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Symposium 2013

Proposal - Innovation, Dynamism and Entrepreneurship

The Challenge

Innovation as the foundation of economic dynamism and prosperity is a complex process involving contributions from various players. In particular it deals with the transformation of basic science into ...

Innovation as the foundation of economic dynamism and prosperity is a complex process involving contributions from various players. In particular it deals with the transformation of basic science into rival proposals that improve the well-being of mankind. For more than 200 years technological innovation has driven economic development. All growth is based on innovation. The process of innovation involves complementary contributions from science, from entrepreneurs, from the financial markets, from the investment community and from government.

The passage Malaysia had to endure has been full of challenges. Due to Malaysia’s strategic sea-lane position, it had been the center of trade and power struggle between the East and West for more than 400 years. The Portuguese were the first European colonial powers to establish themselves in Malaya, colonizing Malacca in 1511; followed by the Dutch (1641) and the British (1824). The Japanese occupation during World War II (1941-45) ended British domination in Malaya. In September 1945, after the Japanese surrendered, the British returned to Malaya under the British Military Administration (BMA) and formed Rural Industrial Development Authority (RIDA) in 1951 to assist the rural community. A number of strategic political negotiations had led to the establishment of an independent multi-racial Federation of Malaya on 31 August 1957 without any bloodshed. Later, the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1970 was instituted to alleviate poverty and income disparity between the rural and urban amongst the various ethnic groups. This was to address the economic inequality and nation integration towards restructuring the society, a clear reflection of the integrity of the leaders.

The focus of the Malaysian Economic Development (MED) for the past six decades was on nation building and national unity. Through government’s initiatives, RIDA was renamed to Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) meaning the Council of the People’s Trust in 1966 entrusted to elevate the socio-economic status of the rural community through its three main sectors; entrepreneurship development, education and investment. To date, MARA has become one of the premier hubs of producing skilled and professional human capital, successful entrepreneurs and establishing strategic investment partnerships.

In order to create successful, innovative and sustainable entrepreneurs, MARA provides entrepreneurship support system through its wide range of programmes. MARA is the only one stop agency in the country that integrates all aspects of entrepreneurship development, which covers the entrepreneur, business opportunity, support system and entrepreneurship eco-system in tandem with the Malaysia’s new economic model Master-plan. MARA has established four integrated divisions as one, namely Entrepreneur Development, Industrial and Business Development, Business Infrastructure Development and Business Financing. Through key entrepreneurial programmes and approaches, MARA has produced corporate entrepreneurs, technopreneurs, retail entrepreneurs, manufacturing entrepreneurs and credible contractors. Currently MARA has 63,000 entrepreneurs who are benefiting the entrepreneurship development programme which directly contributing to the country’s GNI. This is done through MARA’s unique business model that gives emphasis on the importance of the entrepreneurial journey and the various supports that they need to become not only successful but sustainable global entrepreneurs as well.

As far as the human capital development is concerned, MARA is one of the premier government agencies, which provide two parallel education systems: academic programme for secondary education through our junior science colleges and technical and vocational programme offered in MARA tertiary colleges. The secondary education prepares students for professional courses emphasizing on math and science while the tertiary education, prepares global competent workforce and professionals with ethical values. It is estimated that MARA’s tertiary education contributes to almost 30% of the nation’s workforce. Universiti Kuala Lumpur, which is wholly owned by MARA, is one of Malaysia’s leading universities offering high impact technical programmes ranging from engineering to aviation. As an added value to its education system, MARA has embedded in the curriculum the entrepreneurship and business modules at all MARA Education Institutions. To this end, MARA has established a brand name as an excellent provider in the education and training service. This continuing success has created a new dimension in the era of knowledge to enhance the socio economic status of the rural people into middle class professionals and leaders of corporate world.

Through innovation and dynamism, MARA formed a new investment sector in a move towards becoming a self-sufficient organisation as well as to compete in the global arena. It focuses on four main initiatives, which are acquisition, real estate development, enhancement of investment funds and diversification of business services. The desired outcome of this sector is a self-sufficient organisation, increase in equity ownership and the improvement of the socio economic status of the people. The mechanism of this sector is through the establishment of subsidiaries of Glocal Link, MARA Incorporated, Design and Development Center, F.I.T Center, MARA Investment Capital to name a few. The incorporation of these subsidiaries is also to provide support services to the entrepreneurs in terms of marketing arms, branding and research and development.

The socio-economic impact of such innovative efforts has managed to affect the lives of more than two (2) million Malaysians have benefited directly and indirectly from MARA in entrepreneurial, educational and investment fields since its establishment in 1947.

What was the driving force behind such a phenomenal accomplishment? The success is based mainly on the strong synergy that exists among all MARA sectors to improve the socio-economic status of the people in Malaysia from a multi-cultural and segmented economic society to a modern, diverse and effective society. Latest statistics show that SMEs contribute 32% of Malaysia’s GDP, 59% of employment and 19% of exports. The constant thrive for innovative approaches in all MARA sectorial programmes have helped MARA to spearhead the development of holistic human capital in line with the National Key Economic Areas.

In responding to the global challenges and in ensuring that MARA remains relevant and sustainable, MARA established the Entrepreneurship Transformation Model known as Educational Business Park. It is a one stop hub that provides business infrastructure and content alongside educational institutions for cross fertilization purposes, enabling the creation of an entrepreneur eco-system conducive for learning and business. At the same time this hub is a mechanism that gives financial returns to MARA. Currently MARA is in the midst of developing parks consisting of KL Educational Business Park, Bukit Jalil, Subang Aerospace City, MARA Park Kampung Pandan and Marine Industrial Park Lumut. This few-billion ringgit initiative is part and parcel of MARA’s effort to nurture entrepreneurs, develop entrepreneurial companies and societies and ultimately the entrepreneurial country.

In the future, MARA will need to address the eco-system taking into consideration the external forces locally and globally in its bid to continue its existence. Innovation has become the driver for the economic development. MARA must keep abreast with the technological development such as high impact industries. Therefore MARA must be creative, innovative and proactive in its planning for the future. In short, the element of inclusiveness is the main driving force in planning and implementing programmes of the three sectors.

MARA believes that entrepreneurship is the only solution to face challenges ahead. We have successfully reengineered the innovative development in the rural and urban community through its dynamic socio-economic role in various economic, education and investment platforms. This innovative model has enable MARA to meet the national vision and mission which focus on nation building and national unity to become the next entrepreneurial country with entrepreneurial mindset citizens.

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