The end of 2014 saw the north-eastern states of Malaysia dealing with the worst flood in the country since 2004, with over 100,000 people being forced to evacuate their homes.
A group of entrepreneurs at MaGIC banded together to create a portal providing the latest information on the floods. Called myBanjir – the website featured up-to-date flood-related news, information on river and road closures, weather forecasts, drop-off points, missing person SMS services provided by Celcom and a live Twitter feed of the #mybanjir hashtag. The site aimed to help flood victims restore communications with loved ones, and receive much-needed supplies, receiving over 100k views in 5 days.
Today I set my first foot into @cherylyeoh’s dream factory. Never would have imagined it but sure excited for what the future holds.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! Loved being able to 1) Meet other like minded entrepreneurs in the same boat 2) Get open and honest feedback from instructors when I ask them specific questions on real problems/decisions I am making for my business! :) xoxo
I went to the MaGIC Academy Launch Advance Track for the past 5 days and am basically mind-blown away on how powerful and great the organization is! It is not only about their excellent instructors, mentors and speakers (of cause the practical syllabus included - my brain is literally bloated with all the new insights!) the entire flow of the events is seamless!
From preparing the breakfast; considering on our comfort during the workshop; giving us extra info on the subjects; to arranging exposure with fund owners, I truly feel that I’m very well taken care of!! Getting to the end of the events I saw huge eyebags and exhausted faces but none of the organizers showed frustration. Their eyes though red, are full with passion! Salute to that!
The team has surely put in tremendous effort in making it a success. Congratulations MaGIC! You’ve made it! Lastly, I would like to thank you for organizing such great event. I can’t tell you how impactful it is to my life! Thanks you!
It is wonderful that MaGIC, the government and the people are involved in building this ecosystem of Social Enterprise. They see hope on having sustainable impact while also building wealth through their businesses.
Chen Zi Juin
I can see @MagicCyberjaya is doing their very best to nurture entrepreneurs in Malaysia. Efforts will not go to waste.
You don’t know me, but I’ve attended several events at your office this year and they were all awesome.
Here is a small token to say thank you for all that you have done for the startup community and here’s looking forward to more great things from MaGIC!
It is really great for MaGIC to come out with a proper definition for SE. A lot of people have their own definitions and it is important to have a cohesive and wholesome definition that will move this industry forward in Malaysia.
Keep being that inspiration to entrepreneurs and startups. The best is yet to come!
Thank you Cheryl for introducing us to Square. Without you, we would never been able to create a strong impression with Square. I know of your sacrifices in making a stand for Malaysian entrepreneurs and I want you to know that your efforts have already made a great impact (from all the conversations I had with other participants).
Thank you Han for making sure everything is executed well. You are indeed a good mom for all of us. I know that you put so much effort in this program, I am sure that every one of us feels your sincerity and care.
Thank you Jen for being you. You are always in the background helping things out and never once seeking credit or acknowledgement. You are an angel in disguise and every organization is lucky to have someone like you around (Cheryl, don’t worry I am not poaching Jen).
As a whole, I value the friendship and the bonding I had with other participants. We are committed to continue the spirit of Silicon Valley in Malaysia. If this proves one day to be the turning point for our entrepreneurship ecosystem, I want you all to know that you are the catalyst for the change.
This is not magic. This is real hard work. Kudos to the MaGIC team.
Just thought that the MaGIC YouTube channel deserves way more views and subs - tons of useful resources inside!
Hi @cherylyeoh just wanted to give feedback directly to you. After I went to #MSAlaunch and kept on learning even though I had no idea where to start. Then I went to #SWKL met a group of devs, we started @instacommerce.my won TM innovation award. Thank you for founding #MaGIC :)
@LemonStand You're welcome! The startup community in Malaysia is rather active these years. We have been well led by @MagicCyberjaya :)
I'm doing interviews of social entrepreneurs right now and you wouldn't believe how many of them say things like "Besides for MaGIC, I don't know anyone else in government who is supporting social entrepreneurs."
Amongst both entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs, there is a real feeling that is *the* place you can go to to talk to people and learn stuff about starting your business.
One entrepreneur told me she had an idea and she wouldn't have seriously pursued seriously if she hadn't known about the work that MaGIC is doing to support entrepreneurs.
CEO chosen, MaGIC to get a dose of Silicon Valley Malay Mail Online
GE Summit: PM announces one-stop centre for creative industry in Cyberjaya The Star Online
MaGIC bina hab keusahawanan Utusan Online
MaGIC out to create an intangible via e@Stanford Digital News Asia
Malaysia Startup Wiki and The Malaysia Startup Landscape 5 Minute Guide NextUp Asia
MaGIC wants to make Malaysia the startup capital of Asia e27
GREAT 2014 platform bina usawahan Utusan Online
MaGIC main peranan penting Utusan Online
Program Keusahawanan MaGIC Diharap Tarik 50 Peratus Penyertaan Bumiputera Bernama
Geran RM20j untuk keusahawanan sosial Berita Harian
When asked about their sleeping habits, 41% of the team identified as night owls, 33% identified as early birds, 22% identified as both, and one undisclosed team member identified as Batman.
19% of MaGICians surveyed identified as extroverts, 16% as introverts. The remaining 64%, apparently, were too special to be neatly sorted into a cateogry and chose to identify as ambiverts.
The MaGIC team is well caffeinated. 67% of the team drink at least one cup of coffee a day, 10% drink 3 or more.
Before MaGIC, 33% of the team worked in corporate, 22% worked in a startup, 18% were in consulting, 14% with the government, 10% were students, and one was allegedly a US Marine, but we think he's actually a liar.
53% of the team see THAT DRESS as white and gold, and 47% see it as black and blue.
Millenium Falcon or the USS Enterprise? 55% of the team prefer Star Wars, 22% prefer Star Trek, and 22% didn't get the reference and were sent to the corner to think about what they've done.
Well travelled? 30% of the team have been to more than 10 countries. 19% have been to more than 20.
Despite initial suspicions, MaGICians actually reported an equal distribution of astrological signs, proving that magic does not belong to any specific part of the year. Hooray!
Is MaGIC only focused on tech startups? What about all the other non-tech businesses like F&B, retail, agriculture, manufacturing, small businesses, etc?
As part of our given mandate, MaGIC aims to empower high-growth startups that have the potential to build regional and global businesses - especially by leveraging the 600 million-strong ASEAN population right in our backyard. In our first year, we focused the MaGIC team’s combined skillsets on technology-enabled companies to achieve our goals of putting Malaysia on the map. At the same time, we paved the way for longer-term initiatives that would close the gap for companies not yet ready to adopt technology in their operations.
Malaysia has an aggressive vision - she aims to become a high-income nation by the year 2020. A key part of that realizing that vision requires agencies like MaGIC to educate and encourage entrepreneurs to leverage technology and innovation in their business models and scale beyond Malaysia to remain competitive in the light of current global trends.
That said, MaGIC welcomes startups from any industry. All our events are open and cater to various facets of growing a business. In fact, we do not see technology and ICT as a separate, distinct sector, but rather an enabler that can be applied to any type of business, including retailers, fashion, food and beverage, agriculture, manufacturing, and so on. But these companies must leverage technology to innovate and scale. For example, GrabTaxi.com/MyTeksi, iKargo.com and TheLorry.com are examples of startups in the transportation or logistics industry that have leveraged technology to disrupt an existing business model. Our sister agency, SME Corp provides support to a broader range of small business owners across the country.
Why is MaGIC only serving entrepreneurs in Cyberjaya or Klang Valley?
We are physically located in Cyberjaya and as such, entrepreneurs in Klang Valley gain automatic exposure to the events and activities we organize. However, in 2014 MaGIC took significant strides as part of our outreach programs to go outside of Klang Valley. The MaGIC Academy team hosted workshops on Social Media Marketing, Brand Strategy, Visual Design, Beginner HTML5, Internet of Things (IoT) and Social Entrepreneurship in cities nationwide.
In 2015, we are looking to establish ties and foster an entrepreneurial presence in states such as Kelantan, Perak, Melaka, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak. We also have a 3-year partnership with UP Global to conduct 73 Startup Weekend hackathons in all 14 states by 2017.
Cyberjaya, however, will continue to be developed as the primary entrepreneurial hub of Malaysia. This is to ensure foreign VCs and investors have a primary point of contact when looking to invest in local startups. The single hub model has been a core catalyst of success around the world - Silicon Valley in the US, Block 71 in Singapore and Santiago in Chile - and we are looking to emulate that model here.
Building a successful ecosystem takes time, and more just a physical location. Through MaGIC Academy, we are looking to create and spread a localized, digital knowledge base that can be accessed and utilized by entrepreneurs all around the nation. Our YouTube channel now has almost 120 hours of high-quality content and over 15,000 views. This remains our larger goal - knowledge transfer that crosses borders, and something that MaGIC will invest a lot of time and resources in during our first few years.
Ultimately, the success of a startup ecosystem relies on like-minded people and the human capital we can attract. With the MaGIC Accelerator Program (MAP) bringing in a critical mass of 75 new startups from all around ASEAN to Cyberjaya for four months at a time, twice a year, we’re confident that regional investors will acknowledge Malaysia as the center of high-growth entrepreneurship in the ASEAN region.
Why is MaGIC based in Cyberjaya?
Cyberjaya is part of the nation's Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) initiative and an integral part of Malaysia's infrastructure, built to realize Vision 2020. MaGIC is a key piece of the plan to cement Cyberjaya’s role as the go-to knowledge and technology hub in the country.
Our Cyberjaya facility is equipped with best-in-class equipment and infrastructure that allows us to cater to crowds of various sizes. MaGIC was built with the vision of providing coworking and acceleration space for entrepreneurs - allowing people to rapidly create, test and iterate on their ideas and products - and also to build a community of like-minded people who can form synergistic relationships and build great companies.
How is MaGIC different from all the other entrepreneurship agencies in Malaysia?
MaGIC aims to be the uniting platform of the local startup ecosystem. We do not believe in reinventing the wheel and strongly believe that we need to emulate what has worked and improve on what has not. This is the core philosophy guiding our planning and operations.
Instead of traditional brick and mortar SMEs, service-based industries, listed companies and so on, MaGIC is more focused on developing and supporting high-growth startups from a variety of industries with the potential to scale regionally or globally.
This is also why MaGIC does not have a grant scheme for entrepreneurs, as Cradle does. Our focus is on empowering the ecosystem and serving as a launchpad for local entrepreneurs to gain access to regional and global players. To not just learn, but actively share their products, services and capabilities with the world.
MaGIC works closely with MDeC, which oversees the development of MSC Malaysia and the national agenda for enhancing Malaysia’s status as a global hub and preferred location for ICT industries. MDeC’s role is far broader, ultimately seeking to enhance business productivity and improve standards of living by spurring Malaysia’s ICT industry development and digital economic growth.
MaGIC is also one of a few government agencies mandated to develop the nascent social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Malaysia with the support of youth volunteer agency 1M4U and MyHarapan.
Our scope does not overlap with other agencies but instead encourages collaboration between MaGIC and other agencies to create a vibrant local entrepreneurship ecosystem, invite foreign investments, and encourage global market penetration.
As detailed in the report, we have established many partnerships in our first year with organizations that have a successful track record developing startups.
Since MaGIC is under MoF, does this mean you have an unlimited budget for all your programs?
No, like any other government agency, a budget is allocated for our programs and operating expenses. This is a rule applicable to all government department and ministries.
Like any startup or business, MaGIC has limited runway and pre-agreed upon requirements and success criteria. We have to justify our spending and show that we have earned adequate quantitative and qualitative return on investment. We prefer it this way because we want to be bound by the same rules that we preach to our entrepreneurs.
We are responsible for updating various stakeholders, including the Prime Minister, on the progress of the organisation and if we are on track to achieving our goals – which directly contribute to the nation's agenda of becoming a knowledge-based economy and high-income nation by 2020.
Is MaGIC giving out grants to entrepreneurs? If not, what is the budget being used for?
MaGIC is not a funding agency, which is the domain of agencies such as Cradle, MAVCAP, Teraju and MDV. We are looking to implement a different model that has been tried and tested in other ecosystems similar to ours - a knowledge platform archetype, one in line with the nation's core focus.
Our budget is used primarily to create, organize, and iterate on foundational programs that focus on the various facets of building a business - such as customer validation, product development, growth marketing, fundraising, regional marketing and branding.
These programs require intense planning and cross country partnerships that need to be initiated, formulated and implemented locally. Most of our resources are consumed by these efforts.
MaGIC also provides infrastructure to create a sense of community among entrepreneurs. This includes our coworking space, academy training rooms, a 200-person accelerator space, and an auditorium where entrepreneurs can pitch to investors.
If you don’t want to wait a whole other year for the next update, stay in touch and we’ll keep you in the loop about what’s happening with Malaysian startups.
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