Sarawak CM to budding digital entrepreneurs: No shame in failures

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KUCHING: Don’t fear failure. Don’t fear to try and experiment. That’s the message Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Tun Openg has for the state’s young and budding entrepreneurs in digital technology

Failing at the first time of asking should not be a social stigma and neither should they consider themselves as being doomed in business, he said in his address at the launch of the Tegas digital innovation hub in Kuching.

Tegas is a state-linked agency whose primary role would be to provide opportunities, encourage and help more young people to venture into enter into digital entrepreneurship.

Abang Johari said it is a norm among entrepreneurs that 90% of new startups will fail after five years of their formation.

Giving the world famous Silicon Valley, long-recognised as a business hub in the Bay Area of the US as an example, Abang Johari said there were more fail startups than the successful ones.

What we are mostly exposed, he said, was to the successful few like Hewlett-Pickard, Microsoft, Apple, Sony and others than to many unsuccessful business.

He pointed out that failure did not stifle their enterprising spirit because “they have a culture that is tolerance to experimentation and failure”.

“This culture will create an ecosystem that will make entrepreneurship thrives.

“No wonder Silicon Valley always come up with new successful businesses that you have never heard of before.”

He said this year alone, among the fastest growing companies in Silicon Valley are Skillz, EnviroSolar Power, Gametime, Club Pilates Franchise, Halo Top Creamery, and Automative Mastermind.

But noted the enterprising spirit and business mindset are just the opposite among Sarawakians, or Malaysians for that matter.

“Failure is a social stigma, that is when you failed you are doomed in your business.”

The chief minister said it was for this reason that the Tegas digital innovation hub was set up to help budding digital entrepreneurs along and avoid the pitfalls of going into digital businesses.

“To minimise failure and increase their rate of success.”

Abang Johari said by collaborating with partners who come from different sectors and who have developed their own startup projects, Tegas “will learn their diverse business models”.

“This is a Blue Ocean strategy, a strategy where companies collaborate by creating blue oceans of uncontested market space, as opposed to where competitors fight for dominance.

“Through this collaboration, both parties will learn from each other’s journey, each other’s challenges and how to address them, and even learning from their stories of success.”

However, Abang Johari said before they embark on developing more entrepreneurs, “we should also simultaneously instill the correct mindset among youth, that is they should not be afraid to fail”.

“They should not be afraid to try and experiment.

“There are many options to success and what make it difficult is that there is no real formula of success besides hard work, the courage to try new idea and the will to rise again when you fall.”

The Tegas digital innovation hub is the first stage support for aspiring entrepreneurs and startups and it is one of the satellite initiatives centered around the Sarawak government’s Digital Village.

Tegas is chaired by Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datuk Len Talif Salleh. –