CYBERJAYA: On Saturday 24th March, JCI Youth UNMC organised “YouReka!”, an event held at the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) in Cyberjaya. JCI invited a total of seven speakers to represent burgeoning Malaysian start-ups, non-profits, and companies.
The event was from 11 am to 6 pm. Fortunately, UNMC students that attended the event were provided busses to and from the venue. Around 70 to 80 students participated in the event as part of the audience. Additionally, around twenty to thirty students acted as event committee organisers.
YouReka! is a combination of two words “You” and “Reka”, meaning “to create” in Malay. This was intentional, mirroring the word “eureka”, the famed Archimedean expression of a bright idea. The aim of the event is to provide a platform to inspire the youth and fellow change-makers. This is meant to encourage them to innovate and impact the community around them.
The event began with a presentation by Dato’ Ruby Khong, on her project Kechara Soup Kitchen. Kechara Soup Kitchen is a non-profit charity organisation. They help distribute food to the homeless in Kuala Lumpur. She shared with the audience her experience in running the organisation and getting support from partners.
Next, the second speaker was Swee Lin, founder of the Picha Project. The project helps to support lives of foreign refugee families in Malaysia by providing stable and sustainable employment. It appears that the project is a kind of social entrepreneurship, where the refugees cook from home and sell ethnic food from their home countries through the Picha Project, which then takes some profit. Swee Lin talked about their success, having achieved RM 340,000 in revenue and supporting nine families currently.
The next invited guest, Hugh Koh, is co-founder of Malaysian streetwear label Pestle Mortar. Having wanted to create his own line of clothes reflecting a young, trendy, and urban lifestyle since high school, he founded the company seven years ago. A passionate and easy going speaker, he talked about the ups and downs of running a start-up that became one of the most popular Southeast Asian brands. At the end of his speech, Hugh emphasised on the importance of leveraging on the strengths of others, knowing financial data of the company, building a network of contacts from young and having passion in your work.
In between the speeches, a panel discussion took place for the audience to ask questions about start-ups and entrepreneurship. Among the panel were: Swee Lin and Kim Ling of Picha Project, Hugh Koh of Pestle Mortar and Rashid Shukor of Grab. During this, the attendees asked some interesting questions, such as how each project funded itself, and how sustainable the projects are in the long run.
After the panel discussion, fourth speaker Rashid Shukor presented himself as head of GrabHitch division. Grab, now a multinational ride-hailing company began in a Segambut storeroom four years ago. Hence, Rashid explained that what drove the success of Grab was the determination to solve ASEAN region’s transportation problems. In addition, Rashid explained that the keys to start-up success are solving local problems, investing in technology, investing in talent and to never be daunted by the massiveness of a task.
After that, fifth speaker Keegan Flynn presented his co-founded start-up, Doctor2U, an app for house-call doctors and on-demand medical care delivery. Like Rashid, his goal is tied to finding solutions for a local problem, which is increasing medical costs. Similarly, his initiative is helping many Malaysians to rely less on emergency hospital care and save time in treating urgent cases.
Sixth speaker Teacher Raj Singh captivated the audience’s attention with his outspoken and laid back personality. As the founder of humanitarian organisation SOLS 24/7, he highlighted the importance of giving back to the community at a young age. The organisation focuses on using education as a tool for impoverished Malaysians to break the poverty cycle. Their programmes have helped many children and young adults to gain valuable English language, technological and leadership skills.
Finally, the last speaker was Nur Azre Abdul Aziz to represent Leadapreneur. Leadapreneur is a consultancy company that builds enterprising qualities in corporate employees to drive innovation. She says that ambitious young people do not have to always create their own companies or start-ups, but existing corporations can provide a platform for them to become leaders in their own right. After Azre’s presentation, YouReka! came to a close with a group photographing session.
Many attendees found the event to be a good opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship and get new ideas. Attendees came from a range of different courses and year groups. However, although a majority of them came from UNMC, there were a few other attendees from other local universities.
Written by Ahmad F. Affendy
Photographs provided by JCI Youth UNMC