Designing the Future @ GECommunity Summit 2017
The two-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GECommunity Summit) 2017 concluded on a new high with almost 15,000 participants from 80 countries in attendance on 13th December. This summit builds on the momentum of the first edition and was certainly a fertile gathering for a global meeting-of-minds between aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs alike with investors and policymakers.
The objective of the GECommunity Summit was to bring the simple phrase of ‘What If?’ to a whole different meaning – painting a canvas of possibilities through impactful conversations and insightful sessions from exceptional parties within the entrepreneurship ecosystem in ASEAN. From GEC Lab sessions aimed at enhancing respective sectors, to panel sessions discussing opportunities and challenges in various fields, to masterclasses with the great innovators of our time, the 2-day summit was a convening ground for all parties within the ecosystem to share insights and ideas.
And what a stellar list of highly-laudable and world-acclaimed speakers there was this year to ignite the imagination of all on what kind of future should an entrepreneur design for. They included the likes of Dr. Michio Kaku, world-renowned theoretical physicist and futurist; Fleur Pellerin, Founder of Korelya Capital; Professor W. Chan Kim and Professor Renee Mauborgne, Big Data And Machine Learning global best-selling authors and co-directors of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute; Sophie Hackford, futurist and researcher and Dr. Julian Hosp, Co-founder & President of Tenx.
With the ambitious theme of ‘Designing the Future’, this year’s Summit brought into focus the need for greater co-operation between corporates and entrepreneurs to realise exponential growth and truly shape future economies. The Summit solidified collaborations between corporates, government agencies and entrepreneurs with over 250 collaborations activated, helping corporates uncover innovative ways of working, while giving entrepreneurs true test-bedding opportunities. Aspiring entrepreneurs made up 30 per cent of the Summit’s participants. Experienced entrepreneurs made up a further 20 per cent, with the rest representing larger corporations, ecosystem partners and government policy makers.
“In a year, we have turned the GECommunity Summit into a must-attend for both aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs as well as corporates. The Summit is a crucial spark that continues to ignite the global entrepreneur movement and, more importantly, lead the way to unlock exponential economic growth and true value to our society,” said Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, Secretary General of Treasury, Ministry of Finance (MoF).
In PM YAB Dato’ Sri Najib Razak’s opening speech on Day 1, he announced that one of the initiatives from last year’s session was the first United Nations Technology Innovation Lab (UNTIL) in Southeast Asia. Located at the Futurise Centre in Cyberjaya, its aims is to get Malaysians closer to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The centre will also house the region’s first entrepreneurship radio station, eFM, that will be driven by the Global Entrepreneurship Movement (GEM). In addition, the Futurise Centre will also drive the development of the regulatory sandbox for key industries, and the Malaysian Innovation Superclusters, through the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC).
“The Impact Driven Enterprise Accreditation Programme (IDEA), aimed at developing social innovation in Malaysia has 44 participating companies collectively garnering more than RM3 million from impact-drive enterprises. The launch of the Social Impact Exchange (SIX) will bring even more companies into the fold as Malaysia’s first pay-for-impact exchange through the combined efforts of Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) and MaGIC, under the NBOS ambit,” said YAB Najib Razak.
A key highlight of GECommunity Summit 2017 was the inaugural Global Blue Ocean Shift Awards, recognizing the outstanding achievements across the public, private and social sectors around the world. These award winners were recognised for creating their own blue oceans, opening up new frontiers of opportunity and growth whilst creating a new pipeline for economic expansion. Coming from diverse countries like Brazil and Iraq to Malaysia, the winners represent a cross-section of industries, including property development and personal hygiene, to music.
The Summit also hosted the ASEAN Roundtable Dialogue, which was attended by key enablers of the region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Focusing on encouraging cross-border collaboration, the dialogue opened up discussions on pragmatic solutions to develop and enhance the entrepreneurship talent pool through talent exchange programmes and regional policies that facilitate knowledge sharing and accelerating start-ups among member states.
A total of 100 GEC Labs were organised throughout the Summit, covering over 15 themes. Many of the discussions revolved around established hot topics like machine learning & Artificial Intelligence, smart cities, as well as emerging areas like social innovation.
With 2500 participants from 24 countries, a vibrant collaboration is expected to ensue with over 150 corporate and government agency partners, targeting RM100 million in value creation over the next three years.
GEC Labs are the core to the Summit – connecting corporates to the broader ecosystem players and influencers in designing the future and sailing through the blue oceans to transform the industry. Amongst the key highlights of the initiatives were:
- POS Malaysia – digital identity empowered by blockchain technology
- ID Capital – building the innovation ecosystem for the agri and food sector
- Artnergy – pushing the renewable energy space for smart cities
- MyNEF – creating a Southeast Asian logistics network
- TAPAK – reshaping the mobile food truck industry
- Remote year – building a global hub for digital nomads
- Marvelstone Group – building a global fintech hub
- Startup Tucson – building dynamic business via innovation and entrepreneurship
- Asian Institute of Management – upskilling and reskilling the workforce
- Esona Nature – supporting parenthood via mobile app
Encouraging a healthy pipeline of entrepreneurs is a critical aspect to nurture the spirit of entrepreneurs who are eager to solve problems we face today whilst anticipating challenges we will face tomorrow. “We work closely with GECommunity Summit to achieve the government’s role in ultimately creating more job creators instead of job seekers among the youth,” said Dato’ Seri Haji Idris Jusoh, Minister of Higher Education Malaysia (MOHE).
Some of the programmes conducted included: MOHE Siswapreneur Makerthon Challenge: Smart City, Smart Community; Entrepreneurial Higher Education Symposium: Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for Higher Education Institutions towards Industry 4.0; Public-Private Research Network Innovation Lab; Public-Private Research Innovation Award.
Another crucial aspect is funding. Funding fuels entrepreneurial progress and this is encapsulated in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation’s (MOSTI) Malaysia Commercialisation Year 2.0. Aimed at connecting research resources with entrepreneurs to drive commercialisation of new products, services and technologies, the MCY Summit showcased progress and achievements of commercialisation activities, featuring start-ups, innovation and technology that are making strides in the market.
“Knowledge-transfer forms only a fragment of the entrepreneur’s path to the future – equally important is the platform that supports the commercialisation of products and technologies – the goal of Malaysia Commercialisation Year 2.0. Our aim is to connect our deep research resources with entrepreneurs to drive commercialisation of new products, services and technologies. The research community is a critical part of the entrepreneurship ecosystem because they bring the new ideas and products that would shape our future economy,” said Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau, Minister of MOSTI.
Other programmes that came under the banner of MOSTI were: MCY 2017 Award; Exhibition; Dialogue Sessions; Mentoring and Pitching; Young Innovators Corner 2.0 and Future Innovator’s – TN50.
At the closing ceremony, the Global Entrepreneurship Movement (GEM) announced its inaugural ColossusINNO2017 Global Winner. A group of 40 international judges narrowed down over 1780 applications from 88 countries to 10 finalists representing 9 countries.
BluSense Diagnostics from Denmark was made champion with their technology that enables the accurate diagnostic of dengue and zika using a single drop of blood. The winner bagged US$100,000 prize with a mentorship programme.
The power-packed programmes hosted during this whirlwind two-day summit not only directed attention to the five crucial pillars in unlocking entrepreneurial success: Inspire, Educate, Fund, Connect and Accelerate, but left many participants thinking. Will my job be displaced in a future of Artificial Intelligence or should I choose to be an active participant to design the future in this 4th Wave of scientific and industrial revolution?
Our neurons are all fired up after this Summit!