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SME Featured Southeast Asia

MDEC, MTDC ink MoU to accelerate growth of tech startups in Malaysia

Cyberjaya, Malaysia – Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC), have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen the alliance between the two government agencies, aimed at further catalysing the growth of technology companies in the country, ensuring maximum reach and impact.

As part of the MoU, MDEC and MTDC will co-develop technology-based entrepreneur development programmes, as well as in the promotion of digital technologies, and their adoption amongst startups, MSMEs, and SMEs. It will also seek to open up more funding facilitation and opportunities for tech companies.

Mahadhir Aziz, MDEC’s CEO, said that leveraging each organisations’ platforms and expertise in support of meeting its objectives will be the key thrust of the collaboration.

“With this MoU, we will be able to ensure further reach, efficiency and impact on our tech ecosystem and increase Malaysia’s competitiveness in the digital economy. The race to produce successful global champions is a shared responsibility and this MoU is evident of Malaysia’s holistic approach. Through this initiative we are able to move as one nation to drive forward the MyDIGITAL core objectives,” added Aziz.

Meanwhile, Norhalim Yunus, MTDC’s CEO, noted that the MoU will be a platform for their partners in MTDC’s Centre of 9 Pillars (Co9P) to collaborate with the companies and partners under MDEC. 

He further shared that MTDC’s Co9P community members will assist the companies in the areas of Industry 4.0 and digitalisation.

“This opportunity to work with the companies under MDEC will be part of expanding our Co9P into other regions in Malaysia and an opportunity to build linkages with its global partners by providing advisory business with MDEC as our strategic partner,” said Yunus.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

MDEC launches ‘#SayaDigital Movement’ to increase digital literacy across MY

Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaMalaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has launched anew the ‘#SayaDigital Movement’ in Malaysia, which had been originally introduced to increase digital literacy among the B40 group, youths, senior citizens, and socio-economically vulnerable across 12 locations in the country.

The #SayaDigital campaign was first launched in 2020 as part of MDEC’s efforts to support Malaysians and local businesses to step up digitalization measures that will help to reduce the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. Through the campaign, MDEC introduced several initiatives, such as SME Digital Summit, #YoungCreators Movement, #MYDigitalWorkforce Week, and Gig and Freelance Expo (GFX). 

This year’s ‘#SayaDigital Movement’ focuses on four components, namely, training young people to become ‘Geng #SayaDigital’ volunteers, creating awareness through digital literacy activities, conducting digital readiness assessments, and providing basic digital skills training to the community. 

To kickstart the #SayaDigital this 2021, three pilot programs were held to raise digital literacy awareness involving 301 participants, with the latest being held at Kampung Desa Temuan in Bukit Lanjan last March. A series of interactive workshops were implemented that exposed them to the digital skills needed to face challenges in the new normal.

In addition, there are eight #SayaDigital online programs that have been streamed via Facebook Live. MDEC has also designed 12 adaptation and digital literacy programs with 2,000 participants who are expected to participate in a basic digital literacy training course. They will be working closely with 100 volunteers who are also known as ‘Geng #SayaDigital’ ambassadors. 

Participants will answer the ‘Digital Readiness Assessment’ to measure their level of digital literacy. The test results will then determine the ‘Basic Digital Literacy Learning Module’ that they will be assigned to. The program also includes three main modules – digital communication, internet banking and e-wallet, and digital service applications that are used in other countries.

Tan Sri Dato’ Hj. Muhyiddin bin Hj. Mohd Yassin, the YAB prime minister of Malaysia, said, “MDEC’s move to launch #SayaDigital to enhance digital skills among the B40 group, youths, senior citizens, and socio-economically vulnerable groups is timely as our country strives to achieve its ambition of becoming a major regional digital economy market. This is in line with the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV 2030), an initiative that will not marginalize any groups of people.”

Meanwhile, YBhg. Datuk Wira Dr Hj. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff, the chairman of MDEC, shared that the goals outlined in MyDIGITAL are based on the confidence that they can empower Malaysians to face challenges head-on that the new norm had brought about. 

“After all, the goal is to create a technology-integrated society through Malaysia 5.0. Equipping people with digital capabilities is a key factor for the synergy between digital infrastructure and the digitally skilled workforce that acts as the backbone for a sustainable digital ecosystem in Malaysia. This advantage will, in turn, be the main driver for the growth of the digital economy in the future,” added Dr Rais Hussin.

Surina Shukri, Chief Executive Officer of MDEC, also commented, “Individuals with efficient digital skills such as coding, animation, Big Data analysis, machine learning, and Cloud Computing are greatly needed in driving forward the digital economy during this pandemic. In this regard, MDEC’s #SayaDigital is a timely effort that will get more people to learn digital skills. Initiatives to empower Malaysians are crucial for their digital journey as we move closer to achieve the goal of making Malaysia the Digital Heart of ASEAN.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

MDEC bolsters ‘Reinvent’ agenda, unveils new chief digital business officer

Cyberjaya, Malaysia – Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), has appointed former SME Bank Malaysia’s Group Chief Strategy Officer (GCSO) Aiza Azreen as its new chief digital business officer (CDBO), still in line with the agency’sReinvent’ agenda, the mission to strengthen MDEC’s organization to further better its strategies in expanding the nation’s digital economy in the new normal. 

The ‘Reinvent’ agenda seeks to implement a strategic change in the agency’s management, aiming to inculcate a high-performing and high-impact organization. With this mission, the agency can build capabilities internally, identifying the right skills for managerial roles and ensuring that the departments have the best performances.

As the new CDBO, Azreen will be responsible for driving all business development, strategic, and operational aspects of the company. This also includes corporate and business development initiatives, strategic planning, budget development and control, commercial input into national digitalization development, and supporting investor relationships and fundraising.

Azreen will also be a member of the MDEC Operating Council (MOC) and will report directly to CEO Surina Shukri, overseeing and steering the digital adoption ecosystem in e-Commerce, data ecosystem development, and the digital infrastructure departments. She will also lead external innovation opportunities to expand commercial strategies and build corporate business and innovations for e-commerce, in line with MDEC’s focus on digitizing SMEs, MSMEs, and enterprises.

Azreen’s experience spans 20 years. She has worked in Australia and Malaysia across multiple industries in strategy development and execution of large-scale business transformation. She held leadership positions in organizations, such as Pertama Digital Berhad, Axiata Digital Services, and Axiata eCode Sdn Bhd, as well as Bank Rakyat, Sime Darby Group, and Media Prima Berhad and AmBank Berhad where she helped pioneer digital ecosystems. This includes pioneering Malaysia’s cashless ecosystem with Boost eWallet, deploying frontier technologies, innovating operating models, and commercializing businesses through mergers and acquisitions (M&As), venturing, building, and collaborating with strategic partners.

Azreen commented that she had “the good fortune” of having conversations with the leadership team at MDEC on what is required to accelerate Malaysia’s digital economy and on the execution of MDEC’s ‘Reinvent’ as well as the inherent and future challenges in these efforts. 

“At the end of these conversations, taking leave from the private sector to be part of MDEC’s journey was not a difficult decision to make. Today, I join the best-in-class team to contribute not just to MDEC, but to the country as well. With the recent launch of MyDIGITAL initiative and the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, I am excited with what lies ahead,” said Azreen.

YBhg. Datuk Wira Dr Hj. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff, chairman of MDEC, said that with Azreen addition to the team, the organization aims to strengthen its expertise and experience as part of our relentless effort in fulfilling Malaysia 5.0.

“Increasing number of distinguished talents are now gravitating towards MDEC and this augurs well for our stakeholders, adding new perspectives and dimensions in a rapidly-changing landscape during unprecedented times like these. Her appointment will enable us to further expand and solidify our business development initiatives and reach in the digital economy sphere, allowing us to fulfill our goals and Malaysia’s digital vision as espoused in the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL),” said Hussin.

Meanwhile, Shukri said, “The appointment of Aiza will strengthen our line-up as we expand our business capabilities and opportunities, both domestically and globally, in our resolve to create and bolster impactful digital outreach for Malaysia. I’m excited to work with Aiza and I am confident that she will further add value to MDEC as we strive towards driving digital outreach for the society and economy. Aiza’s appointment is a reflection of MDEC’s commitment to create technocrats and a people-first society in the age of 4IR technology, leading to shared prosperity for all.”

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

MDEC appoints former Microsoft head of comms to head of its newsroom

Cyberjaya, Malaysia – Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the country’s government agency for leading the nation’s digital economy, has nabbed the Head of Communications at Microsoft Malaysia, Dashika Gnaneswaran, to lead its newsroom. 

As the new senior manager, Gnaneswaran will bolster the Brand and Strategic Partnerships department, bringing local and international experience through driving strategic communications and building brands by working in areas such as public affairs, social impact projects, and crisis communications as well as social media strategy. She reports directly to Raymond Siva, chief marketing officer and head of the Digital Investments division.

The appointment of Gnaneswaran comes as the agency refreshes its leadership and management structure under its ‘Reinvent’ mission, where it aims to intensify initiatives in growing the nation’s digital economy in the new normal. 

“As part of MDEC’s ‘Reinvent’ – a strategic change management exercise that was recently launched to inculcate a high-performing and high-impact organization, the agency continues to build capabilities internally while identifying the right skills for managerial roles, to ensure optimal performance of our departments,” said Surina Shukri, CEO of MDEC.

“As MDEC enables Malaysia to achieve its vision of a people-first society in the age of 4IR technology, leading to shared prosperity for all or Malaysia 5.0, we ourselves must be equipped with the right talents – globally competitive talents,” added Shukri. 

Under the move, the agency is in the mid of bringing in exceptional talents with both private and public sector experience. In the newly organized structure, Gnaneswaran’s department comes under the Digital Investments division.

At Microsoft, Gnaneswaran led communications efforts and nation-building campaigns. Her work scope included managing corporate strategy, championing brand advocacy and internal advisory, alongside building media relationships and philanthropy plans. Prior to that, she was at Malaysia’s largest financial investment institution, Kenanga Investment Bank, where she was responsible for brand management, marketing, digital communications, and investor relations.

“At MDEC we practice a continuous-learning mindset, enabling us to successfully drive high-impact digital outreach for the society and economy. Dashika brings 16 years of public and private sector experience spanning international and local organizations with her, and I am sure she will be an inspiration to the exceptional talents we currently have. I am excited to have her lead our Newsroom team and reshape the way we approach outreach and engagement with the people and industry,” said Siva.

Meanwhile, on her appointment, Gnaneswaran commented, “It is an honor to be able to serve the nation, under the strong leadership that MDEC has today. I am driven by a passion to help bridge the digital divide through transformative mindsets, innovation and inclusivity. I look forward to leveraging my experience to bring positive impact to those who can benefit with digital enablement and intervention most and I will give my fullest to support and accelerate the high impact work that MDEC does to transform the digital economy.”

MDEC’s mission to lead Malaysia’s digital economy is supported by three strategic priorities, namely, digitally skilled Malaysians, digitally powered businesses, and digital investments; driving the nation to embrace 4IR technologies or the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ which is mainly defined as the merge of advances in AI, robotics, IoT, and a whole lot other technologies.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Local investment firm NEXEA, MDEC partners anew for ‘Entrepreneurs Programme’

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Local startup investment company NEXEA Angels and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has renewed their partnership agreement for the entrepreneurs-dedicated platform Entrepreneurs Programme (EP).

EP is a platform that facilitates journey-enriching connections with peers and like-minded individuals to gain fresh perspectives and learn from one another through the sharing of ideas, advice, best practices, and experiences, in an otherwise lonely entrepreneurial journey.

MDEC and NEXEA first entered into an agreement to pilot the Entrepreneurs Programme early of this year and have found it to be a proven success amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the partnership deal, MDEC will provide program sponsorship for 32 participants and will funnel potential high-growth startup founders from their startup database into the program.

NEXEA’s Managing Director Ben Lim

COVID-19 severely impacted startups as it undercut the mobility of businesses. Startup founders now more than ever require assistance in order to power through these trying economic period. The Entrepreneurs Programme provides a facilitated peer network to guide founders in navigating these stressful times. Our pilot EP proved to be a success with our in-program participants recording positive QOQ numbers for revenue growth as well as headcount, indicating the positive impact EP has on the overall wellbeing of these startups.

Ben Lim, Managing Director, NEXEA

He added, “We are thrilled to have MDEC on board with us again to nurture our local entrepreneurs for growth and ultimately spur the Malaysian entrepreneurial ecosystem. Entrepreneurs from all industries and verticals who have business traction are welcome to participate in our program.”

EP operates on a peer-to-peer mentoring methodology to create sustainable businesses by priming growth-stage technology-driven startups for their next startup stage through interactive action learning, active discussions, and networking with co-founders from different industries to form a support system.

VP of MDEC’s digitally-powered business division Gopi Ganesalingam

NEXEA has been a close strategic partner of MDEC this year. Through our partnership, we have assisted with the development and growth of over 20 startups. During these tough times, MDEC believes that it is even more crucial for us to extend our support to as many startups as possible and provide them with the much-needed investment, mentorship, and training opportunities. With such impressive outcomes from the first batch this year, we look forward to even stronger impact through this renewed partnership.

Gopi Ganesalingam, VP, MDEC’s Digitally-Powered
Business Division

The program’s evergreen syllabus allows for it to run interminably and aims to guide participants all the way to an IPO stage. EP participants convene in groups of 15 once a month for a full-day meeting to collaboratively work through business issues faced by these business leaders, discuss own challenges for practical solutions from the group and reflect on valuable feedback.

EP currently has over 40 startup founders and CEOs participating. Existing participants include Poladrone, KwikCar, LaPasar, Printcious, SoftSolvers Solutions, Lokein, Mobi, Zcova, Running Man among others.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

MDEC’s new virtual expo to highlight live streaming for e-commerce

Malaysia – The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia’s national agency tasked with leading the country’s digitization, has announced its latest virtual expo titled Go-eCommerce Expo, with the main theme “Unleash the power of live streaming e-commerce”.

MDEC said following the success of its nationwide e-Dagang Expo (eDX) in May 2020, which gathered SMEs to discuss the transition from offline to online selling, the new expo aims to continue the agency’s efforts in educating local businesses on why they should be selling online.

The Go-eCommerce Expo, which will take place from December 8 to 10, aims to promote the adoption of live streaming e-commerce as a new sales channel for Malaysian businesses. Another agenda of the expo is to also encourage live selling by imparting the latest skills, techniques, best practices, and platforms in line with it.

Among the speakers are Nur Azre, community and government relations manager from e-commerce enabler ShopLine; Jerry Hang, founder and CEO of MODEN, the first academy in Malaysia in training professional KOLs and a KOL marketing service for brands; as well as MDEC professionals themselves such as Mohd Fazreen bin Maslan and Mohd Zullutfi Abd Razak who are PeDAS heads, MDEC’s one-stop digital learning centers for MSMEs.

With logistics and payments also among the expos’ focus points, MDEC has gathered speakers from e-commerce fulfillment company TresGo Janio Asia, end-to-end electronic payment MPAY, and Visa among others.

MDEC said the event will be concluded with a LIVE Selling Carnival, featuring PeDAS participants, where viewers can purchase locally made products at deals and discounts.

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SME Southeast Asia

Malaysia-based cloud platform Enginemailer partners with MDEC to help digitize local SMEs

Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia-based integrated cloud platform Enginemailer, which focuses on email marketing services has been appointed by government-owned Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to support its efforts in digitizing SMEs.

The support will mainly be given via the company’s flagship service, email marketing.

MDEC was established by the Malaysian government to propel Malaysia’s digital economy, which it refers to as the ecosystem of public and private sectors who produce, adopt and innovate digital technologies in the name of socio-economic productivity.

Enginemailer offers database management, email marketing, and transactional email services. It has unified features which deliver customer engagement across the entire email marketing and automation spectrum; combining drag-and-drop interfaces, advanced data analytics, and a complete set of integrations APIs.  

Companies who will engage in Enginemailer’s services will be provided with tools to bring their brand messaging into customers’ inboxes through efficient email campaigns.

“Enginemailer is proud to be appointed as an approved  TSP specializing in end-to-end email marketing service for SMEs looking to reach their target audience more effectively,” said CEO and founder Jeffri Shahul Hamid. 

Malaysia announced during its Budget 2020 that its Digitalization Grant will allow SMEs to apply for a 50% matching grant, or a cap of RM 5,000 to adopt any three of the five key digitalization areas delivered by approved Technology Service Providers (TSP). 

Jeffri cites Statista study that global email users in 2019 are estimated to reach 4.3 billion by 2023, a 400 million increase from 2019.