Khazanah launches programme to uncover Malaysians with entrepreneurial ideas

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 3): Khazanah Nasional Bhd today launched a programme to uncover and equip Malaysians with entrepreneurial ideas.

Called Khazanah Nasional Enterpreneurship Outreach (KNEO), the 28-week programme involves a series of bootcamp and accelerator courses, and is open to all Malaysians.

Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said KNEO is part of the sovereign wealth fund’s efforts to develop national human capital.

“In line with the Bumiputera Empowerment Agenda, where Khazanah is the ongoing secretariat for government-linked companies, KNEO will ensure significant and meaningful participation by Bumiputera entrepreneurs,” he added.

Khazanah executive director of investments, Tengku Datuk Seri Azmil Zahruddin Raja Abdul Aziz, said that what sets the programme apart from other such accelerators is that it encourages non-tech-related applications in addition to tech-centric ideas.

“This is also a full national outreach, and we will look hard in other parts of Malaysia, not just the Klang Valley,” Azmil told reporters at a pre-launch briefing.

Khazanah will be partnering three accelerators as partners for the KNEO programme, namely Watchtower and Friends, 1337 Ventures, and Code Ar.my.

These accelerators will each be overseeing 10 selected teams during the acceleration phase of the programme, after 30 teams have been selected from the shortlisted 90 applicants.

During this phase, teams will receive mobilisation funding of  RM20,000 each in exchange for a 2% stake in their start-up to be held by the accelerator partners.

“Giving the stake to the accelerators will give them more interest in the success of the startups,” Azmil said, adding it is Khazanah’s secondary objective to develop long-term investment opportunities.

The top three finalists, which will be named following a ‘Demo Day’ at the end of the programme in the second quarter of 2018, will ultimately be awarded RM30,000 each.

Azmil said RM3 million has been allocated by Khazanah for KNEO, which is an expansion of Project Brainchild, initiated in 2015 by Khazanah among its employees and related companies to encourage entrepreneurial talent.