Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) has announced the appointment of Dzuleira Abu Bakar today by the Malaysian Ministry of Entrepreneur Development (MED). She was the motor behind Cradle Seed Ventures (CSV) for the past 2.5 years and will be replacing Ashran Ghazi as the new MaGIC CEO.
Dzuleira Abu Bakar brings on board her 15 years of VC & PE experience to focus on driving national entrepreneurship via MED, according to Digital News Asia.
MED has been under the spotlight for stalling on the appointment of MaGIC’s new CEO, but Abu Bakar’s appointment now has been welcomed positively, according to an aware resource. “She is a good choice for the role. Learning from Mavcap’s and CSV’s dealflow and industry relationships, I’m sure she has the experience to differentiate between ‘valuable’ and ‘investible’ ventures,” the source told Digital News Asia.
MaGIC’s current key initiative is its CER Circle and MaGIC Activate, under the MaGIC Corporate Entrepreneurship Responsibility (CER) platform. It is a national initiative to facilitate greater corporate and private sector involvement in entrepreneurship development across Malaysia. The program was driven by former CEO Ghazi and strives to close one of the gaps in the Malaysian ecosystem – the weak corporate involvement with startups.
Abu Bakar will work closely with agencies such as MIGHT, MDEC, MCMC, MARii (Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IoT Institute), and MIMOS. “Dzuleira will have to expand her team’s skill set to further develop early-stage companies and key sectors,” said an entrepreneur who commented on the appointment.
Many express their expectation over the fresh appointment of Abu Bakar to be able to rejuvenate MaGIC and its staff, which are deemed lacking in strong leadership and program (such as the accelerator programmes) because of its past ties with the corrupt government under Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Moreover, Abu Bakar’s immediate task will also involve driving the social enterprise agenda, that is said to have been stagnant for the last few years.
In late 2018, MaGIC was able to bounce back after being taken under the wings of MED as its key agency, focussing on responsibilities related to entrepreneur development of the country and the social enterprises.
Even so, there were still weaknesses being highlighted such as the mentorship culture, which the World Bank Group flagged in its 2018 Malaysia Digital Economy report. In specifics, it’s “the failure of professional networks in Malaysia to meet the needs of digital entrepreneurs, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds”.
A senior executive with a GLC notes that Abu Bakar is the fittest CEO for this role because, “She gets to move the needle for the ecosystem and the country.”
Prior to this appointment, Abu Bakar had worked with CSV and Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (Mavcap), where she was responsible for identifying and investing in high growth technology and digital companies. She was also in charge of structuring VC funds, along with managing strategic partnerships, investor relations, and corporate/government relations.
Her other portfolios include managing the Usaha Tegas Group’s fund of funds and Private Equity business as well as Khazanah Nasional, where as part of the Hasanah Foundation she worked on institutionalising non-profit institutions and supporting social enterprises.