BINTULU: It was a gathering of young minds and entrepreneurs when 40 individuals consisting of programmers, working professionals and students of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Bintulu Campus took part in the first Techstars Startup Weekend here recently.
The organisers were The Founders Club, Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Bumiputera Sarawak (Tegas), and Page Productions.
Startup Weekend is a 54-hour programme designed to provide experiential entrepreneurship education for students, professionals and entrepreneurs.
Beginning with open mic pitches on July 19, the participants brought their best ideas and inspired others to join in.
The teams focused on customer development, validating their ideas, practising LEAN Startup Methodologies and building a minimal viable product during the two-day weekend.
On Sunday evening, the teams demonstrated their prototypes and received valuable feedback from a panel of judges.
“I am excited to be part of this programme as a mentor. It’s a good start for the Bintulu startup ecosystem. I believe Bintulu has the talent to produce high-growth startups, that will contribute to Sarawak’s digital economy,” said Lee Zhi Eng, the founder of Kloena Digital, a Bintulu-based startup and strategic partner of Tegas
The next day (July 21), the teams pitched their final presentation and minimal viable product (MVP) before the judges who included Khairool Adzelan from SMA, Fakhzan Buang from UPM, and Tan Yee Siang from Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC).
“We look forward to having more such programmes and participation in the future. Big shoutout to The Founders Club for organising the event,” said Khairool.
A team from Universiti Pertanian which convinced the judges with their innovative ideas and business solutions, came out the winners.
They won three-month access to SMA-Tegas Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) and MaGIC Co-working Space @ Borneo 744 as well as the opportunity to participate in their pre-accelerator programmes.
“This Startup Weekend Bintulu is a good platform to select participants for more advanced programmes run at SMA-Tegas Digital Innovation Hubs in Kuching, Bintulu and Miri, such as Tegas Pre-Accelerator Bootcamp, Tegas Startup Lab and Sarawak Shell Livewire,” said Tegas chairman Datu Len Talif Salleh.
Techstars Startup Weekend Bintulu was held at SMA-Tegas Digital Innovation Hub (DIH), which is located on the second floor of Naim Street Mall, Bintulu Paragon. Launched by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in February this year, it serves as an inclusive platform to provide growth opportunities for early-stage startups and to build a strong startup community across Sarawak.
“On its own, it will be the focal point of entrepreneurial activities in Bintulu, and a prime component of the state’s ecosystem. DIH Bintulu, managed by the capable hands of Tegas team, will be supplying high-potential early-state startups that will graduate to the Digital Village in Samajaya and will be the pride of Sarawak and the nation,” said Dr Zaidi Razak, SMA general manager.
Under Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy 2018-2025 (Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Action 37), the Sarawak government through SMA will establish one innovation centre in each division.