Image (CCO license) - Startups, business planning
Hong Leong Bank (HLB) has launched a two-part initiative, which involves Malaysia's official trade association for angel investors and clubs, in a bid to support local entrepreneurs and startups in the technology sector.
During the announcement in Kuala Lumpur, HLB's group managing director and chief executive officer Domenic Fuda said the new collaboration was Malaysia's first public-private partnership in this space.
Fuda said HLB will work closely with local trade association Malaysian Business Angel Network (MBAN) to promote the local ecosystem with mentorship and developmental programmes for startups particularly in the areas of customer experience, analytics, productivity and digital solutions.
The partnership will also roll out a startup mentorship programme called HLB LaunchPad by the end of 2016 for startups selected via a pitch and grant process. This programme will be supported by government agency Cradle Fund whose chief executive officer, Nazrin Hassan, was also present at the announcement.
"While the assessment and nurturing processes are critical, access to the financial infrastructure and knowledge of navigating the monetary aspects of ideating, developing, commercialising and building a business are equally as important," said Fuda.
"We also understand that independence is important to allow these startups to flourish," he added. "As such, this will be one of the first of such programmes where a grant is provided to technology entrepreneurs to commercialise their innovative technology products or services, helping the business in its initial stages of development. These are areas where we see ourselves bringing value."
Photo - Dialogue session (from left) Dr Sivapalan Vivekarajah, President of MBAN;Domenic Fuda, Group Managing Director & CEO of Hong Leong Bank; and Nazrin Hassan, CEO of Cradle Fund.
"Technology and new models are already disrupting society and the economy in a big way and this partnership presents opportunities for us to tap onto HLB's networks and community to ensure that such disruption brings positive results for the nation while also providing an opportunity for our members to invest in SMEs that will be part of this disruptive growth," said MBAN president Dr Sivapalan Vivekarajah.
"Not only is this the first for the industry, it is also the first time we are venturing into mentoring the startup space," added HLB's Fuda. "As a bank, which has a strong entrepreneurial heritage, HLB has positioned itself in the small and medium enterprise [SME] segment and remained committed to catering to the needs of this business community."
Cradle Fund (Cradle), an agency under the Ministry of Finance, Malaysia is the organisation that manages the Cradle Investment Programme. Since its inception, Cradle has benefited more than 700 Malaysian tech start-ups.
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