Startups receive fresh boost from Malaysia’s 5th Digital Hub: Sunway iLabs


CEO of MDEC Datuk Yasmin Mahmood presenting the Malaysia Digital Hub Certificate (done)

Photo - (From left) Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, CEO of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) presents the Digital Hub Certification to Founder and Chairman of Sunway Group, Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah.


  Malaysia-headquartered Sunway Group's non-profit startup incubator, Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs), has just been declared a Malaysia Digital Hub by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

It was just a few months ago - in May - when conglomerate Sunway Group opened Sunway iLabs to offer major growth acceleration opportunities to startups.

At that launch event, Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah AO, founder and chairman of Sunway Group, and chancellor of Sunway University, said the aim was to help establish Malaysia as a regional startup hub.

Riding on the theme of growth hacking, Sunway iLabs set out to embrace skills from 12 business sectors, run accelerator programmes, and also act as a micro ecosystem to nurture the wider national startup ecosystem.  (See -'Growth-hacking' at Malaysian university's new lab embraces 12 business sectors)

A few months later in September, Sunway iLabs' also announced its first major challenge for startups. Also present then, the Crown Prince of Selangor and Royal Patron of Selangor Youth Community (SAY), DYTM Raja Muda Selangor Tengku Amir Shah ibni Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, commented: "Young entrepreneurs are assets to the State, and even more for Selangor as the biggest revenue contributors to the nation," commented the Crown Prince. "With the Start-It Challenge, entrepreneurs would have the opportunity to pitch their ideas, and be equipped to tackle market challenges." (Also see - This is Sunway incubator's three-pronged objective for Malaysian startups)
 Fifth Malaysia Digital Hub
 On 14 December 2017, Sunway iLabs' story moved up to a new level when it was officially declared by MDEC as Malaysia's fifth Malaysia Digital Hub.

"We are delighted to announce Sunway iLabs as Malaysia's fifth Digital Hub," said MDEC's chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood during the official announcement. "Digital hubs provide startups and tech entrepreneurs the connections and dynamic workspaces to achieve rapid growth and help Malaysia establish itself as a digital and tech hub in the ASEAN region."
In addition, Yasmin also noted: "Our target in 2017 was to establish three Digital Hubs and we are happy that we have surpassed our target with today's announcement."
MDEC awards the Malaysia Digital Hub status to partners in a position to catalyse the economy by attracting and maintaining startups and its ecosystems. The Digital Hub's offerings need to include high speed broadband and other soft offerings. "A Digital Hub is a co-working space that allows the setup of tech and digital startups in a conducive environment."

This space provides the opportunity for entrepreneurs to connect to global markets and the digital ecosystem, according to MDEC's guidelines. A Malaysia Digital Hub provides G.R.O.W.T.H. opportunities for businesses:

  • G - Global expansion opportunities for growing startups
  • R - Ready access to high-speed broadband and fibre optic connectivity
  • O - Optimised for funding and facilitation opportunities
  • W - Workforce-ready via a robust talent development ecosystem
  • T - Technologically focused to abstract global tech companies as anchor tenants
  • H - Holistic convenience and lifestyle experience

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