accommodation and RM1,000 round trip reimbursable flight allowance.

He said 25 spots are available for the module which is open only to Malaysians.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak first announced the MaGIC initiative during the opening of the 4th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in October 2013, where he said MaGIC would serve as a one-stop centre for entrepreneurs in getting financing from banks or venture capitalists and also to serve as incubators for developing start-ups.

He said the initiative would also help prospective entrepreneurs with intellectual property registration and facilities for training, coaching and mentoring.

The initiative, Najib added, would see more collaboration between two countries in further boosting entrepreneurial spirit among youths.

US Secretary of State John Kerry in addressing the summit earlier, said the United States would initiate a new programme called ‘Up Global’, which would support and train half a million entrepreneurs in 1,000 cities around the world, including Malaysia, over the next few years.

MaGIC was officially launched by President Barack Obama and Najib, in conjunction with the former’s visit to Malaysia followed by Najib’s announcement of RM20 million allocation for social enterprise programmes earlier this year.