MDeC launches ‘MSC Malaysia for Startups’ to push country to be startup hub

MDeC CEO Yasmin Mahmood launching the MSC Malaysia for Startup programme.

Malaysia’s national ICT custodian Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) has launched the ‘MSC Malaysia for Startups’, a programme that aims to facilitate and accelerate local startups in obtaining recognition.

Launched Tuesday (May 12), the initiative is part of the national strategic initiative to position Malaysia as the ‘Entrepreneur Hub’ for Southeast Asia.

The move was supported by  Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) and other startup ecosystem players such as StartupMalaysia.org, the New Entrepreneurship Foundation (MyNEF), Cradle FundCyberviewNational Incubator Network Association500 StartupsTechnopreneur Association of Malaysia (TeAM) and Founder Institute.

MDeC CEO Yasmin Mahmood told reporters after the launch: “Startups have always wanted this status but we had a requirement for them to reside in the cyber city, which was limiting for them. Startups want to start from the garage or a room, not a nice office.”

Among the benefit now available to startups under the programme are the flexibility to choose the location of operation, ease of hiring foreign talents with which a startup can hire up to 20 foreign knowledge workers in key positions, competitive financial incentives which include 70 per cent tax exemption of statutory income for five years, and other MSC Malaysia Bill of Guarantees (BoGs) specified under the programme.

She added that the programme is an extended platform towards nurturing startups and was intended to take these newly emerging companies to the next level of growth.

“In addition to the specified incentives provided for under the BoGs, MSC Malaysia Status companies also benefit from MSC Malaysia Community Ecosystem,” she said.

The programme will not only assist local technopreneurs but also regional technopreneurs in setting up their startups here in Malaysia, Yasmin noted, and added that the main goal was to make Malaysia the startup capital of Asean.

MaGIC will be a key partner in promoting the programme and funneling potential startups for participation.

MaGIC CEO Cheryl Yeoh said: “When MaGIC had the first entrepreneur’s dialogue in 2014, the MSC Status location requirement was one of the issues raised by the startups. This programme and the additional benefits it offers will definitely boost and increase the number of MSC Malaysia Status startups and help drive the setup of foreign companies here in Malaysia,” she said.

As the MSC Malaysia Status does not enforce any limitation on foreign ownership, Yasmin noted that foreign entrepreneurs, in particular those from Asean, will find it easier to come in and set up a business under this programme.

“As long as their business is within the guidelines of MSC, as long as it is tech-related, value driven, high knowledge, and of high income which is what digital economy is all about,” she told reporters after the launch.

The MSC Malaysia Status is a recognition by the government through MDeC for ICT and ICT-facilitated businesses that develop or use multimedia and digital technologies to produce and enhance their products and services.

The status, which had earlier been designed for bigger companies, recognises world-class service and achievement, and gives the business access to a host of privileges granted by the government to qualified business entities.

There are 3,600 MSC Malaysia Status companies comprising global and local companies across multiple sectors which are primarily grouped as creative multimedia, global business services and information technology clusters.