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MYStartup, in collaboration with Digital Penang, has kicked off its second NXT journey in Penang, aiming to accelerate startup growth in the northern region. 

This one-day micro-conference, co-organised by MYStartup and Digital Penang, was all about equipping founders with the tools and knowledge they need to fast-track their ventures and reach new heights.

The event highlighted untapped opportunities in Southeast Asia’s emerging markets for startups in Penang to explore. 

MyStartup is an initiative spearheaded by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) through Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (Cradle). Think of it as a one-stop shop for Malaysian startups, offering guidance, connections, and resources to fuel their growth.

Penang, a hotbed for tech innovation

Penang, fondly nicknamed “Silicon Valley of the East,” was a natural choice for this event, said Norman Matthieu Vanhaecke, the group CEO of Cradle in a press release.

The state boasts a booming semiconductor manufacturing industry, with giants like Intel and Nvidia calling it home. 

“Currently, Penang ranks third in the number of registered startups and the number of applicants, after Selangor and Kuala Lumpur,” he said. 

MYStartup NXT aims to capitalise on this strong foundation and help local tech ventures leverage the “Single Window” platform it provides.

This platform essentially connects startups with the wider ecosystem, including investors, corporations, and other crucial players. By fostering these connections, MYStartup hopes to propel Malaysia further up the value chain in the global startup scene.

According to Digital Penang CEO Ts. Ng Kwang Ming, Penang’s startups are at a pivotal juncture, benefitting significantly from state-driven initiatives that have cultivated a dynamic environment for innovation and growth. 

“Our concerted efforts with MYStartup are not only nurturing a sustainable technology startup ecosystem but are also pivotal in leading Penang’s digital transformation towards realising our vision of a Smart State by 2030,” he said.

MYStartup website

A fireside chat with insights

Breaking down the big-picture goals, MYStartup NXT featured insightful fireside chats where industry leaders like Norman shared their wisdom. 

Asserting confidence in Malaysian startups, Norman said, “They are not only catalysts for growth but the very engine of progress, addressing unique problems with disruptive solutions, creating jobs, stimulating the economy, and attracting foreign investment.”

Beyond the inspirational talks, the conference offered practical sessions on topics like seed funding, business development, and strategic partnerships. 

Experts from Cradle, Digital Penang, and other esteemed organisations like NEXEA, Petronas Ventures, ADA Biotech, Niagawan Plus, and Allianz shed light on how to navigate these crucial aspects of startup growth.

For those hungry for funding insights, there were dedicated sessions on “What’s Up Grant” and “Deal Hustlers.” The former focused on Cradle’s funding programmes, while the latter provided a platform for founders to connect with potential investors like Artem Ventures and Farquhar Venture Capital.

“Held for the second time in Penang, this year’s MYStartup NXT Penang has garnered more than 160 attendees, including startup founders, investors, corporate and ecosystem partners, and university students,” Cradle said in a press release.

2024 MYStartup NXT Penang has garnered more than 160 attendees, including startup founders, investors, corporate and ecosystem partners, and university students / Image Credit: Cradle Fund

Building a thriving startup ecosystem

Launched in 2022, MYStartup NXT has already travelled to five states across Malaysia, including Selangor, Johor, Sabah, Sarawak, and Penang. 

To date, the programme has attracted over 2,600 attendees and featured more than 100 industry experts.

While MYStartup has only recently been recognised as the Single Window for the Malaysian startup scene, it has been active since 2021, offering a variety of programmes to support this vision.

From hackathons and accelerators to boot camps and pre-accelerators, they’re there to equip founders with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.

The journey doesn’t stop here. MYStartup NXT has its sights set on the East Coast of Malaysia, aiming to broaden its reach and empower even more regions. 

With its commitment to building a high-performing, inclusive, and sustainable startup ecosystem, MYStartup is paving the way for a brighter future for Malaysian innovation.

So, regardless of where you’re based at in Malaysia, if you’re an entrepreneur with a dream to chase, MYStartup NXT is a valuable resource to keep on your radar. 

  • Learn more about MYStartup here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Cradle Fund

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