GEN partnered with MiSK Foundation to launch the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC), and now it is even bigger and better than last year. EWC Malaysia is led by GEN Malaysia, a national affiliate of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. We spoke with Zulikhwan Ayub, its chief operating officer, on Malaysia's robust startup ecosystem and how the EWC platform has proven to be a huddle for their local entrepreneurs to gain exposure within the international space.
This article is part of a series highlighting EWC national organizers around the world.
ABOUT YOUR COUNTRY’S STARTUP ECOSYSTEM
GEN: Tell us about the startup ecosystem in your country. What are its main characteristics? If you could change one thing to make it better, what would it be? Who are the stars of your country’s ecosystem?
Zulikhwan Ayub: The government of Malaysia puts a great emphasis on entrepreneurship. The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development pushes for more startups to be developed in the country by providing a safe and appealing launching pad for them by capitalizing its geographical location as an internal hub in the capital of Asia.
While Malaysia is generally pushing for the development of national entrepreneurship among its citizens, all agencies are still working in silo. Several agencies that were set up and monitored under the ministry include MAGIC, SME Corp, SME Bank, CGC, TEKUN and INSKEN.
ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION
GEN: Tell us about your organization. What does it do to support entrepreneurs and/or grow your startup ecosystem?
Zulikhwan Ayub: Although GEN Malaysia has been an entrepreneurial affiliate in the country for a long time, a new rebranding process is currently being conducted. We have recently launched a new online resource centre to help local businesses and startups. At the same time, GEN Malaysia focuses on low-hanging initiatives such as providing support to connect entrepreneurs with relevant stakeholders. This is done through our active participation in local existing programs in which we assist both financial and non-financially.
ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP WORLD CUP
GEN: When did you decide to get involved in the Entrepreneurship World Cup and why?
Zulikhwan Ayub: We decided to get involved in EWC 2019 right after our acting Managing Director took over GEN Malaysia. We are always looking for a platform for Malaysian entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas to the world, and EWC is a model for that in itself. We hope to connect entrepreneurs to the international ecosystem and give them the exposure they deserve.
GEN: How does EWC support the other work that your organization does?
Zulikhwan Ayub: EWC provides us the platform to not only connect with other organizations around the world but also to gain and receive support. The competition also helps bring together all of the country's startups and gives us the platform to gain a better vision on the current entrepreneurship trend in our country.
GEN: What do you hope to achieve with EWC 2020?
Zulikhwan Ayub: I hope for Malaysia to have a successful final. Even if we don't become a champion in the EWC Global Finals, we are extremely grateful for all the opportunities that we have gained from this platform — especially the exposure to our country's finalist. This experience is important for not only them but Malaysia in its entirety, because they will share the skills they have gained with all local entrepreneurs.