KUALA LUMPUR: Greater participation from venture capitalists, corporate partners and the private sector is needed to help grow Malaysian startups, said Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) CEO Mahadhir Aziz.

“The lining up of venture capitalists (and) the corporate partners is extremely critical and crucial at this point, but also in order to bring them to other markets as well,” he said at the launch of the 2022 Create@ Alibaba Cloud global startup contest today.

Citing the competition as a mode of mentoring startups, Mahadhir said the contest provides end-to-end assistance via funding, coaching, mentorship as well as bringing forward the finalists of the competition, at the global grand final to be held in China.

“However, from a global Malaysian tech ecosystem perspective, this shouldn’t be the only one. So we need to see more of that. More support that will be coming from the corporations, from the private sectors, to enable more companies to leverage from various kinds of technologies and ecosystems, for them to be able to prosper,” he remarked.

On local adoption of digitalisation,Mahadhir believes there is still a lot of room for improvement. However, he advised others not to judge too quickly.

“The idea is not to judge too quickly on the impact of this. We have seen a new set called ‘unicorns’. Carsome being one of them. But there’s also another set of ‘soonicorns’ that are not there yet and we need to help these companies as well.”

Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, is partnering with HandsProfit, the local operator of Alibaba Cloud Innovation Center Kuala Lumpur, in hosting and organising the contest in Malaysia. This contest acts as a platform to drive digital transformation and tech innovation and for tech startups to unleash their potential via a network of investor ecosystems.

As one of the largest entrepreneurship contests of Alibaba Group, Create@ Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest (CACSC) made its local debut in 2019.

Globally, dubbed “the Olympics” of technology venture capital, CACSC covers dozens of countries and just under 100 cities. Throughout the years, the contest in Malaysia has benefited more than 200 participants to help them further their digitalisation journey along with the requisite industry exposure. This year’s CACSC will be focusing on five core pillars – digital tech, food and beverage tech, agro tech, blockchain and Industrial Revolution 4.0.

In alignment with Alibaba Cloud’s long-term commitment to create a sustainable ecosystem for startups, the contest provides participants access to ready-funders and investors for their projects, Alibaba’s wide range of business ecosystems and resources, as well as benefit from the best digital business practices of Alibaba Group.