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'Growth-hacking' at Malaysian university's new lab embraces 12 business sectors

AvantiKumar | May 19, 2017
Malaysian government agencies help launch Sunway's ambitious new iLabs, which will also act as a startup incubator.

Sunway iLabs launch (8914)

Photo - Unveiling of the Sunway innovation Labs (from left) Dato' Chew Chee Kin, Tan Sri Dato' (Dr) Ramon. V. Navaratnam, Matt van Leeuwen, Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah AO, Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, Secretary General of Ministry of Finance and Chairman of Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) and Tan Sri Datuk Seri Razman M. Hashim.


  Malaysia's Sunway University's new innovations lab for technopreneurs will also act as a startup incubator, said Sunway Group.

During the recent launch of the Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs) at Menara Sunway, Sunway City, Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah AO, founder and chairman of Sunway Group, and chancellor of Sunway University, said the aim is to help establish Malaysia as a regional startup hub.

Sunway iLabs, which embraces skills from 12 business sectors, will run accelerator programmes, and act as a micro ecosystem to nurture the wider national startup ecosystem.

To set the tone, just before the official launch, panel sessions featuring 20 speakers from academia, venture capital firms, and successful startups as well as government agencies were conducted for more than 300 students and young entrepreneurs.

Speakers include Dato' Yasmin Mahmood, chief executive officer, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC); Steve Hsia, co-founder and CEO, Silicon Valley-based Young Outliers' and Chris Burry, co-CEO, US Market Access Center (USMAC).

Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, secretary general of Ministry of Finance and chairman of Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) then officially launched Sunway iLabs.

"The fact that Sunway's iLabs is set-up as a non-profit entity demonstrates Sunway's generosity and commitment to the national interest, particularly our drive towards being a top 20 country as outlined in the TN50. MaGIC is pleased to have Sunway iLabs as a partner," commented Mohd Irwan.

How the iLabs will work

Dr Cheah explained the not-for-profit smart partnership concept behind this initiative, which will see Sunway University, Sunway Group, and Sunway Ventures working together in "a triple helix innovation model, which combines the strengths of stakeholders across academia, industry and government within a collaborative space."

At the Sunway iLabs, students from Sunway University will be able to apply their talent and technical expertise to 'growth-hack' Sunway Group's 12 business units.

Sunway Ventures, the venture arm of Sunway Group, which was formed last year, will fund viable startups that are synergistic to Sunway's businesses, said Dr Cheah.

Also, Sunway iLabs will also sync with the wider start-up ecosystem in Malaysia and abroad through collaborations and strategic partnerships to enable entrepreneurs to scale their business.

Government support and a taste of Silicon Valley

Sunway iLabs has already forged links with government bodies such as the Malaysian government agency responsible for overseeing MSC Malaysia implementation, MDEC; Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM)-owned national technology commercialisation platform in collaboration with SME Corporation Malaysia, Platcom Ventures; Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), Cradle Fund (Cradle) and its official trade association and governing body for Angel Investors and Angel Clubs in Malaysia, Malaysian Angel Business Network. 


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