IskandarSpace, one of Johor’s leading co-working spaces located in the heart of Iskandar Puteri, celebrated its first anniversary that marked a new milestone for its curator, StartupJohor, and the local startup community.
The celebrations also included the launch of the Johor Startup Ecosystem Report, the latest initiative by StartupJohor to provide a comprehensive guide for those curious about this dynamic ecosystem or those who want to invest or build their businesses in Johor.
The celebrations took place on 15 January 2019 and was attended by President and Chief Executive Officer of Iskandar Investment Berhad, Datuk Ir. Khairil Anwar Ahmad, Chief Executive of Iskandar Regional Development Authority, Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, as well as Johor International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee Chairman YB Jimmy Puah, whom have supported IskandarSpace since its early days. IskandarSpace was officially opened on 4 December 2017 and is developed and wholly-own by Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB).
“After one year since IIB founded IskandarSpace, we are very pleased to see this initiative has taken some traction to promote the growth of start-ups in Iskandar Malaysia. It is our inspiration that IskandarSpace would continue to be the meeting point between entrepreneurs and investors thus creating a healthy business ecosystem in Iskandar Puteri and we look forward to working closely with the Johor State government and IRDA in achieving the objective and investment target for Iskandar Malaysia,” said Datuk Ir Khairil Anwar Ahmad, P/CEO of IIB.
Over the past year, IskandarSpace has seen much growth from hosting more than 100 co-workers from 12 different countries and becoming one of the most active co-working space in the state with over 100 events held since its inception. Together with StartupJohor, it has also launched a Silicon Valley-based idea stage accelerator programme, the ‘Founders Institute Johor Bahru Accelerator Programme’, which produced 9 talented aspiring entrepreneurs after a 14-week course.
Nestled in the Medini township, IskandarSpace is also home to Johor’s premier tech festival IPSMART: CREATE, an annual four-day tech festival that has helped cultivate and nurture budding entrepreneurs, as well as connecting them with potential investors and stakeholders, and building networks for many other stakeholders in the industry.
Meanwhile, the report covers a wide range of topics – it includes the growing coworking trends in Johor, how the startup ecosystem provides value by creating jobs and business opportunities that contributes to the state’s Growth Domestic Product, and a special feature on top tech company founders that are based in Johor.
“This report is the first official study of the local startup ecosystem in the southern region of Malaysia. We aim to provide an overview to our stakeholders and any newcomers to the community the uniqueness of the Johor startup scene. We highlighted the stages of our ecosystem, its strengths and weaknesses, as well as actionable recommendations to bring this ecosystem to the next level,” said Community Director of StartupJohor Lim Feng.
YB Jimmy Puah also added that the coordination between Government and Startup Incubators like Iskandar Space is particularly important to create synergies that will nurture SMEs, as startup incubators possess the necessary knowledge and flexibility to facilitate Micro-enterprise and Startups. The state government is also currently in discussion with StartupJohor on its plans to promote e-commerce and digital adoption among Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise (MSMEs) in Johor, which will be announced by the middle of 2019.
Other activities on the day saw several keynote presentations and topics including ‘Attracting Media’s Attention for Your Startups’ by Daryl Chung, Project Director of E27, and ‘Mental Health: An Honest Discussion of The Causes and Tips to Get Out of Mental Funks’ by digital nomad, Daniel Johnsen. Francesca Chia, the co-founder of GoGet.my, was also present and conducted an interactive fireside chat where she shared her entrepreneurship experiences with those present.