Malaysian entrepreneurs should embrace the creative economy to stay ahead during the current economic slowdown, says World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation chairman Tun Musa Hitam.
Musa said creative economy, with innovation as one of its vital elements, is forging to become a main economic tool that Malaysia should keep up with.
“Creative economy is the way to go. It is time for us to leverage on this industry as available data has shown that the global market value of the creative economy is currently at approximately US$1.6 trillion (RM6.72 trillion),” Musa told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) when met recently in South Korea.
Musa believes local entrepreneurs can convince venture capitalists or bankers to invest in their ideas.
“What are the qualities venture capitalists are looking for? You must have the passion and confidence about your products and pitch it well to them. Branding is an important aspect as well,” he said.
Musa also said one of the positive aspects during a sluggish economy is more younger people are willing to venture into creative economy.
“Due to the recession, young graduates are looking for more ways to gain income and they have realised innovation, such as creating startups, as a way to gain income.
“They think more independently and I am happy with the development because they are our future,” he said.
The WIEF Foundation, he said, has managed a session to connect startups aspirants with venture capitalists.
“These startup ventures are mostly founded by women and they have expressed problems in getting access to financing.
“So, we organised a session for venture capitalists to assist these startups aspirants financially, without having much security. These bankers came to assess the viability of the startups businesses and it’s very interesting. I am so enthusiastic about it.”
The former deputy prime minister added that despite the challenging economic environment, there are still business opportunities.
“To me, the current condition offers more room for small and medium enterprises to thrive. The smaller, the better, and this scenario gives women entrepreneurs the opportunities to take advantage of the situation,” Musa said.
He said the number of women entrepreneurs, especially in Islamic countries, is still low and WIEF plans to conduct more activities through its Women Business Network.
“We have conducted various events and these workshops received tremendous responses from participants. One participant from Kenya had increased her business by 200% due to networking and changes to her business strategy.
“I think it reflects on our current situation. If we don’t move on and adapt, we stand to lose,” Musa said.