06/03/2023 08:31 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 (Bernama) -- Women-led startups need to step up and encourage themselves to be at the forefront in the venture capital (VC) space, said Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd (Mavcap). 

This is in order to eliminate the gap that is dominated by male-led startups, which comprised 91 per cent in Malaysia, according to a 2020 report by the Malaysia Venture Capital & Private Equity Association.

Mavcap chief executive officer Shahril Anas Hasan Aziz said women have been instrumental in shaping the VC industry and their contributions cannot be overlooked.

“As an institution that understands the importance of diversity and inclusion, we want to champion women fund managers and start-up founders by providing them with the resources they need and unlocking opportunities for them to grow and thrive,” he said in a press conference after delivering his opening remarks at the Mavcap Accelerating Ventures 2023 session here today.

The Mavcap-organised event was in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2023, which falls on March 8.

An agency under the purview of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti), Mavcap was established in 2001 and has a portfolio value of almost RM5.0 billion in the funds that the firm and its private sector partners manage.

Shahril said as a firm believer in leading by example, Mavcap has made positive progress internally to ensure that staff members and the board of directors comprise individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, and it believes that this diversity is crucial to its success.

He noted that according to the report, only 14 per cent of decision-makers in Malaysian VC firms are women.

Shahril also said that due to a lack of knowledge and exposure, most startups were not aware of Mavcap’s role in helping them to raise more funds, especially for women. 

“Based on our observation, most women are not willing to take risks. Apart from that, we find that those who approached us were graduates from overseas who have had some exposure and want to emulate the VC field here,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Mavcap chief operating officer Noor Amy Ismail said the company aspires to be a “thought leader” for women entrepreneurs. 

“Today’s platform (session) is a clear demonstration of Mavcap’s commitment to supporting the success of women entrepreneurs and innovators,” she said.

Noor Amy also said that Mavcap has pledged to invest in at least 25 per cent of women-led companies in Southeast Asia.


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