The Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre’s (MaGIC) transfer to a different ministry sees its focus centred even more on technology, while keeping a finger on the pulse of Social Entrepreneurship (SE).
Its chief executive officer Dzuleira Abu Bakar revealed that the organisation had recently been moved from the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (Medac) portfolio to the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) portfolio.
She said the realignment was a strategic fit as Mosti’s roles – Intellectual Property (IP) creation, market access and scalability – were already areas MaGIC covered, which had seen it collaborating closely with Mosti entities including Cradle Fund and Mimos Bhd.
“Our role now is building and growing startups and the capacity of the individual by providing funding, relevant support, training and accelerator programmes,” she said, adding that the goal was to grow local startups to be competitive locally, then scale regionally.
Dzuleira assured there would be no change in its business operation, with staffing and their headquarters staying on in the MaGIC campus in Cyberjaya.
One significant change would be the extent of MaGIC’s involvement in SE initiatives – the agency had previously spearheaded Medac’s Social Enterprise Accreditation (SE.A) programme, which would now revert back to the ministry’s purview.
This national certification provides social enterprises with various incentives and recognition of their efforts from participating bodies including the ministry, MaGIC, Institut Koperasi Malaysia, SME Bank, SME Corp, Co-operative Societies Commission (SKM) and more.
Accreditation would continue to be done by Medac, though MaGIC would still play a role in recommending viable companies that fit the criteria of businesses that proactively create positive social or environmental impact in a financially sustainable manner.
Despite the move, MaGIC’s place in the SE ecosystem was acknowledged in the government’s Penjana economic recovery plan, which allocated it RM10mil for social enterprises under the Social Elevation (SEE) initiative.
This matching fund would provide capital to social enterprises who were able to crowdsource contributions and donations to undertake social projects that addressed challenges faced by targeted communities.
Some examples of SEs contributing to disadvantaged communities include Animal Projects and Environmental Education Sdn Bhd (Ape Malaysia) which aids environmental conservation, Langit Collective which works with smallholder East Malaysian farmers, and Komuniti Tukang Jahit that provides business training to housewives and single mothers.
In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on businesses, MaGIC said it would also be working with the Finance Ministry’s Malaysian Debt Ventures on the Technology Start-Ups Funding Relief Facility (TSFRF), an RM100mil fund meant to provide cash flow support for Venture Capital or government agency-backed technology startups to sustain their business operations.
MaGIC and its Mosti stable-mates Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP) and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) informed the Finance Ministry of the startups’ needs and would vet and funnel qualified companies toward the fund.
“This is not a lifeline to every startup, but for viable ones with scalable plans,” Dzuleira said.
She listed health care and deep tech for the creation of new medical devices and data analytics as key areas of interest during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Asked about how the movement control order (MCO) was affecting its operations, she said MaGIC had taken its programmes online where possible and was looking to launch more workshops and industry partnerships in the near future.