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KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 ― Need a one-stop centre for entrepreneurs? All you need is MaGIC — the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre — which opens its doors to aspiring entrepreneurs this weekend, in conjunction with the official state visit by President Barack Obama.

Obama will officiate at the two-day Entrepreneurial Carnival at the MaGIC centre in Cyberjaya tomorrow with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who announced the idea of setting up MaGIC during the 4th Entrepreneurship Summit held in Kuala Lumpur last October.

The official visit will mark the much awaited launch of MaGIC, which was also highlighted in the 2014 Budget speech where it received an allocation of RM50 million for its activities.

“Once the centre is open, aspiring Malaysian entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to head to one focal point to learn more about entrepreneurship and what it takes to be successful in this field,” said Finance Ministry secretary-general (treasury) Tan Sri Dr Irwan Serigar Abdullah, who is also chairman of MaGIC.

MaGIC was established with the objective of transforming Malaysia into a dynamic entrepreneurial nation by enabling domestic and international entrepreneurs to successfully start and grow their businesses.

Besides promoting the entrepreneurial spirit, programmes scheduled by MaGIC aim to equip participants with the right attitude in approaching business challenges, finding the right investors and encouraging them to come up with innovative marketable solutions for the regional and global markets.

To help achieve its goals, MaGIC is forging partnerships with the California-based Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD) of The Leland Stanford Junior University and UP Global.

UP Global is a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, grassroots leadership and strong communities, and is collaborating with the US State Department to establish entrepreneurial programmes in over 1,000 cities around the world by 2016.

Other collaborations that will complement MaGIC’s efforts include those between Biotech Corp Malaysia and California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3); Malaysian Venture Capital Management Berhad (Mavcap) and Silicon Valley-based Elixir Capital; and Mavcap and 500 Startups.

Axiata Group president and Group CEO Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim, who is also a MaGIC director, said he was honoured to be part of the MaGIC initiative.

“It is timely for us to form a collaborative effort in promoting technopreneurship. This is especially so in light of recent findings from reports, such as the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2013, which has found low interest levels, of only 11.8 per cent, for entrepreneurship amongst Malaysians,” said Jamaludin.

“Secondly, startup issues are not simply about funding but also awareness, idea generation, commercialisation and mentorship. In my opinion, MaGIC should play a strategic and game-changing role towards bridging this gap.

“Axiata hopes to provide an industrial perspective, providing expertise from IT, mobile, content and digital services, in the hope of playing a strategic role towards nurturing global champions.

As a nation we need to move fast; we need to inculcate an innovative culture early in order to gain a quantum leap in making a mark in the k-economy.”

The two day carnival will kick off nine MaGIC programmes including MaGIC-PitchIN Challenge, Halal Tech Challenge, Make Weekend Robotics and Makeweekend Impact, Accelerace, MaGIC-PitchIN Jr Challenge, Mega Startup Weekend, the BOD Online Reality Series and Enterprise Ignite Accelerator Challenge.

“I’m very excited to see these nine programmes begin and I am also looking forward to the launch of the MaGIC centre,” said Irwan.

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