FutureLab: Building a digital learning ecosystem

Building a digital learning ecosystem through mentorship

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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Brian Tan Boon Yong

Initiative's representative date of birth

20th October 1988

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Man

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Malaysia

Where are you making a difference?

Kuala Lumpur & Sarawak Malaysia, Singapore & Bhutan

Website or social media url(s)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/futurelab.my/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/futurelab.my/?hl=en LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/futurelab.my/?viewAsMember=true

When was your organisation founded?

14th April 2014

Focus areas

  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce
  • Creating digital tools

Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $50k - $100k

Organisation Type

  • For-profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

For me, it happened when I graduated with a biochemistry degree from the UK and decided not to pursue my PHd with Oxford University and instead wanted to come back to Malaysia and land a role in management consulting. I found it extremely hard since I didnt know much about business at that time and failed a lot of my management consulting interviews because I wasnt sure what companies were looking for. I used a lot of online resources to help me understand more about the industry but I couldnt find a good/ reliable source of information especially from someone that transitioned from a science background into a business role. So thats when it hit me that life would be easier if I could connect to a mentor in different companies

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

In this day and age, technology is disrupting how we work and skill sets that we need to really succeed in the workforce. However, this information or industry feedback loop is missing when it comes to what universities are educating their students - this is because our education system is outdated and lacks the ability to change with the ever evolving workforce. so at FutureLab we believe industry mentors and mentoring programs can be the key

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We plan to create online mentoring programs with companies that can be plugged into polytechnics, universities and vocational schools to allow students to reach out to multiple companies to speak to working professionals that can tell them about their companies, what skillsets are they looking for and how to develop them. Our system will allow companies to facilitate and track each mentoring session to provide feedback to the university/polytechnics/ vocational schools on what they need to do to develop their students to be better industry ready. In addition to this, companies are able to develop talent at an earlier stage of development for the student allowing them to create their own talent pool to be recruited once they graduate

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Our focus in FutureLab is scaling mentorship - our platform allows us to facilitate thousands of employment mentoring programs throughout a country or a region since most of our one on one or group mentoring sessions run virtually. This allows us to scale these programs everywhere that has access to the internet. We have already done this in Malaysia, where we worked with final year students and connect them to their alumni in multiple different companies to mentor them over a 3 month period to help them with their job applications, career exploration and create their own business pitch deck to present to the government for funding. We have done this in even a bigger scale with MaGIC (Malaysia`s startup agency)

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

We are helping students with developing soft skills such as communication, leadership, problem solving and critical thinking. By helping students with their career goals whether it be landing their dream job, or changing industry or launching their own startups - we believe providing them with a mentor to help them reach their goals will provide them with the exposure, direction and resources they need to succeed in the future workforce.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

In Malaysia, we work with multiple organizations to develop entrepreneurship skills, tech mentorship and career advice. Entrepreneurship skills is connecting mentees to startup founders that help them build a investor ready pitch decks. tech mentorship we link coders to tech mentors to discuss what their companies are currently using and what is the future of coding and for career mentorship we help students with their cover letters, CV and interviews. For all 3 types of mentorship, we track whether the mentee was able to reach their goals and whether they managed to secure a job

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are already industry mentoring, startup mentoring, career mentoring programs around - what they lack is a platform to help facilitate, scale and track these mentoring sessions on an individual basis. In addition to this, we are able to promote these online mentoring programs as a skills development marketplace for students, aspiring entrepreneurs and young professionals

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

We have already conducted over 4000 mentoring sessions from 12 different countries, we have built an existing mentoring network of over 1,200 mentors covering 25 countries with our B2C and B2B clients. Our mentees have secured jobs in their dream companies, changed their career paths and even raised government grant funding for their startups. Our clients include MaGIC, MDEC, UNCDF, INTI College, Monash University, Axiata, Al Sharq and the Sarawak Government

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

We plan for the companies and educational institutions to pay for our software to maintain the mentoring platform so that students are able to develop into young working professionals that the companies would like to recruit for their multiple offices around the region

10. Team

Brian - CEO & Co-founder Khairul - Product lead Daniel - Product Manager Bilal - Developer Nadia - Operations Kar Yan - Business Development Vivek - Business Development

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Ashoka page or contact


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