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Wadhwani Foundation launches NEN-Malaysia

~Part of the Wadhwani Foundation’s fast expanding global footprint with recent launch in Indonesia and Pakistan, and upcoming launch in Africa ~

~ Wadhwani foundation & NEN will provide a systematic and structured strategy towards building and expanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Malaysia ~

~Cradle Fund Sdn. Bhd., the strategic partner of Wadhwani foundation & NEN will use and synergize its network and resources for promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in academic and professional circles~

Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday, 25th March 2015 – Wadhwani 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.

About Wadhwani Foundation:

Founded in 2000 by Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, the Foundation’s primary mission is economic acceleration in emerging economies. The Foundation is driving economic growth in India and other Asian countries through large-scale initiatives in job creation and skill development. To achieve this the Foundation has launched five high impact Initiatives in India, with the goal of creating 25 million jobs in the next 5 years.

For job creation, Wadhwani Foundation established the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) in 2003. NEN has built a strong network with 600 colleges, 4000 mentors and 3200 faculty in India that continue to inspire, educate and support emerging entrepreneurs.  Thousands of practicing entrepreneurs and startups are also supported through NEN’s Entrepreneur Academy that features hundreds of short videos from experienced entrepreneurs, angels, VCs along with dozens of longer video courses and blog posts. Since inception, NEN has resulted in 2,000 new startups with 12,000+ direct and 50,000+ indirect jobs and is now tracking 1,500+ new companies each year.

Other Initiatives of Wadhwani Foundation include Skills Development Network (SDN) which supports multiple college, high school and employer initiatives for entry level mid-skill jobs, Opportunity Network for Disabled (OND) aimed at mainstreaming the educated disabled into sustainable high quality corporate jobs, Research and Innovation Network (RIN) aimed at upgrading India’s research eco-system by catalyzing ‘Centers of Innovation’ in partnership with existing research Institutes and Policy which provides data driven research inputs for informed policy actions towards creating a human-capital driven growth economy.

About Cradle:

Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (Cradle), is a private limited company that administers the “Cradle Investment Programme” (CIP) which is a Malaysian Government funding programme under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance. The programme’s objective to stimulate the growth of Malaysian technopreneurs by providing pre-seed funding and commercialization support for technology ideas to individuals, research institutes and institute of higher learning, in areas of ICT, biotechnology, life sciences, high growth science and technology industries that are capable of being developed and commercialized.

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