Photo - [From left] Eugene Teh, Digi's Chief Corporate Affairs Officer; Albern Murty, Digi's Chief Executive Officer; Jason Chia, Principal at 1337 Ventures and Founder of Silvertree Ltd; Sigve Brekke, Telenor Group's President and Chief Executive Officer; Dr Dhesi Baha Jaya, Founder of Malaysian Medical Gazette; Gwendolyn Regina Tan, Director of Strategy and Business Development, Asia Pacific at Mashable; Praveen Rajan, Digi's new Chief Digital Officer; and Bikesh L., Founding Partner of 1337 Ventures.
Digi Telecommunications (Digi) has launched its first incubator programme called Digi Incub8, which is to first focus on techpreneurs and startups in the East Malaysian region.
During the launch, Digi's newly appointed chief digital officer Praveen Rajan, said, "There is a vast untapped entrepreneurial potential in Sabah and Sarawak. With the local startup scene very much converged in the peninsular, Digi Incub8 seeks to provide equal opportunities for East Malaysians to venture into the startup fray."
"Every entrepreneur needs a little help at startup, and incubators like ours will help nurture early-stage startups until they are big enough to leave the nest and make it on their own. It also means we are able to build a richer, more inclusive startup ecosystem in Malaysia with ideas and talent emerging from all across the country," said Rajan.
"Startups have been the impetus for disruption in every industry imaginable including the telco sphere. They are a big influence on Malaysia's digital makeover and how our customers will use the internet in the future. As we become more of a digital company, it is apt that we continue working with startups to drive the digital evolution, creating products and solutions that will complement or revamp our customers' digital lifestyles," he said.
Also present, Sigve Brekke, Telenor's president and chief executive officer said, "Malaysia has a strong, emerging startup ecosystem that shows great potential in becoming a digital innovation hub in the region. I believe that big companies like Telenor combined with startups equate accelerated innovation, which is why we are engaging with entrepreneurs and startups across Asia. Malaysia has already seen the emergence of its first unicorn, and as the number of startups continues to explode I hope to see more unicorns arise in the near future."
Digi's Rajan said Digi Incub8 was being made available to tech entrepreneurial talent in East Malaysia in two phases. The first will be an idea incubator where individuals attend a three-day workshop to learn the basics of ideating and creating business-worthy ideas. The workshop has been designed for individuals interested in starting a business "but have yet to formulate a business idea, or entrepreneur wannabes who want to verify that their idea has what it takes to fly."
The second phase will be a startup incubator taking the form of a six-day bootcamp where entrepreneur teams will validate their ideas, learn product development, business basics and go-to-market strategies.
The bootcamp finale will be "a demo day where up to three winning teams are awarded up to RM25,000 (US$6,123) funding to start up their businesses. The bootcamp is intended for idea stage startups or new entrepreneurs looking to start a business but unsure how to take it forward."
Digi Incub8, which is the latest addition to Digi's portfolio of startup engagement initiatives such as Digi Accelerate and Digi Challenge for Change, is a partnership with 1337 Ventures and its Alpha Startups programme.
Digi Incub8 will be hosted in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, and opens for registration today at digi.com.my/incub8
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