Connecting the Dots and Driving the Digital Economy Forward
10 August 2018 - kualalumpur

Southeast Asia (SEA) is home to a population of over 650 million, and boasts a $2.6 trillion economy predicted to become the 5th largest in the world by 2020 (World Economic Forum, 2017). If you are a startup, business or budding entrepreneur, these numbers should at least get you excited about the sheer opportunities for entry, growth and scale present in the region. Certainly here at Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur, we are excited not only about the market opportunities for our community, but also about our latest partnership.

Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur launched the 4th edition of the ASEAN Impact Challenge (AIC) on 8th August and announced our partnership with Grab. Over the years, Grab has become one of the leading tech companies in the region and a key partner for the AIC program this year. The collaboration between Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur and Grab will use the AIC as the ideal platform to discover and support digital innovations accelerating impact that are emerging from Southeast Asia. This partnership will act as a boost to the tech ecosystem in the region, and connect innovators to the markets where Grab operates.

Shariha Khalid Erichsen, Co-Founder & Board Member of Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur with Zafrul S Hashim, Regional Legal and Government Affairs of Grab

“Partnership and collaboration are key to helping innovators and entrepreneurs make the leap to scaling beyond borders and entering new markets. Impact Hub KL is proud to partner a company that not so long ago was a startup and has now become one of the most famous unicorns in the world with its phenomenal growth trajectory. Most importantly, Grab was founded with the impact ambitions that we share- to make impact business as usual and support those beginning their entrepreneurial journeys.” said Shariha Khalid Erichsen, Co-Founder & Board Member, Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur.

“At Grab, we believe in the power of technology to make lives better for everyone. Over the last 6 years, we have worked with leading innovators,  partners and governments across the world to solve some of the region’s most complex challenges, including safer transport and financial inclusion. Our own journey in providing millions access to essential everyday services has shown us the possibilities that the region’s talent has to offer. Our partnership with Impact Hub KL and the ASEAN Impact Challenge exemplifies our mission to help more dynamic startups in Southeast Asia develop and scale technologies that will solve the mobility, O2O and payment challenges of today and tomorrow,” said Chris Yeo, Regional Head of Grab Ventures.

About Grab

Grab is one of the most frequently used Online-to-Offline (O2O) mobile platforms in Southeast Asia, providing the everyday services that matter most to consumers. Commute, eat, deliver shopping – and pay with one e-wallet. Grab believes that every Southeast Asian should benefit from the digital economy, and the company provides access to safe and affordable transport, food and package delivery, mobile payments and financial services. Grab currently offers services in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia. For more information, please visit

About the ASEAN Impact Challenge

The AIC is a regional program designed to discover innovators from Southeast Asia who are accelerating the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through cross-sector partnerships and disruptive innovations. The programme presents opportunities to identify and strengthen innovations emerging from Southeast Asia that can achieve select outcomes around the SDGs.

Since 2015, 720+ innovators have been discovered and 50 finalist teams have been supported to connect to over USD 5 million in capital, a network of mentors, 60+ cross-sector partners and digital visibility that has reached over 60 million people through social media channels.

The AIC is an initiative of the Impactful Enterprises pillar of work at Impact Hub KL. Under this pillar of work, we believe businesses are a force for good and can play a significant role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We will connect, inspire and empower innovators and businesses through collaborations and opportunities for action that will result in impactful enterprises.

Want to be a collaborator and help support the finalists of the ASEAN Impact Challenge?

Here’s how you can help:

  • Become a mentor. Your expertise and time are priceless. Have the opportunity to nurture what could be the next greatest innovation that creates positive impact in Southeast Asia!
  • Become an ambassador. Help spread the word about the opportunity to innovators and support the finalists to help get their stories of impact to reach more people. Do ‘like’ and share our Facebook posts so that more people get to know about the programme and support the finalist teams in the months to come.
  • Become a supporter. Invest in your favourite finalist- we’ll be working with equity crowdfunding partners for some of the finalist teams’ campaigns. If you’re an angel investor, you can also contact us to get connected.

For more information about the challenge, visit



By Ralph Mpofu, Partnerships Manager, Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur