Being relatively new to Malaysia’s local startup ecosystem, I’ll admit that I’m not too well versed on the ins and outs of it yet.
However, I definitely have noticed certain developments in the latter part of this year (throughout my employment) that I believe could signal the start of some trends for 2020.
From that, I’ve come up with some predictions of my own regarding entrepreneurship and startups, and frankly, I’m excited to see if they would come to fruition or not.
1. Higher Government Funding For Digital & Hard Tech Startups
Funding has been one of those things I’ve seen countless entrepreneurs complain about.
We’ve all heard of Malaysian startups who started here but soon began searching for investments and funds from other countries. Some of them even moved overseas, where they grew immensely.
But in 2020, let’s hope the government will pick up its efforts in supporting Malaysian entrepreneurs, not only through policies, but monetarily as well.
If our recent interview with Cradle’s Acting Group CEO Razif Abdul Aziz is of any indication, we’ll be seeing grant products of higher amounts for both digital and hard tech startups.
Dictionary Time: Hard technologies are tangible components that can be purchased and assembled into assistive-technology systems. They include everything from simple mouth sticks to computers and software.Britannica
2. Existing Social Enterprises Will Gain More Recognition, And New Ones Will Crop Up
About a month ago, the MaGIC 2019 E-Nation Symposium took place, cutting across 6 pillars with the theme “Shaping An Entrepreneurial Nation”.
One of those pillars was social entrepreneurship.
More and more entrepreneurs are becoming aware that it is no longer enough for them to simply offer a product or service for strictly financial profits.
Consumers nowadays can be more ethically minded and are particular about what brands they support, so businesses will have to show that whatever they’re offering is also socially responsible.
Some of the older social enterprises (SEs) who are still around to lead by example have been getting more recognition as well, like GoodKids Malaysia, Coffee For Good, The Asli Co. and Kloth, for example.
Just recently, we also featured TheKedua, a new social enterprise. If anything, I see this as an indication that we’ll be seeing more SEs coming our way in 2020.
3. Out With Buying And In With Renting
Is renting the way of the future? It would seem so, as over the years we’ve slowly seen startups that offer rental services crop up here and there.
Most commonly, there is a significant number of property and vehicle rental startups, which leaves us spoilt for choice.
Then we have startups that are a little more niche, like this one that rents out baby gear, and some that offer a wide variety of objects for rent, like this platform that can rent out to you pretty much anything aside from a car or home.
Personally, I’ve never tried any of these rental services, but I am glad to see them gaining traction, as I’m definitely guilty of buying things that I never end up using.
At least with a rental, it won’t be collecting dust in a corner once I’m done with it.
4. Coworking Spaces For All Sizes
It’s alright, we all tend to assume that the only people who actually use coworking spaces are either freelancers or SMEs.
Which isn’t untrue, but it would appear that corporates are actually also beginning to see the appeal and benefits of working in coworking spaces, despite already having offices.
One clear advantage is being able to save on costs, but it’s also been noted that coworking spaces do facilitate collaborations, as a matter of fact.
With more corporates mingling with smaller startups in these spaces, I’m predicting that this will mark an increased opportunity for collaborations.
This leads into my next point, which is that we’ll probably be seeing SMEs leveraging corporates or more established startups to bolster and boost growth.
5. Working With The Giants, Not Against Them
Carving out your own path to success alone is difficult, no matter what you do.
I believe that partnerships and collaborations make the world go round, and many startups we’ve written about depend on them to elevate their growth.
Many businesses who are leaders in their industry have already built a whole ecosystem for themselves, so other companies can be resourceful and leverage that.
At Startup Outlook 2020, an intimate event, the panellists shared the example of how hotel booking platform Agoda has now put up its services on Grab’s app to leverage its huge user base.
6. Looking Out For Mother Earth And Her Tenants
As mentioned earlier, consumers are becoming more conscious of what they’re spending their money on.
Besides socially impactful businesses, they tend to spend on eco-friendly businesses too (which aren’t necessarily social enterprises).
A 2015 report by Nielsen showed that Southeast Asians were the most inclined globally to pay more for sustainable products and services.
Millennials tend to be more money savvy and will spend on businesses that align with their values, which are now focused on being socially responsible and eco-friendly.
So, I predict that more businesses will become more aware of this and begin catering to these values. When that happens, I believe it’ll be a win for everyone and Earth.
7. A Rise In Edutech Startups
Since joining Vulcan Post, I’ve published several articles on local edutech startups who are doing a variety of things for students and teachers alike.
One example was Anak2U that developed an app to help teachers cut down the time spent on admin work in schools. This enables the teachers to focus better on their students and optimise the learning process.
Another edutech startup we just recently wrote about is Arteca. They manufacture educational block based toys and robotics kits for children to learn Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) in school.
Our education system is still deeply flawed in so many ways, but more entrepreneurs are beginning to step up and address certain issues with tech.
There’s a lot of focus on the quality of education too, which is one of the pillars MaGIC wants startups to address.
Hence my prediction that 2020 will bring us more edutech startups with targeted visions and missions in making changes to our education system.
- You can read more about Malaysian startups we’ve written on here.
Featured Image Credit: The Asli Co. / Kloth / Paramount Property