It’s not easy starting up your own business, especially when the competition is so tough and the economy is so slow.
However, despite the challenges, SMEs and start-ups make up 97.3 per cent
of all businesses in Malaysia while contributing 35.9 per cent
of the GDP, according to this research
by the Oxford Business Group.
And that is why the Malaysian government has stepped in to help.
With Prime Minister Najib Razak declaring 2017 as ‘Start-up and SME Promotion Year’, a total of RM75mil was allocated for programmes under the SME Master Plan and a further RM15bill for various schemes under the Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan (SJPP) as part of the National Budget 2017.
Not only that, an additional RM200mil was also pumped into the Working Capital Guarantee Scheme (WCGS) Fund to revitalise faltering start-ups.
With so much money and effort going into helping small businesses, it’s no wonder that these five local start-ups made headlines last year:
Founded by a group of fashion designers in early 2017, Fitgear has challenged the common belief that if you want good, premium fitness products, you’ll have to pay big money for it.
Fitgear provides high-quality sportswear and outdoor accessories at an affordable price – by eliminating the middlemen and unnecessary costs. By doing so, Fitgear was reportedly able to cut the cost of producing their products by almost half.
They even show you how it was done:
According to this report
, the guys behind Fitgear started off with a capital of only RM3,000 – out of their own pockets, by the way – and to date, they have delivered to more than 22,000 consumers with a customer retention rate of 40 per cent.
Watch out, Nike and adidas; Fitgear is slowly eating your share of the pie.
There have been countless ride-hailing app horror stories – especially from women – so a full-time mother has decided to take matters into her own hands.
Called Riding Pink, this female-only ride-hailing app is the first of its kind in Malaysia. The platform allows women to earn extra money by signing up as a driver, and for those who often use apps like Uber and Grab, Riding Pink offers them a safer and more reliable option.
You can pre-book a ride for a small fee of RM1 or schedule a recurring ride with Riding Pink, so you don’t have to sit around waiting for a driver to accept your ride.
At the moment, Riding Pink has yet to launch an app, but rides can be easily book by manually contacting them via their Facebook
page, calling their phone number or through their official website
As of early 2017, they have already registered more than 100 drivers and we’re pretty sure the number will continue to grow.
Always find yourself unable to run errands due to your busy schedule? Simple, why not get someone to do it for you?
GoGet is an on-demand job platform that connects normal people like you and us to a team of “GoGetters” in the area near you who will help you complete any tasks you throw at them.
From picking up your laundry to tapau
-ing your favourite nasi lemak
to grocery shopping, the services they offer on GoGet are endless.
Best of all, GoGet guarantees same day delivery and low flat rates; probably the reason why their services blew up in 2017.
GoGet is available free for download on Google Play
and the Apple App Store
We all know that feeling: you want something so bad but you balk at the ridiculous shipping fee.
That’s how Jetspree came to be! Launched in the middle of 2017, the global shopping platform connects buyers to travellers who will bring you any products you want from anywhere around the world.
Using the service is pretty simple: you would order (or request) a product on Jetspree as you would on an online shopping site and pay using a credit card. Buyers who would be able to get the product for you while travelling to another country would then help you purchase the product.
Jetspree would then meet up with the buyer at the airport on the day they return and after running a brief check on the condition of the product, they would then deliver the goods to you and pay the buyer.
Why this service is awesome is because it eliminates the sometimes super pricey shipping fees and of course, unfair conversion rate.
The service was so popular, in fact, Jetspree reportedly gained more than 10,000 sign-ups a month after its launch in August 2017.
Everyone’s favourite coupon shopping site Groupon might be dead, but there is something better.
Early last year, the people behind fitness start-up KFit bought over Groupon in three countries and revamped it
into Fave. Now, Fave offers the best deals and discounts of up to 80 per cent for gyms, restaurants, spas, manicures and holidays, just to name a few.
According to the company, they currently serve more than six million customers in three countries, with over 300,000 transactions monthly.
In fact, their growth was so impressive, the group launched their very own payment system back in September 2017. Called FavePay, you can make purchases at selected outlets via its app without the need of having cash or credit card in your pocket.
With the help from the Malaysian government, existing start-ups (and upcoming new ones) in Malaysia will undoubtedly continue to grow.
Soon, we’ll see more and more of these start-ups dominate the market and hopefully, the world.
The growth of the start-ups in Malaysia is, without a doubt, one of our favourite #MyThrowbaek2017 moments. What is yours?