Photo by Aziah Azmee

KUALA LUMPUR: US-based global entrepreneurship platform The World Startup Festival (WSF) and its accelerator partner, D’Academy have partnered with Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) to foster regional startup champions for funding and market access.

WSF Regional Partner Udesh Chaskar said eligible startups would be eligible to tap into a US$20 million (US$1 = RM3.93) funding pool and a commitment from the platform to invest up to US$100,000 per startup.

“There are accelerator bootcamps organised for more than 100 startups across Asia.

“Startups that attend all three compulsory modules and demonstrate satisfactory progress in their businesses will be eligible to tap into the pool of funds,” he told a media briefing here today.

He said the bootcamps would culminate into the WSF annual event in Paris from June 6 to 8, providing opportunities for startups from Asia, Africa, North America and Europe looking for collaboration and funding.

“Close to 1,500 participants consisting of startups, corporations, governments and community leaders, mainly from Asia, Africa and Europe are set to attend the festival, while more than 30 speakers from Asia, Africa and Europe are scheduled to speak,” he said.

Meanwhile, WSF D’Academy Accelerator Lead Trainer Richard Dacalos said besides funding, capacity building was also important for startups.

“We are looking at supporting the start-up ecosystem,” he said.

TM Chief Digital Officer Ahmad Azhar Yahya said the collaboration reflected the group’s support in creating a thriving startup ecosystem in Malaysia that would empower the economy through digitisation and innovations.

“Anticipating the digital future, we can generate enough opportunities through innovations to employ the growing workforce effectively,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ismail Nabe, WSF Ambassador to Africa and Vice-President and Founder of Malaysian- African Professional Entrepreneurs Association, said the digital economy could be a driving force for the African continent.

With 65 per cent of the population comprising young people, there are plenty of opportunities to foster transformation, he said, adding that the partnership with the WSF could offer great potential.

He said the annual WSF Festival would be held in the African continent in 2019.