Bumiputeras have the potential to compete, says TERAJU CEO

TERAJU chief executive officer Dato’ Husni Salleh says more and more Bumiputeras are becoming creative and innovative in their pitch to commercialise their great ideas. He attributes this to the many reality shows unfolding on the television landscape.

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“We at TERAJU are simply amazed by what Bumiputeras are doing and can do,” said Dato’ Husni in an interview with Dr Lee Hwok-Aun, a Fellow from the Institute of SouthEast Asian Studies.

“We love their true grit, an attribute and spirit that makes for a successful entrepreneur.”

TERAJU has been at the forefront of building the Bumiputera Agenda. Since 2011, several programmes have been devised and crafted to systematically cultivate Bumiputeras in today’s competitive landscape.

“Diversity is now a strength for us. Malaysia is multi racial, multi lingual and over time there has not been much discussion. Disparity is never good for any country. We want to therefore build on capability and competitiveness. My experience as a venture capitalist with MavCap has helped TERAJU shape the way forward for the Bumiputera. As a result, we created a new generation of high performance Bumiputera companies.

“We entered into dialogues with these Bumiputera entrepreneurs and learned of their issues. Its different when you are talking to them at the ground level as opposed to say Board members at the top. The SME community and the Malay Chambers of Commerce came to see us. It was a lot of soul searching.

“So with all the skills and learning from my days as an investment banker, TERAJU developed this group in a lab where our systems were fluid to craft and manage. We adopted the SME Bank’s rating system as a criteria which is good. Now the numbers of people wanting to be ranked and rated has become standard. And the days of individuals seeking letters from the government have now been done away.”

“TERAJU also approached local banks with collateral to help spark a new generation in low cost lending and facilitation. It had never been done, and so we took on the challenge of altering banking behaviour for the Bumiputera entrepreneur.”

Indeed, catalytic sparks have been introduced to spur the Bumiputeras. In the Superb programme, there are no easy handouts. Applicants need to be highly competitive to win.

Since Superb rolled out in 2014, 137 young entrepreneurs have challenged themselves among thousands that enrolled for the competition. A cumulative RM68.5 million has been won by these true grit individuals. That’s RM500,000 each.

This season approximately 800 applicants are vying for the top prize to realise their ideas and ambitions.

And 30 Finalists are expected to make their ultimate bid in the Finals of Superb Series 2 on 26 August.

How many are expected to win? It could be one, two, three or ten.