In the Malaysian 2011 Budget, it was announced by the Prime Minister that Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (Cradle) would be tasked to lead a programme that would train existing entrepreneurs to grow their businesses to greater heights. Thus, the formulation of the Coach and Grow Programme (CGP), a market driven programme intended to bring together key players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to train existing entrepreneurs to grow their businesses to greater heights, via coaching, networking and showcase events.
The CGP was mooted with the intent of overcoming challenges faced by entrepreneurs by looking into the key reasons entrepreneurs fail to grow or scale during crucial stages of their growth life cycle. Through the programme, Cradle aims to create a pipeline of high quality investable companies at various stages of growth for funding agencies, angel investors and venture capitalists (VCs); increase the number of companies that 'survive' the pre-seed and seed stages of growth; fortify companies that are born global or intending to penetrate export markets to scale and go global; and encourage companies to explore IPOs as a funding avenue for growth and expansion.
To ensure the success of the programme, Cradle has entered a collaborative agreement with Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia (TeAM), whereby Cradle will be the Programme Owner and TeAM will be the Project Manager to implement the coaching, training, and other capability development aspects of the programme, together with the support of Proficeo Consultants Sdn Bhd (Proficeo), who has been appointed the Programme Manager of the CGP for the purpose of implementation of coaching, training and the appointment of coaches for the CGP.
The CGP is also supported by the Malaysian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (MVCA) and the Securities Commission (SC). The MVCA is a key supporting partner that serves as a member of the CGP's Evaluation Panel and also participates as a Guest Coach, besides offering advisory, mentoring and guidance support to CGP participants.
The programme aims to help entrepreneurs face challenges such as those identified by the CGP team as follows:
- The difficulty faced by pre-seed companies in getting early adopters
- The challenge faced by growth stage companies in achieving sustainability during the first few years of commercialisation
- The challenge of scaling and quick expansion faced by companies that manage to achieve sustainability
- The fear of going regional and global with no strategy to capture market in an unfamiliar foreign territory, faced by medium-sized enterprises
Thus, as a result of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs:
- Many companies that receive grant funding fail
- The rate or commercialisation as a whole is low
- There is a poor pipeline of fundable businesses being channelled to venture capitalists
- Technology companies do not have real initial public offering (IPO) potential
- The failure of growth and expansion of technology ventures leads to lower contribution to employment, smaller contribution towards national gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national income (GNI), lower exports and lack of contribution towards the national drive to create a high-income economy
To create the optimal hands-on effect, the CGP is by design, a hands-on business improvement programme. It is a coaching and training programme designed to provide entrepreneurs with the tools and 'show-how' to implement strategies and plans during commercialisation and growth stages.
Entrepreneurial teams from the idea stage to the pre-IPO stage will be targeted for the CGP with customised programmes designed to delve into key challenges faced by entrepreneurs during each stage of growth. The programme hopes to obtain 80% of its candidates from government agencies while 20% of the available spots will be opened for private companies to apply.
The selection of entrepreneurs for the CGP will be based on two phases. In Stage I, the Application and Selection Process, a total of 250 companies or teams will be pre-identified and selected for this programme. All companies or teams intending to apply should be developing innovative technology or solutions with large business potential. Each company or team should also be represented by a minimum of two individuals. The 250 companies or teams selected will then be awarded a conditional scholarship from Cradle to attend the programme. Upon signing the scholarship agreement with Cradle, all 250 companies or teams will be required (mandatory) to send 2 representatives to attend a Business Positioning Workshop where they will be trained and prepared to present an elevator pitch to an Evaluation Panel.
The Evaluation Panel, comprising a representative from Cradle, an industry representative (TeAM), a representative from the investment community (MVCA) and the coach appointed to run the programme will then evaluate and select the top 150 most promising companies or teams. The 150 companies or teams selected by the Evaluation Panel will then be formally notified and invited to progress to Stage II of the CGP, the Coaching stage. This stage will cover formal Group Training and One-to-One Coaching during the first 3 months, followed by 9-months of implementation and monitoring which will be conducted informally. During this time, representatives will be required to implement activities and plans, which will be tracked and monitored. Representatives will also be required to submit monthly progress reports, which will be used to identify the best performing companies that will then be selected to receive additional assistance. This additional assistance forms Stage III of the CGP, which includes invitation to participate in the Funders Showcases for the top 30% of high performers. However, there will also be supporting CGP events, such as Agency and Industry Showcases held during this stage, which will be available to all 150 companies or teams that participated in the CGP.
The criteria for selection will vary from programme to programme but the overall objective of this two phase selection process is to identify companies or teams that have high potential for successful commercialisation, for grooming. In addition to this, companies or teams that are operating in or developing solutions for the National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) will be given preference.
The 150 companies or teams selected to attend the personalised business coaching programme must commit to sending two representatives, whereby the representatives must be founder level, C-level or senior management level individuals who have decision making powers within the organisation and therefore would be able to implement strategies discussed during the individualised coaching sessions.
The CGP's overall objectives are as follows:
- To create a pipeline of high quality investable companies at various stages of growth for Funding Agencies, Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists (VCs)
- To increase the number of companies that 'survive' the Pre-Seed and Seed stages of growth
- To fortify companies that are born global or intending to penetrate export markets to scale and go global
- To encourage companies to explore IPOs as a funding avenue for growth and expansion
For more information, visit www.cgp.com.my.