Hot on the heels of the key trend, catalysed by the Covid-19 pandemic – accelerated digital adoption, is the main piece of advice any entrepreneur tends to get – Hang in there, things will get better.
Not surprising then that the theme of risilience is at the core of the anchor event of the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) for 2020, its eNation conference that will be held from tomorrow, 20 Oct right up till Friday, 23 Oct.
This year’s theme, Propelling a Resilient Economy is supported by three pillars – Embracing Change, Enabling Technology and Empowering Societies – which MaGIC hopes will give entrepreneurs enough ideas, inspiration, motivation, lessons and encouragement for them to make the decisions that will help them get started on the right track or able to make the tough calls to survive.
Among the bevy of senior business leaders and policy makers that eNation has brought together for its 2020 edition, include Khairy Jamaluddin, Malaysia's Minister of Science and Technology and unicorn entrepreneur Nadiem Makarim, Indonesia’s Minister of Education and Culture who is more popularly known as being the founder of GoJek.
Closer to home, attendees of eNation can hear from Cheryl Goh, Grab’s, group vice president who tells DNA she will focus on, “how Grab had to pivot as a business in order to serve our community better and how it’s important to stay true to our North Star when making difficult decisions and trade-offs.”
Grab is the Malaysian founded and led, mobility startup turned super app that has its headquarters in Singapore.
Cheryl’s sharing and other highlights over the four-day eNation will serve to reinforce the reality that Covid-19 has accelerated the need for innovation and created game-changing opportunities for the nation to bounce back and establish economic resilience.
“Essentially, we want to drive home that entrepreneurs, companies, countries must embrace change to ensure business growth and sustainability. That there are lessons to be learnt from the global health crisis and that by enabling technology, we are able to reengineer the way we operate and transform our futures,” says Dzuleira Abu Bakar, MaGIC’s CEO.
The first ever virtual edition of eNation is proof that MaGIC is walking the talk as well when it comes to embracing change by relying on technology.
Dzuleira notes that a silver lining to having the event fully virtual is that it allows MaGIC to provide a customizable, engaging and secure platform through which it can bring everyone together without risking health and safety.
Even while acknowledging the loss of face-to-face interactions, MaGIC is excited by the advantages of running a vertical event. For starters they are expecting more participants this year, thanks to the virtual nature of the event with registrations still open.
MaGIC has even come up with a more personalised and interactive space for participants to connect and network via the mobile app. “Going virtual also allows us to garner better and a variety of different metrics that will help us plan for future events,” explains Dzuleira.
New 2-week only mentoring platform for all to enjoy
One new aspect of eNation this year is the introduction of a virtual, 2-week mentoring platform
Dzuleira explains that, “the purpose is to tap into the existing knowledge, skills, and experience of high performing employees and transfer these skills to newer or less experienced employees in order to advance their careers.”
The best part is that anyone can sign up as mentee, it is not just limited to the participants of eNation. Mentors will provide knowledge to the mentees such as business planning, pitch deck feedback, fund raising, personal development and go to market strategy.
With so many outstanding sessions this year, participants need not be stressed out over missing clashing events as the recordings are available. And with MaGIC bringing so many prominent international speakers to E-Nation, despite the travel restriction, this becomes especially critical.
The event brings together 65 speakers and moderators in developing a sustainable innovation-driven entrepreneurship ecosystem for the nation. A quick run through the speaker list sees a number of former Heads of State, Helen Clark from New Zealand and Dr Un-Chan Chung from South Korea, former French Minister for SMEs, Innovation and Digital Economy, Fleur Pellerin and Ed Vaizey, former UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries sharing their perspective. They are joined by best-selling author, Prof Nassim Nicholas Taleb of New York University, academic and AI expert Tom Mitchell of Carnegie Mellon University, Google Malaysia country head Marc Woo, and Razer Fintech CEO, Lee Li-Ming who is among a host of leaders from successful startups.
Among them, Chris Leong, chief strategy officer of leading fintech company, Soft Space International, who tells DNA that, “Entrepreneurial innovation won't progress if everyone is in a silo. A conference like e-nation, helps bridge that by making the entire ecosystem smarter through sharing of war stories, lessons and trends.”
To that, Dzuleira adds, “attendees also have the opportunity to share their opinions and take part in discussions while expanding their network with other attendees via online messaging and attending virtual exhibitions.”
A look through the agenda shows a rich variety of sessions and topics that are sure to have you following session after session. Nonetheless, Dzuleira does highlight two sessions that she feels can be especially useful for stratups:
Trendspotting: Investment (21 Oct, 10am-11am)
Panelists: Jamaluddin Bujang (Managing Director, Gobi Partners, Malaysia), Jeffry Paine (Managing Director, Golden Gate Ventures, Singapore) and Andreas Surya (Principal, Kejora Capital, Indonesia)
Overview: A 2020 global VC funding is facing a downturn impacted by COVID-19. Many startups are running out investment money just as revenue dry up. In some ways, business mirrors biology. How do VCs respond to the pandemic? Join this panel session to discuss these questions and get your answers from VC’s perspective.
Tech for Good: How can we introduce tech innovation for the advancement of society?
(22 Oct, 11am-12pm) 2 sessions with panelist from various countries ie: Malaysia, Kenya, Indonesia, Thailand and Indonesia
Overview: While technology has had several less than desired impacts on society as a whole, it is an imperative enabler in creating a positive impact on society. So, how can we introduce tech innovation for the advancement of society?
Looking at the eNation conference, Chris of Soft Space feels that it will help stress, “the importance of looking beyond one's borders to expand the imagination of the business and the flexibility to learn new lessons.”
His advice to attendees, “take one lesson and experiment on your own business/life.”
Meanwhile, Cheryl feels that the timing of the conference is most opportune, reminding us of the words of the late racing great Ayrton Senna who once said “You cannot overtake 15 cars in sunny weather... but you can when it’s raining.”
In that same spirit, she believes, “this conference is an important reminder that we are living in a period of great opportunity and MaGIC is playing an important role in bringing great minds together for us to learn from.”