Many developments have been made in Sarawak. We at the Founders Club were fortunate enough to be “in the know” and we feel that everyone, especially those in the startup industry, should know about all these development. This is especially important to ensure that the startup community in Sarawak will strive so as to improve the livelihood of us Sarawakians.

The Sarawak State Government through Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) aims to establish a Digital Innovation Hub in every district through out Sarawak, including areas such as Kapit and Betong. So if there is no Digital Innovation Hub in your district, do not worry, a hub will be built.

To detail more on this, there are currently four hubs operational (as of this day) in Kuching, Miri, Bintulu and Sarikei. Expected to launch further this year are hubs in Betong, Samarahan, Sibu, Kapit and Limbang. Other areas expected to be operational in the near future.

Other than a space for entrepreneurs to work on their startups, SMA also runs programs either directly or through its partners to help kickstart the entrepreneurial journey. The startup journey is divided into 5 steps;

  1. Ideation
  2. Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  3. Product Market Fit (PMF)
  4. Growth
  5. Maturity
So the question is, where do you currently fit? If you are just starting out and seeking your entrepreneurial life, you are most likely in the ideation stage. So, what is ideation? Ideation is where you just start forming your ideas. It is also where you look for inspiration and ideas. Programs that nurture ideation are programs like Cendana Ace Bootcamp, Startup Weeknd, HackWknd, STEM Playground and many more. This is where you work mostly on generating ideas to ignite your entrepreneurial spirit. Those that are passionate about their ideas will usually carry their idea from ideation and create a real product/service or brand from it.

If/Once you have an business idea that you are passionate about, the next step in programs available to you are Pre-Accelerators such as Tegas Pre-Accelerator Bootcamp. This will be the Minimum Viable Product (VMF) Stage. This is where you will learn how to develop the and provide your ideas to the market in the cheapest way possible while ensuring maximum value towards your customers.

In my opinion, this is one of the most crucial stage. It helps you to reduce risk (resources) to test whether your product or service can gain interest or traction of the market. What good is an amazing idea/product/service if the market doesn’t want it? This is where you prove that your business has a starting point.

Once you have traction (good enough reach), the next step for your startup is to enter PMF (Product Market Fit). Programs in this category aims to make sure your business and/or your product can satisfy the market. In short, this is where facilitators and mentors help you to optimize your business model from every angle to ensure you have the best angle of approach towards the market.

Having a viable product is one thing, knowing how to fit the product into the market is another. This is where you develop your business further by looking at not only the product you are offering but how you offer it to the market. Does it work better if you market it to consumers or businesses? What is the value of the product to the customers? How are you getting your product out there and what sort of skills or resources you will need to execute your business. This is where learn about them.

The Founders Club is at this stage, the PMF stage. Based on our experience in TEGAS Startup Lab (PMF Program), I would say it definitely helped a lot in further development of our business model. They have not only helped us with mentoring but also in connecting us to the right people in the right industries. Our business model from this point on compared to when we were in TEGAS Pre-Accelerator Bootcamp (VMF) were very different while still sticking onto our main vision of helping entrepreneurs to grow themselves and their startups.

After knowing your idea can satisfy the market needs, its time to scale up your business in order to reach more customers. This stage is known as the growth stage. SMA is currently building Digital Village specifically for startups in this stage. The Digital Village is set up under Sarawak’s Digital Economy Strategy 2018-2025 to facilitate technology transfer and accelerate the maturity of startups through global partnerships.

Once you know the market needs your product and you can’t meet the demand or you need to expand beyond your current area of service, you need to scale up your business. This is where you grow your business bigger with more engineers or marketers and maybe stores (if you are brick & mortar). This is exactly where you extend your reach of your business and improve the value of your offering(s).

Hopefully, after growing your startup, it will enter the maturity stage. This is where SMA can assist you to connect with Plug and Play (Located in Silicon Valley, USA) where they connect the best technology startups and the world’s largest corporations. Usually once you reach this stage, you are pretty much on your way in becoming a unicorn.

This is when you connect with large corporations. Possibly you get acquired by them if you have an exit plan. You could also possibly work with them in providing them your services or products (if you are B2B). Maybe you need access to for example, the American market, Plug and Play can potentially help you to get your product in through local American retailers (such as Amazon).

Other than programs to help your startups, many workshops organised by either the government authorities or other entrepreneurs are also available to you to equip yourselves with knowledge and to transfer experience so hopefully you wont face problems faced by other entrepreneurs before you.
As you can see, or should I say, read, the state government is hard at work in ensuring Sarawakians have the infrastructure and ecosystem to compete on the global stage of startups. The state government is very well committed in integrating Sarawak into the global digital economy. Excited to know more? Click on the image below to watch the full video on SMA’s Facebook Page