Building Nations: a rare glimpse into Maldives' startup scene
Maldives is the dream holiday destination to many, but not many of us are familiar with the startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem in this picturesque nation of islands. The Refuel Team spoke with Miuvan, founder of Maldivian startup Matcon. Read on more to learn about Miuvan's entrepreneurship journey, and his tips and tricks for starting up, both in Maldives and around the world.
The Beginnings of Matcon
Miuvan had just finished his first year of university. Whilst on his trip back to the Maldives during the break, he had the breakthrough idea of teaming up with his brothers, a civil engineer and a coastal engineer, to set up a business together. Besides using all their skills to the fullest, they were also on a mission to build the nation. The trio then started Matcon in February 2019.
Matcon is a construction and consultancy company which specialises in Planning, Surveying, Engineering and Architecture. Miuvan's aim to to focus on government projects as a way to champion sustainability and community.
The undergraduate at Monash University Malaysia is quite the entrepreneur - prior to Matcon, he was involved in two startups. His first company, a t-shirt business, did not have a sufficient market, and current gaps were already filled by countless competitors. His second startup was LeGion Gaming which hosted gaming tournaments.
However, his experiences have led him to learn a lot about starting up, and entrepreneurship. He highlighted two key qualities that entrepreneurs should have: grit, and creativity.
You will need to have enough grit to be able to overcome the inevitable obstacles that will come about when starting a business. Combine grit with creativity and you will not only have the persistence to overcome the obstacles, but do it in the best way possible.
Business in the time of COVID-19
When asked what his biggest challenge at the moment was, Miuvan's first response was "the coronavirus". Matcon was about to enter into a large bid, which had to be cancelled due to restrictions on movements. The company also experienced a slowdown in business from private clients.
To pivot, the company is moving towards online consultancy, and management consultancy for businesses. This ensures that the company is able to continue with their online operations, despite being unable to conduct any business physically.
Despite this being an unprecedented crisis, some lessons that entrepreneurs can learn from this episode is to try and anticipate any problems that they might encounter. It is also important to figure out how to jumpstart your business once the situation is over, so strategy and planning is extremely important.
A little risk analysis allows you to come up with possible problems you might face when going ahead with projects. Also, be hopeful and focus on how you can jumpstart your business strategy wise.
The Maldivian Startup Ecosystem
The startup scene in Maldives is expanding, with more startups sprouting up. However, the lack of information structure might render it difficult for a robust startup culture.
However, Miuvan believes that certain startups would thrive in Maldives. For example, coffee is an integral part of life in the Maldives, and Miuvan feels that a coffee delivery business would take off quickly. Another line of business would be in the tourism industry, since there are few platforms that complement the traditional resorts, an application that allows tourists to book excursions would be valuable.
To the Aspiring Entrepreneur
From his entrepreneurial endeavours, Miuvan learnt that no one has all the answers, and it is impossible to anticipate the exact outcome of what you are doing everytime. He believes that that is something entrepreneurs should embrace, and even though one might not have found their secret sauce yet, it does not mean that you should not start a business.
If you want to start a business, don't start when you are ready. I don't think anyone would be ready. Start when you have the idea. Learning through trial and error is better than trying to acquire a large amount of information. You have to try, and fail, and learn from it.
Learning more about entrepreneurship, innovation or just curious about how startups make money? Find out more about Matcon's business model, and check out a SWOT Analysis on the company here!
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