Malaysian government-backed MDEC launches digital hub and entrepreneur initiatives; aims to help startups scale globally

By Yon Heong Tung for e27

Government-backed innovation agency Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has announced two new initiatives that will bolster the country’s digitalisation efforts.

The first is the Malaysia Digital Hub. This programme will provide the necessary resources for startups to scale globally. These include high-speed internet connectivity, funding opportunities, mentors and other aspects of a conducive business environment such as corporate tax exemptions.

The first three digital hubs that have been approved by the government are APW, The Co. and Common Ground. They are all located in the Klang valley.

The second initiative would be the Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme (MTEP). It aims to attract global talents to expand or build startups in Malaysia.

“Malaysia is able to connect businesses to a regional market of more than 625 million people. With the introduction of Malaysia Digital Hub and MTEP, the local and global tech startup communities can now leverage these benefits that our country has to offer. We believe this will help to strengthen Malaysia’s position as a global hub for startups and entrepreneurs” said Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood, CEO of MDEC, in an official press release.

MDEC also announced it will be enlisting the expertise of Microsoft, Next Academy, Maybank, and Y Academy with Kejora to nurture entrepreneurs.

Here’s a full set of their programmes:

A hub for entrepreneurs

The Malaysian tech ecosystem is considered one of the most developed (besides Singapore) in Southeast Asia; having birthed notable companies such as ride-hailing giant Grab and Catcha Group’s iflix.

With regulation policies and facilities that support startups, and a private sector that has begun to step up, Malaysia is the second top hotspot to launch startups in the world. And in a recent INSEAD report, Malaysia ranked 28th on the global talent competitiveness index with its vast pool of technical workers.

Early this year, the government pushed its innovation drive up one notch with the launch of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ). Its goal is to become an e-commerce hub, in which SMEs and startups can build regional fulfilment centres. The DFTZ’s main strategic partners will be MDEC, Alibaba and Catcha Group.