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Wadhwani Foundation launches NEN-Malaysia



wadhwaniWadhwani Foundation launched its decade old flagship Initiative, National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) in Malaysia, with Cradle Fund Sdn. Bhd as its strategic partner.  This expansion of Wadhwani Foundation’s global footprint is in line with its objective of creating impact opportunities in emerging economies with entrepreneurship development as a key tool for sustainable job creation.

Statistically, economic growth of a nation and subsequently the creation of new jobs, is fuelled by large numbers of high potential entrepreneurs starting and growing enterprises. Therefore, the Foundation will seek to enhance the entrepreneurial capacity in Malaysia, with an intent to have a multiplier effect on job creation and the growth of the nation’s economy.

Expressing happiness on expanding the global footprint of Wadhwani Foundation into Malaysia, Dr. Ajay Kela, President and CEO, Wadhwani Foundation said,“Wadhwani Foundation for over a decade has pursued its mission of economic development in emerging economies by creating millions of jobs through promoting entrepreneurial and employment skills and driving policy changes to jump-start economic opportunities. It gives me great pleasure that the Foundation’s flagship initiative, National Entrepreneurship Network is now expanding its network and capacity building model to Malaysia. I am confident that this will greatly enhance the entrepreneurial opportunities in Malaysia. We hope that by sharing our IP, resources and experiences; and forging strong and deep partnerships we will play a key role in contributing to further the economic growth of Malaysia”.

In recent years, the entrepreneurial activities have been gaining momentum in Malaysia. The ecosystem is relatively strong with the Malaysian government emphasising entrepreneurship as playing a key role in driving Malaysia towards a fully developed nation status by 2020.  The government is currently putting in place various programs to help entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs start viable ventures and sustain them through various programs being currently offered through various bodies. Along with the initiatives under the Economic Transformation Program (ETP) and the Government Transformation Program (GTP) it is hoped that it will help move Malaysia to become a high-income nation comprising individuals who are of entrepreneurial mind-set and are able to create value through innovation and creative ventures that will further spur the economy towards higher growth.

However, there needs to be a more concerted effort by the various institutions and statutory bodies  to institute in place a more effective and co-ordinated structure.  Hence the key role of Wadhwani Foundation’s NEN will be to provide a systematic strategy towards building a structured entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country which will involve various stakeholders – entrepreneurs, students, educators, mentors, and investors.

According to Mr. Nazrin Hassan, CEO, Cradle Fund Sdn. Bhd., “To be successful, entrepreneurs need to take key lessons from the experience of other entrepreneurs who have walked the path. Cradle has been supporting Malaysian technology start-ups for more than 10 years and many have grown to become big names and raising further rounds of investments like MyTeksi and Intelligent Money. We’ve followed and charted their journeys and we’re pleased to share it with other aspiring entrepreneurs. Through its Coach & Grow programme, Cradle has built up a good network of mentors who have helped entrepreneurs sharpen their skills. Their advice will also go a long way to helping develop capable entrepreneurs,”he said.

NEN has a substantial repository of resources to build an ecosystem which includes tailor-made programs to build entrepreneurial capacity in academia, and also to support entrepreneurs through events, workshops, and webinars. NEN’s rich experiential content and its scientific approach towards building a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem will be leveraged over a wide network of beneficiaries in Malaysia such as universities, entrepreneurs, educators, businesses, investors, and the government among others, with the strategic alliance with Cradle Fund Sdn. Bhd. And also other potential partners that we form strategic partnership alliances with, in our endeavor to promote and enhance the right entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Sunita Singh, Co-Founder NEN and Vice President, Wadhwani Foundation, says, “NEN has a rich history of creating and supporting entrepreneurs and innovators, leading to job creation. One of the salient features of NEN’s resources and IP is that they are contextualized for emerging economies and deployment of these is critical to scaling our efforts and impact across the globe. At the same time in each nation we have the opportunity to develop more nuanced approaches and content which increases the effectiveness of the Wadhwani Foundation’s work with entrepreneurs. Our partnership with Cradle will enable us to bring together the right stakeholders in Malaysia including the government, academic institutions, entrepreneurs and associations to enhance the resources and connectedness of the eco-system. We hope to leverage the Wadhwani Foundation technology platforms for aspiring and new entrepreneurs to help scale support for entrepreneurs to the different parts of Malaysia thereby supporting and harnessing the country’s innovation and entrepreneurial potential.”

A robust entrepreneurial ecosystem will open up new channels of communication within the community to drive innovative and entrepreneurial projects in Malaysia. The ecosystem includes students and entrepreneurs who will be supported by a growing network of educators, mentors, and investors along with the steady introduction of a host of programs, resources, and policies to enhance their learning and progress.