In 2004, the United Nations (UN) published a report advocating for businesses and stakeholders to pay closer attention to environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). It recommended actions such as implementing ESG principles and factoring them in when making investments. The ultimate goal was to facilitate sustainable development and more resilient financial markets.
In the years since, ESG has grown significantly with a number of countries introducing mandatory ESG reporting standards. For companies listed on the Singapore Exchange, sustainability reporting is required on a ‘comply or explain’ basis. Reports must include information such as sustainability policies and targets, relevant ESG factors, and climate-related disclosures.
Starting 2024, these rules will become stricter for companies in a number of industries – such as finance and transportation – ensuring that they report climate-related risks and opportunities, without exception. This information can prove valuable to investors, lenders, and other stakeholders.
For example, an ESG report could reveal whether a company is at risk of facing regulatory challenges. As governments around the world push for a green transition, sustainability guidelines are gradually being codified into rules and policies. Companies which don’t adequately prepare for these changes risk being left behind when they take effect.
Making ESG reporting simpler
While its benefits are apparent, ESG reporting is no simple task. Especially for small businesses, the cost of collecting and analysing data is a significant hurdle.
Beyond this, data accuracy is another pain point. Unlike financial reports where information can be easily quantified, ESG reporting relies on estimates and subjective evaluation.
As such, in Singapore’s efforts to improve sustainability reporting, these factors must be kept in mind. Companies need support to comply with reporting requirements while running their day-to-day operations.
At the Singapore Fintech Festival 2023, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) unveiled Gprnt.ai (pronounced ‘greenprint’), a platform designed for seamless ESG data collection and access. Using AI technology, Gprnt aims to help companies – both small and large enterprises – automate their ESG reporting process.
It was a combination of tech providers, global banking [companies], and regulators, invited to come together and find a comprehensive way to create a platform where everybody would be able to disclose [ESG] data in the most elegant and frictionless way.
– Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS
Microsoft, HSBC, KPMG in Singapore, MUFG Banks, and MAS are all strategic partners in this project, supporting the commercialisation of Gprnt.
The need for standardisation
Gprnt seeks to address a variety of issues which stand in the way of effective sustainability reporting. Among these is the need to standardise the data and metrics used by companies as part of their reporting process.
“Currently, the data sources are very disparate,” explains Sunil Veetil, HSBC’s Regional Head of Commercial Banking Sustainability. There aren’t established proxies to stand in where there’s a lack of data either. “And if you use inconsistent proxies, obviously, the end results will be very different.”
This makes it difficult for banks to provide loans or gauge customers’ credit scores based on existing methods of ESG reporting. For banks such as HSBC, it’ll prove useful if businesses begin using a common platform such as Gprnt for reporting. “This is what we’d like to focus on across the region.”
Banks and investors will be able to make more informed decisions when provided with high-quality data. This will enable money to flow into truly sustainable companies and away from greenwashing projects which have become prevalent in recent years.
For businesses, Gprnt will provide access to data from trusted providers and allow them to select from a curated set of global ESG standards. A dedicated AI tool will help identify ESG risks and areas of improvement as well. This service could help reduce the traditional costs associated with ESG reporting – a key factor to help ensure that small enterprises can keep up with regulatory requirements.
The future of ESG in Singapore
With Microsoft as a technology partner for Gprnt, Mohanty expresses hope that the reporting process will become as simple as the click of a button. “I think [there should be] a single button. You press it, the data gets collected and passed on to Gprnt, the report gets generated, and you take it to the bank to get credit.”
In reality, there are likely to be a ‘few buttons’ involved but the idea remains the same – breaking down the barriers to ESG reporting.
Earlier in November, MAS also announced that Gprnt had entered into a collaboration with Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF), an organisation representing around 5,000 corporate members.
“This collaboration signifies a major stride in our ongoing efforts to support the sustainability journeys of our 5,000 member companies,” says SMF President Lennon Tan. By integrating Gprnt into its initiatives, SMF will enable efficient capture and sectoral aggregation of ESG data.
“This advancement greatly simplifies the ESG reporting process, especially for small and medium enterprises,” he concludes.
Featured Image Credit: MAS
Happening from December 1 to December 9, 2023, there will be a lineup of exciting events for entrepreneurs. All with the shared goal of educating, inspiring, and connecting entrepreneurs across the nation.
That’s right, it won’t only be set in the Klang Valley. There will also be programmes hosted in other states, including Penang, Johor, Melaka, Sabah, and Sarawak.
Startup Week Malaysia is organised in collaboration with other active industry players, namely:
- Cradle Fund, Malaysia’s early-stage startup influencer with a focus on tech startups, incorporated under the Ministry of Finance (MOF) in 2003
- Asia School of Business, one of the most prestigious and selective business schools in Malaysia
- Female Founders in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, a Facebook group that’s for the empowerment of female entrepreneurs
With such a partnership, you can expect to be a part of multiple engaging and educational programmes. There will be 30+ events to choose from, but here’s a peek into 10 events that we think you’ll enjoy:
1. Lorong Belakang Bukit Bintang
First located at Shaftsbury Square, Cyberjaya, Lorong Belakang is a community street market managed by Youth Ventures. Unlike your usual pasar malam, the majority of the vendors are youngsters and it’s fully run by youth volunteers. Most of them are university students around the area, including MMU, Cyberjaya University, and Universiti Koperasi Polis.
With the support of Think City and GMBB, the brand is expanding and launching its second outlet in Bukit Bintang. There, visitors can expect to find over 50 vendors ranging from F&B, arts, and thrifts.
This will be happening on December 2, 2023 at Lorong Belakang, GMBB Mall, Kuala Lumpur from 11AM to 10PM.
2. Startup School Malaysia
As the name suggests, Startup School Malaysia is a programme for founders to build up their skills and knowledge. As a full-day event happening on December 4, 2023, there will be two sessions—Founder Focus in the morning and Social Enterprise Focus in the afternoon.
Both of them will feature talks by experts in their respective industries and successful entrepreneurs. Topics that will be covered include product development, fundraising, and building impactful and sustainable impact driven businesses.
The speaker lineup consists of notable names like:
- Richard Ker, founder of RK Digital (a creative marketing agency)
- Mike Smith, Managing Partner at 1337 Ventures (a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage Malaysian startups)
- Tunku Omar Asraf, Principal at Artem Ventures (a venture capital firm based in Malaysia)
- Nuraizah Shamsul Baharin, co-founder of MADCash (a fintech ecosystem builder that funds micro women entrepreneurs)
- Wan Dazriq, founder of PurpoSE Malaysia (a venture building firm focusing on social entrepreneurship development)
You can choose to join one session for RM80 or both sessions for RM120. Startup School Malaysia will be held at Asia School of Business.
3. Social Enterprise in Spotlight: Impact Driven Startups & Ventures
Ever wondered what being a social enterprise actually entails? At Social Enterprise in Spotlight: Impact Driven Startups & Ventures, you’ll get to meet up-and-coming organisations in the scene.
- Accelerate Global, an enterprise tackling youth unemployment issues worldwide
- Rootin, a digital platform providing support to autistic children and their caretakers
- Semart, an organisation providing street vendors with business insights to improve operations
Through this, you’ll be able to learn more about their business, motivations, and the positive social impact of their work. At the same time, you can explore ways to support their efforts and make a positive change.
This free event is happening on December 4, 2023 from 5PM to 7PM at Asia School of Business.
Organised by ASB, Pitch@ASB is a monthly pitching clinic to empower startups by honing their pitching skills. Through this programme, entrepreneurs would be equipped with the necessary skills for fundraising endeavours.
Before stepping into an actual high-stage pitching session, startups can use this as a training ground to later pitch their ideas to grant givers and/or investors.
How it works is startups are given five minutes to pitch their ideas, then have a 20-minute Q&A and feedback sessions with panellists. You will be judged based on the quality of the pitch and business potential by a panel of investors:
- Bikesh Lakhmichand, CEO at 1337 Ventures
- Jake Thui, Vice President of Investment at Ignite Asia
- Fuad Omran, Associate at Ikhlas Capital
- Shibu Vadaketh, Technology Fellow for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center at ASB
Pitch@ASB is still looking for startups to try their hand at impressing the judges, so if you’re keen to join, you can sign up here, no presentation slides needed!
Happening on December 5, 2023 from 2PM to 5PM at Asia School of Business, this free pitching clinic would be a useful platform to brush up your skills.
5. Dining with CEO: ZUS Coffee
Probably best known for their Spanish Latte, ZUS Coffee is a local chain that started in 2019. Since then, they’ve grown to become one of the nation’s largest coffee chains.
One reason for that is their integration of technology and coffee with the ZUS app. Currently, the coffee brand has 320 outlets nationwide, with talks of expanding to Manila, Philippines soon.
To gather the strategies, tactics, and insights that led to the brand’s rather meteoric rise, you’re invited to dine with its COO, Venon Tian, as part of Dining with CEO: ZUS Coffee.
Happening on December 5, 2023 from 3PM to 5PM, the event will be held at Tropicana Gardens Mall outlet. For Kachi’s Dining with CEO members, tickets are priced at RM50, whereas non-members can book a seat for RM150.
6. Startup Week Malaysia Marketplace
If you’re looking for a place to showcase your innovations, creations, or to just connect, then Startup Week Malaysia Marketplace might be a good place for you.
There, you can present your innovative solutions to potential investors and gain brand visibility. At the same time, there will also be a job fair where corporate professionals and students can network.
Since it’s a free public event, attendees could also bring along others who want to browse the crafts and merchandise on sale. It’s set to happen on December 6, 2023 from 11AM to 3PM at Asia School of Business.
If you’re interested in being one of the 30 booths at the marketplace, you can sign up with this form here.
7. Startup Tigers: The Roaring Entrepreneurial Spirits of Taiwan, Korea and Malaysia
A panel session, Startup Tigers: The Roaring Entrepreneurial Spirits of Taiwan, Korea and Malaysia will be exploring the startup ecosystem of the three countries.
Its international panel consists of names like:
- James Jung, Founder of BeSuccess (a leading English-language digital newspaper group in South Korea)
- Sophie Chiu, Principal of Appworks (one of Greater Southeast Asia’s leading startup accelerators in Taiwan)
- Adlin Yusman, Managing Director of Endeavor Malaysia (a local non-profit organisation that supports and invests in Malaysia’s high-impact entrepreneurs)
The session will cover topics such as startup support infrastructures, insights, and best practices for expanding in the three countries, and the innovative companies coming out of these regions.
Attendees can look forward to gaining insider knowledge into Asia’s interconnected startup ecosystems. It’s a free event happening on December 5, 2023 from 12PM to 1PM at Asia Business School.
8. Perak Entrepreneurs Meet Up
One of several out-of-state events, Perak Entrepreneurs Meet Up was organised to help connect startup enthusiasts, seasoned business owners, and those curious about the entrepreneurial journey.
Held at Hala Evergreen, Ipoh, the two hour meetup will have four main segments:
- A panel session to dissect the complexities of startup financing
- A presentation on local entrepreneurs from Ipoh that have achieved their big dreams
- A discussion on how to future-proof your business in a rapidly evolving world
- A networking session to share experiences and create new business opportunities
Happening on December 5, 2023 from 7PM to 9PM, tickets are priced at RM15 which includes light bites and refreshments.
9. Mental Health Workshop
The awareness for mental health care has been growing locally in recent years, thereby starting conversations around it. But now that there’s awareness, the question as entrepreneurs is how to create a startup culture that’s successful in business and provides holistic health.
This is what Mental Health Workshop will be discussing. Specifically, it’ll look into understanding mental health, exploring effective ways to avoid burnout, ways to foster a supportive workplace culture, and methods of practising mindfulness.
There will also be a panel dialogue with entrepreneurs who will share their own experiences in navigating mental wellness:
- Christopher Tock, CEO of Xhale Asia
- Shavkat Aslamshoev, co-founder and Managing Director at SafeTalk
- Derek Kulasingham, founder of Focused Mind Solutions
Happening on December 8, 2023 at Asia School of Business, the free workshop will last for two hours from 10AM to 12PM.
10. How to leverage on A.I. for your marketing? Using AI Marketing for e-Commerce
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the latest buzzword in many industries, so it’s time to find out how to leverage it for your business. Whether you’re just starting out with AI or want to take it up another notch, this event caters to a diverse range of skills.
How to leverage on A.I. for your marketing? Using AI Marketing for e-Commerce is set to provide actionable insights on how to drive more traffic, increase conversion rates, and maximise revenue.
Taking place in Asia School of Business, this free programme will be held on December 8, 2023 from 4PM to 5PM.
Aside from these, there are other programmes to further help you build your skillset and business. For example, Founders Hike with Fave’s co-founder, Yeoh Chen Chow, and BarCamp Cyberjaya 2023, where entrepreneurs like Khailee and Joel of Grab came from, as well as Female Founder Mingle Night for female entrepreneurs to network.
To check out the full agenda for Startup Week Malaysia and each programme’s breakdown, you can check out its Peatix page.
This event runs on a first-come-first-serve basis, so if there are any events that interest you, it’s best to sign up ASAP before all the seats are taken.
Featured Image Credit: Asia School of Business
[This is a sponsored article with VPS Malaysia.]
In 2012, Kon Jew Chung struggled to find an affordable VPS provider for his projects, and he knew from his experience that things didn’t have to be so costly.
Did you know: A VPS—or virtual private server—is a virtual machine that provides virtualised server resources on a physical server that is shared with other users.
Think of a VPS server like reserving a private room at a restaurant to celebrate an event like your birthday. Instead of eating at a table in the restaurant with other patrons (shared server), you can enjoy a separate and more reliable dining experience in a private space that can be customised to your needs.
So, he created his own, called VPS Malaysia.
VPS Malaysia’s affordability and quality services quickly gained traction in the market, and by 2023, it served over 30,000 companies in at least 71 countries.
To showcase VPS Malaysia’s impact, we interviewed users benefiting from its Forex VPS and Linux VPS services.
Providing a smooth forex trading ground
The forex market is highly volatile. A delay or lag in the network could result in the shift of a desirable rate.
Experienced forex traders often opt for fast networks with low latency, ideal routes, and stable servers to run their trades.
When opening or closing a trade, a forex VPS can provide traders with near-instantaneous executions. The communications between the forex VPS and the broker are routed through private networks, ensuring no packet loss and minimal delay during transmission.
Did you know: Packets are small units of data transmitted over a network from a particular source to a destination. Packet loss occurs when a network packet fails to reach its expected destination, resulting in information loss.
Understanding such demands, VPS Malaysia strategically located their Forex VPS servers in Amsterdam, New York, and Malaysia, which are close to major stock exchanges.
This can be seen through RONIN47 EA FX’s experience using VPS Malaysia’s Forex VPS since 2017. Founded by Azlan, the platform offers robo-advisor forex trading and has managed about 400 MT4 accounts to date.
Did you know: MetaTrader 4, also known as MT4, is an electronic trading platform widely used by speculative traders for online retail foreign exchange.
Azlan needs to rely on a VPS service that can provide 99.9% SLA (service level agreement) guaranteed uptime to be capable of executing rapid trades.
By leveraging VPS Malaysia’s services, Azlan can trust in the stability of his trading platform without the need for continuous monitoring. This streamlined approach reduces the menial tasks for his team, enabling them to concentrate on safeguarding the welfare of their customers’ accounts.
Azlan also commended VPS Malaysia’s 24/7 support team for promptly addressing technical issues with their VPS service, highlighting their reliable expertise and quick responsiveness.
Prioritising computational power through its CPU and RAM
Furthermore, VPS Malaysia provides high-performance servers vital for handling peak traffic demands. They achieve this by meticulously choosing optimal ECC REG RAM and Intel Xeon frequencies that align with CPU models.
This ensures reliable performance, enhancing both user experience and application speed.
VPS Malaysia’s 7% performance gap between the lowest and highest ECC REG RAM frequencies underscores the real-world benefits of choosing higher RAM.
This decision can affect website load speed and database query efficiency. It’s particularly advantageous for forex traders aiming to reduce latency and for ecommerce websites ensuring high uptimes, especially during promotional campaigns.
Meanwhile, VPS Malaysia ensures smooth operation for hosted services and applications with its Intel Xeon CPU providing computational power. Emphasising raw power efficiency helps prevent server overloads, a common issue for ecommerce sites during peak seasons.
The team believes that this approach differs from industry standards, where CPU selection typically prioritises performance-per-watt for cost-effective hosting.
“Focusing on raw performance, our CPUs are chosen based on capabilities, even if they are more power-hungry and come at a higher cost,” they explained. “Our goal is to deliver blazing-fast and reliable services, ensuring our clients’ hosted applications run smoothly.”
Offering a stable and reliable cloud connection
Ishman Izhar uses VPS Malaysia’s Linux VPS for his venture of creating a cloud CRM (customer relationship management) platform, aimed at helping agents better manage their clients.
Linux VPS and Windows VPS are cost-effective solutions for hosting websites, applications, and services while ensuring resource isolation and efficient management, fitting the needs of software developers.
The scalability of the system allows users to upgrade plans to match their growth.
This is because efficient management coupled with intelligent resource isolation allows software developers to freely implement updates and host cloud-native applications.
The VPS service offers complete root access for clients. That means clients have complete control of the virtual environment.
Ishmar also finds that VPS Malaysia’s Linux VPS provides him with ample resources. The RAID 10 SSD allows Ishmar to guarantee the safety of his data by reducing drive failure rates, whilst benefiting from its fast speeds.
Did you know: RAID 10 SSD is a way of setting up a storage system using fast SSDs where your data is both duplicated for safety and split for speed, giving you a good balance of performance and reliability.
Both Ishmar and Azlan are just two of VPS Malaysia’s clients benefiting from its services. VPS Malaysia also serves users across the fields of data science, ecommerce, and application hosting.
Ensuring scalability, performance, and security for SMEs
Ultimately, using a VPS offers businesses scalability, ensured performance, and security that can be crucial for those anticipating growth or facing fluctuating traffic patterns.
This ensures that enough resources can be allocated to the system, providing a smoother user experience.
That said, VPS Malaysia understands that businesses may lack the technical know-how to implement advanced IT infrastructure. To address this, their customer support offers tailored advice, ensuring even clients with limited IT expertise can effectively benefit from VPS services.
Despite their commitment to top-notch RAM and CPU options, VPS Malaysia maintains hosting solutions at prices similar to the market average. Essentially, you’ll receive a high-performance server at a rate that’s value for your money.
“This approach aligns with our high price-performance positioning. We aim to deliver the best possible performance without burning a hole in our customer’s pocket,” they emphasised.
Additionally, the team at VPS Malaysia is consistently investing in state-of-the-art technology, regularly updating their offerings to meet evolving client needs.
“This commitment extends to the development of improved plans, pricing models, and special promotions designed to appeal to a global audience,” added its founder.
To showcase this dedication, VPS Malaysia is launching their free cloud hosting beta test, now open for signups and limited to the first 100 customers.
Participants in the beta test will get the opportunity to gain firsthand experience with the new features offered. This allows users to test out the latest in cloud hosting technology and contribute to its refinement and improvement.
As for VPS Malaysia’s regular plans, here’s a breakdown of their features:
|Forex VPS (Standard)
|Linux VPS (Basic)
|Windows VPS (Basic)
|2 GB RAM
|1 GB RAM
|2 Cores vCPU
|1 Core vCPU
|50 GB SSD Disk
|40 GB SSD Disk
|30 GB SSD Disk
|1 Gbps Bandwidth
|2 TB Data Transfer
|Unlimited MT4/5Pre-installed MT4/5
|100 Mbps Bandwidth
|Multiple DevicesUnlimited Users
|VPS Control Panel
|1 Dedicated IP
- Find out more about VPS Malaysia’s services here.
- Read about other tech-related articles we’ve written here.
Featured Image Credit: VPS Malaysia