Hong Leong Bank Berhad (“HLB” or “the Bank”) today announced a two-part initiative that sees the Bank join forces with Malaysia’s official trade association and governing body for angel investors and clubs, the Malaysian Business Angel Network (“MBAN”). Aimed at supporting the local entrepreneur and start-up ecosystem in the technology space, this collaboration is Malaysia’s first public-private partnership (“PPP”), where HLB will be working closely with MBAN to promote the local ecosystem, specifically in supporting mentorship and developmental programmes for startups. Amongst the specific areas of technology in which HLB will be looking at are customer experience, analytics, productivity and digital solutions which promote innovation in the financial industry.
In addition, HLB and MBAN will also be rolling out a startup mentorship programme called the HLB LaunchPad by end 2016. The programme is targeted at nurturing the next generation of local startups selected via a pitch and grant process.
Present at the event were the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HLB, Domenic Fuda, the Chief Executive Officer of Cradle Fund Sdn. Bhd (“Cradle”), Nazrin Hassan, the President of MBAN, Dr. Sivapalan Vivekarajah as well as senior leaders from the local startup and angel investing community.
“HLB is very excited about this collaboration. Not only is this the first for the industry, it is also the first time we are venturing into mentoring the startup space. As a Bank that has a strong entrepreneurial heritage, HLB has positioned itself in the Small and Medium Enterprise (“SME”) segment and has, since our establishment, been committed to catering to the needs of this business community. We believe that this collaboration will play a role in creating a vibrant entrepreneurial and young startups community, reinforcing HLB business banking heritage”, said Domenic Fuda, GMD and CEO of HLB.
He added, “Our advantage as an SME-focused bank puts us in a unique position to build on our existing competencies in catering to businesses of this size, whilst having access to an ecosystem of innovative individuals and startups will enhance the Bank’s ability to innovate and digitize in a rapidly evolving banking landscape”.
“MBAN is extremely pleased to be partnering with HLB to further develop and grow the Angel and Entrepreneurial ecosystems in Malaysia. As the organisation that represents high net worth investors in Malaysia, we are in alignment with HLB’s aspirations to be a key enabler of the Malaysian ecosystem. Technology and new models are already disrupting society and the economy in a big way and this partnership presents opportunities for us to tap onto HLB’s networks and community to ensure that such disruption brings positive results for the nation while also providing an opportunity for our members to invest in SMEs that will be part of this disruptive growth.
We will also play a major role in the accelerator program especially since our members have extensive entrepreneurial and investment experience that we can share with the selected companies. We believe this is the beginning of a fruitful and successful relationship with HLB,” said Dr. Sivapalan Vivekarajah, President of MBAN.
To complement HLB’s collaboration with MBAN, the Bank will be rolling out a mentorship and grant-based programme called the HLB LaunchPad by end 2016. With the support of Cradle, this collaborative effort will enable HLB to bring on board and nurture Malaysia’s next generation businesses.
“Whilst the assessment and nurturing processes are critical, access to the financial infrastructure and knowledge of navigating the monetary aspects of ideating, developing, commercialising and building a business are equally as important. We also understand that independence is important to allow these startups to flourish. As such, this will be one of the first of such programmes where a grant is provided to technology entrepreneurs to commercialise their innovative technology products or services, helping the business in its initial stages of development. These are areas where we see ourselves bringing value,” Domenic concluded.