By Tara Yean
GIL Malaysia 2017 shares how entrepreneurs of today do what they do and achieving success
Global markets are being disrupted by an accelerating pace of innovation in the digital world. Digital transformation has entered an era of unprecedented change for enterprises necessitating a fundamental shift across processes, functions, customer engagement and many other aspects of business. Today, more than ever before, it has become imperative for organisations to implement concrete strategies around digital transformation.
“Digital transformation is deeply impacting our businesses and our society. The digitisation of data helps make things more efficient by saving on paperwork, manpower and time, where multiple things are now in reach at the click of a button. While digitization is creating great value for society; collaboration between businesses, regulators and policy-makers to maximize value for business and wider society will be imperative,” says Manoj Menon, Senior Partner & Asia Pacific Managing Director, Frost & Sullivan.
In its tenth year, Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Innovation and Leadership (GIL) 2017: Malaysia congress addresses the continuing the journey to visionary innovation, where among its sessions, the event hosts a panel discussion with some of Malaysia’s up and coming entrepreneurs in this digital age, where they share their views and experiences.
Despite being one of the largest eCommerce markets in Southeast Asia, Malaysia still has a long way to go with its penetration rate only at 1% to 2% as compared to 7% to 8% in more advanced countries.
According to Jesrina Arshad, Co-founder and CEO of PurelyB, she became an entrepreneur due to her own frustration of having to battle health issues. As for Goh Chee Hau, Managing Director of The Lorry, he co-founded The Lorry in 2014, when a digital platform for lorry rentals have not existed yet.
To them, being an entrepreneur in the digital age means providing solutions to the consumers by creating or disrupting products and services to suit the consumers’ needs.
Easier Said Than Done
It is an exciting time in the Southeast Asian region with all the disruptive technology rising in entrepreneurship. Combined with all the support from the government and institutions like Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), it’s safe to say that we can expect to see a lot more innovation coming from local SMEs.
However, Karl Loo, CEO of ServisHero believes that the major inhibitor holding entrepreneurs back from reaching their full potential is the cultural and mind shift change. Needless to say, they would need the support from the people around them to back up the courage it would take to do something that is outside the norm.
“I think one of the biggest challenges is taking the risk going down the journey of entrepreneurship and breaking the traditional career path,” states Loo.
“That’s mostly the case for women,” adds Jesrina. “They lack the confidence to turn their great ideas into reality – but once they see the success of other women entrepreneurs out there, they will feel more empowered to take that step.”
She also mentions the saturation of the market today causes people to doubt themselves more, making them fear failure if their product/services are not uniquely interesting enough to be a hit for the consumers.
When There’s a Will, There’s a Way
From the words of Joel Tay, Chief Business Officer of Soft Space, this is the golden age of opportunity. Entrepreneurs who come up with disruptive technology also have a choice to work together with the disrupted to create brand new offers – with fintech being an example. More and more financial institutions are going digital and adapting the way they do business to improve customer experience.
With all this technology going around, it is only natural that there should be enough space to cater the demand, which calls for more data centres to store the information.
“People rely heavily on technology and web services now. As a result, there’s going to be a high demand for infrastructure to support this digital economy,” concludes Loo.
This story first appeared in the Business Today magazine (June 2017 issue)