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KL20 Summit 2024: Government Rolls Out Comprehensive Initiatives to Make Kuala Lumpur A Top 20 Global Startup Hub


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – 22 Apr 2024 – The Malaysian Government aims to propel Kuala Lumpur into the ranks of the top 20 global startup hubs by 2030. The current challenges for startups in Malaysia are accessing funding, navigating regulatory barriers and attracting top talent.

Hence, the government organised the KL20 Summit 2024 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on 22-23 April, with the aim of stimulating Malaysia’s startup scene. 

The summit, spearheaded by the Ministry of Economy, showcased how the government is rolling out supportive policies, plans to grow the talent pool and nurture a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. KL20 featured 10 marquee initiatives launches and 50 expert speakers. 

KL20 Action Paper and Highlights

At the event, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Prime Minister of Malaysia launched the KL20 Action Paper, a comprehensive roadmap outlining tangible reforms to achieve convergence among key stakeholders – founders, venture capitalists, talent, incubators and accelerators, to propel Malaysia’s startup tech sector to new heights. 

“The KL20 Action Paper looks into the bigger picture of driving structural transformation of the Malaysian economy into a high-income nation. There is a need to reduce the current economic dependency on large corporations, shift the economy towards innovative sectors and increase the proportion of high-skilled workers. Hence, building Malaysia’s startup ecosystem is a key solution,” said Rafizi Ramli, Minister of Economy.

“KL20 aims to make Malaysia a choice destination for global top talents and high-potential, scalable startups by creating an enabling business environment,” added Rafizi.

The summit serves as a platform for discussion centrepieces by converging government decision-makers, unicorn founders, billion-dollar funders and thinkers in Kuala Lumpur, making it a centrepiece for discussion, debate and deal-making.

The KL20 summit also witnessed the introduction of a holistic set of marquee initiatives that aim to make talent access easier (Visa Green-laning), make investing and deal-sourcing more regular (VC Golden Pass) and make AI infrastructure more mature (Graphical Processing Units installation).

Movers and Shakers

The event featured speakers such as Gobind Singh Deo, Minister of Digital, and an impressive line-up of international speakers and panellists. Among them were industry pioneers such as Jenny Lee, Senior Managing Partner of Granite Asia; Carl Pei, CEO of Nothing; Wener Vogels, Chief Technology Officer of Amazon; Géraldine Andrieux Gustin, Founder and CEO of DeepTech and The Hive; and Dr Qi Bin, Deputy Chief Investment Officer of China Investment Corporation. They delved into factors shaping the future of entrepreneurship and innovation. 

With a keen focus on fostering a dynamic start-up ecosystem, the summit attracted startups and investors from across the globe, creating a platform for collaboration, investment and growth.

Government Initiatives

“The government will launch the Single Window Initiative under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to help Malaysia’s startup ecosystem by simplifying procedures and consolidating resources within a unified platform,” said Chang Lih Kang, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.

“The Single Window Initiative supports the three main targeted stakeholders – startup founders, investors and tech talents – by dismantling bureaucratic obstacles, expediting approvals and empowering entrepreneurs to navigate the startup landscape more efficiently. This is crucial for boosting Malaysia’s innovation scene towards achieving KL20’s goals,” Chang highlighted.

The government has also developed the Malaysian Startup Ecosystem Roadmap (SUPER) which serves as a blueprint to propel the country’s startup ecosystem to new heights as a regional hub. SUPER was established to identify key areas of focus and action to drive the expansion and development of the startup ecosystem in Malaysia, addressing critical areas like talent development, funding accessibility, ensuring market access, and driving innovation in technology and social impact.


KL20 highlights Malaysia’s potential as a conducive environment for startups, particularly in key sectors such as semiconductors and integrated circuit design, fintech, e-commerce, manufacturing and automation, agritech, cleantech and Islamic finance.

By fostering innovation, collaboration and investment, Malaysia aims to not only become a top 20 global startup ecosystem by 2030 but also to position itself as a leading centre for entrepreneurship and innovation in ASEAN by shifting from a low-cost, commoditised industrial base to an economy based on technology.

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