Spearheading University Student Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Malaysia

iLabs Foundry at Sunway University Launches the First University Led Startup Accelerator for All University Student Entrepreneurs

The first university led startups accelerator programme in Malaysia, LaunchX is hosted by Sunway Innovation Labs at Sunway University (iLabs Foundry). Aligning with Higher Education Institution (HEI) Entrepreneurship Action Plan 2021-2025, LaunchX aims to curate a synergistic and holistic entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports student entrepreneurs to realise their potential towards creating quality startups and achieving sustainable growth for their business venture.

LaunchX, a 3+2 months programme is an equity-free, no-strings-attached programme for budding entrepreneurs. Startups are expected to graduate from LaunchX with the following outcomes: to form a winning team, to develop a marketable MVP, to complete at least one round of pilot testing, and/or to register for a company.

Karen Lau, Director of iLabs Foundry said, “Being an entrepreneur is tough. It could be even tougher for the student entrepreneurs – they are juggling between their degree and their startups, they have no credibility, lack of business acumen, lack of experience in leadership in building and managing a team, etc. While we applaud their passion and courage, it’s important for the young entrepreneurs to stay grounded, to convert their fear, uncertainties, and weaknesses into strength by learning from the thought leaders and mentors from the ecosystem. This is all about LaunchX, which aims to convert student ideas into fundable startups.”

LaunchX is open to all University student entrepreneurs in Malaysia who are working on validated innovation ideas, particularly students venture that comes with (1) validated problem-solution fit – able to prove that the idea uniquely solves a problem of specific consumer groups and that the consumers are willing to purchase, with evidence of market research, (2) a prototype, and (3) Solutions that focus on the 17 United Nation Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Net Zero Carbon.

Professor Sibrandes Poppema, President of Sunway University said “having been recognized as a top university in the country, Sunway University is not only a leading provider of quality education and research, but also offers an open innovation ecosystem that supports collaboration by multiple stakeholders, bringing together mutual support and creating value that cannot be attained alone”.

CARSOME Co-Founder and CARSOME Academy CEO, Jiun Ee Teoh who will be one of the mentors in the accelerator programme said: “At CARSOME, we believe in the power of entrepreneurs to drive meaningful change and create new growth opportunities through innovative solutions. In line with this, we have continued to champion the need for a strong start-up ecosystem that can enable more entrepreneurs, who are also instrumental in supporting Malaysia’s economic growth. I am confident that LaunchX is well-placed to springboard ambitious start-ups which will go on to be impactful and inspiring. It is an honour to be contributing towards this excellent initiative by Sunway University’s iLabs Foundry.”

LaunchX is supported by MRANTI as the innovation partner, and other key stakeholders such as ecosystem partners (MDEC, Cradle, TEGAS Digital Village and Digital Innovation Hub, and Sabah Creative Economy and Innovation Centre (SCENIC), Venture Capital Partners (MAVCAP, Kejora, The Hive SEA, Ficus Capital, Nexea, Scale-up Malaysia, Gobi Partners, Bawatana, Sunway Corporate Venture Capital, Nanyang Angels and Reactor School), Perk Partners (Microsoft, AWS, Stripe and BossBoleh), industry Partners, IPTA and IPTS in Malaysia.

Dzuleira Abu Bakar, the Chief Executive Officer of MRANTI said “Startups and entrepreneurs are integral in the growth and development of a high-income nation. MRANTI fast-tracks Malaysia’s commercialisation of its technology and innovation by empowering startups that display immense growth and expansion potential. Across the innovation readiness lifecycle, MRANTI will work with ecosystem partners such as Sunway University-LaunchX to drive the growth of a high-tech nation through Science, Technology, Innovation and Economy (STIE) for societal well-being and sustainable development”.

Angel Low, Principal of The Hive South East Asia, one of the venture capital partners of LaunchX said “We believe talents are the core ingredients in any startup, especially the early-stage startups. At HIVE SEA, It is our commitment to spur the start-up ecosystem by encouraging innovative ideas and equipping these talented individuals with the necessary resources to scale and succeed”.

 “The LaunchX programme was the one that nurtured OPACK. I found all aspects of the programme to be extremely helpful. The programmes prepared by LaunchX included a speaker series that helped guide our path. We had business mentors tailored specifically for each startup, as well as the resources and networks necessary to help us forge a way forward” commented Yap Mei Xin, the founder of OPACK and alumni of LaunchX.

Registrations open from 1st February to 28 February 2023. To register or for more information, visit https://innovationlabs.sunway.edu.my/launchx/

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