Hanif Marzuki, 27, Chief Executive Officer of Youth Venture Asia

"You Have No One To Impress, But Yourself"

1. Can you share with us a little bit about Youth Venture and how does it start?

Youth Ventures Asia is a one stop network for youth development located in Cyberjaya, the leading tech hub of Malaysia. We aim to accelerate youths in South-East Asia in achieving their career goals and entrepreneurial pursuit with a technology driven ecosystem.

Youth Venture Asia started in 2018 by a group of fresh graduates who are looking for the opportunity to start their first career. We first met back in 2015 when we started volunteering for a company called StartupMalaysia, touring around Malaysia for youth entrepreneurship programs. Looking at how difficult it is for us to land a job due to our nature, and with the volunteering experiences that we gained, we decided to do something that we are passionate about; youth development.

The establishment of Youth Ventures Asia is to ensure youth out there, especially those who just graduated from local university or college, have an edge, that will increase the chances for them to be employed or start a business.

Youth Ventures is a technology centric youth development company, and what makes us unique is the training that we provided is more experiential. Other than using all available technologies, we also invest to build a technologically driven ecosystem. Hence why, if you look at us right now you can see that we are doing multiple accelerators, a program where the engagement with students is more than 30 days. We managed to capture students’ attention daily by leveraging technologies. After Cyberjaya, we try to scale what we have here in Johor with different focus.  Similarities between Cyberjaya and Johor is in the entrepreneurial and technological element, but our aim in Johor is to reduce the rate of unemployment in youths.

2. How Pandemic Covid-19 affected your company?

Whatever we did prior to the pandemic it always leading to our mission where we want to be a technology driven company in five years. But due to the pandemic, we must speed up the timeline earlier than expected. What we do was we pivoted our business model to adopt a more technology approach, and we also need to be different from available solution in the market, hence why we decided to invest in our own. All physical programs by Youth Ventures Asia have a hybrid and virtual strategy. For example, Lorong Belakang will have a virtual show called Cyberjaya Minggu Ini and both are design and delivered by local youths . 

I cannot deny that there are also few things that affected the company, one of it was the clients. But if we do not change as fast the client, we will lose all the opportunities. And I would say that we are fortunate to have a team  that is willing to make sacrifice and work hard in the difficult times.

3. You start your career at such a young age, what is the biggest encounter that you faced throughout your career?

It was just passion. During my time at MMU, I was fortunate to have experience and access that people around my age rarely get just because I did something different at that time. At the age of 19 years old, I started my first technology-based company and eventually the company failed after 2 years. Thus, reflecting to the people I met and the failure I did at that time, all strategies that we develop today is more refined. I also give credit to my team where we each have different skillset that completes each other.

4. How MCO change your life routine to adapt the new norm?

The major thing that changed is that we unable to meet people. I am an introvert person but I can talk to people very well. It is a skill that I have. But I prefer staying home and read books. I love to read books. Back then, I used to appreciate every small moment where I can stay inside my room alone and read. When MCO happen, I realized that you only value things if it is scares.  Today, when everyone cannot go anywhere, I have ample time to read, making me appreciate the moment when i meet people.

5. Is there any certain advice or belief that you live by?

There is one thing that an investor told me before. In our daily life, we will be given a rope. It is your choice whether you want to pull yourself up or to hang yourself. The message here is every day we will be presented with an opportunity. It up to us if we want it to be good or bad. We must evaluate the decision we made and the consequence of doing that. Even if you choose to hang yourself today, it does not mean that you will hang forever. In the future, you might be grateful for something that you think is bad today. And, for those who know how to pull ourselves up, it is our responsibility to help our friends who still hanging.

6. What do you hope to achieve in your life?

I want to be the richest person in the world. Because only in that position I think I can make a significant change. I am not materialistic, but I am a mission-driven person. I want to be the person who creates new history and become a role model for the nation.