KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 14): Serba Dinamik group managing director and group chief executive director Datuk Dr Mohd Abdul Karim Abdullah has called for a change of mindset among startups, urging them to look beyond information technology (IT) as their preferred business choice.

He said it has become common to associate startups with IT due to the mushrooming of new companies in the sector following the success of unicorns such as e-hailing company Grab, and e-commerce giants such as Lazada and Shopee.

“Sometimes people wrongly interpret that when it is a startup, it has to be related to IT but it is not necessarily that way. It can be a new technology related to maintenance,” he told Bernama in an interview recently.

Mohd Abdul Karim, who is also the founder of Serba Dinamik, has led the oil and gas engineering services provider to become a RM6 billion company in terms of market capitalisation.

He said in order to become successful, startups must come out with products and services that can complement traditional practices.

“When we started introducing maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, people said that MRO was all about aeronautics and aerospace but we said no, it is not that.

“So, we started using MRO terminology in a big way, and now when people talk about MRO, the mindset has changed and it is not necessarily about aerospace and aeronautics,” he said.

Mohd Abdul Karim said startups should look out of the box to make the uncommon common, and should also emphasise on sustainability in their business plan to ensure business longevity.

“We do not want to be known as a ‘one day’, ‘one month’ or ‘one year’ entrepreneur. We want to be known as an entrepreneur from one generation to the next,” he said, adding that startups should always have a backup plan in case they find that their masterplan is not working.

On another note, Mohd Abdul Karim has also called for more efforts to be made to encourage private sector companies to become anchor companies to grow the startup ecosystems.

“If you look at the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development initiatives, only two private sector companies have come in to become anchors.

“There are thousands of private companies out there but they are not coming forward. So the initiatives have to be more aggressive to bring in more anchor companies,” he said.

He also advised startups that have become successful not to rest on their laurels but continue to improve in line with the fast pace of the global business environment today which is fuelled by digitalisation.

“When you (startups) reach a certain level of achievement and people recognise you, you should not just stop there because ‘success is a journey, it’s not a destination’,” he added.

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