Penang’s technology start-up ecosystem was recently awarded “Outstanding Ecosystem among Medium-Sized Population Cities in Southeast Asia 2023” from StartupBlink, a start-up ecosystem map and research center based in Zürich, Switzerland.  

“As the 2nd highest-ranked city in Malaysia and 8th in Southeast Asia, George Town exemplifies excellence and innovation. Additionally, it leads among Southeast Asian cities within its population tier, solidifying its position as a vibrant hub for entrepreneurs,” said Eli David, CEO at StartupBlink.

StartupBlink’s Head of Business Development Mahmod Shamsi highlighted an increased momentum of startup activities within Penang, notably in 2023, that underscores forward-thinking initiatives supporting startups during the early stages of business development. This has also been reflected in the upward trend of Penang’s global ranking by 12 positions and is currently ranked 8th in the region.

 “This award serves as a testament to the Penang State Government’s commitment to nurture a vibrant start-up ecosystem as a key driver of sustained economic growth. As our start-ups develop new technologies and solutions to address contemporary challenges, we seek to foster a state that attracts investment and promotes the expansion of high-tech industries in Penang,” stated YB Zairil Khir Johari, Penang State EXCO for Infrastructure, Transport and Digital.

In his acceptance speech for the award, Ts. Ng Kwang Ming, CEO of Digital Penang, emphasised the significance of partnerships in contributing to the vibrant technology start-up ecosystem. He extended his gratitude to partners, which included mentors, investors and government agencies, for elevating Penang and Malaysia to the global stage.

As of 2023, Penang has successfully cultivated 150 startups, spanning diverse technology verticals including e-commerce, hardtech, deeptech, edtech, agritech and fintech. To fortify the resilience and sustainability of Penang startups, Digital Penang has launched market development and access programs in collaboration with strategic partners in Indonesia.

Penang has set an ambitious goal of fostering 500 technology start-ups by 2030.