MTDC plans Industry 4.0 hub in Sabah
Published on: Tuesday, April 23, 2019
By: Larry Ralon
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KOTA KINABALU: Malaysian Technology Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (MTDC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, plans to open an Industry 4.0 (I40) hub, or also called Centre for Nine Pillars, here to spur development of  the I4.0 industry in the State. 

This will be part of six similar hubs that MTDC aims to set up throughout the country before end of the year, which once operational will serve as a platform for collaboration between technopreneurs and entrepreneurs to penetrate the markets locally and internationally. 

MTDC Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Norhalim Yunus, said they have also identified Kinabalu Coders as their strategic partner in this endeavour. 

“MTDC will collaborate with local agencies for the I4.0 initiatives. We have identified Kinabalu Corders as our strategic partner and planning to open our own I4.0 hub in Sabah. 

“MTDC would like to work with companies in Sabah to explore more opportunities in the 4.0 industry,” he said at the opening of its annual programme called Road2Growth 2019 Tour at Le Meridien, here, Monday. 

Kota Kinabalu is the fourth stop after Penang, Johor Bahru and Kuantan which saw more than 200 participants attending each session. 

The annual tour conducted is a platform for technopreneurs and entrepreneurs in the State to gain valuable information on the funding for commercialisation of indigenous technology and innovation and services that are available from MTDC.   

The two-day event was mainly attended by university students, researchers and entrepreneurs who are interested to know about MTDC’s funding, incubator facilities, business accelerator and training programmes conducted by Technopreneur Training Academy (Tentra). 

“This annual programme is a platform for entrepreneurs and academia, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), who are seeking funding for commercialisation of indigenous technology and innovation and MTDC’s supporting partners and also student volunteers from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS),” said Norhalim. 

At this year’s Road2Growth, there are mini technology transfer and commercialisation workshop, mini business accelerator workshop, technology-based product pitching and I4.0 workshop. Also there are MTDC partners namely SME Bank, Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Berhad (MIDF) and Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC). 

Tentra will conduct the mini technology transfer and commercialisation workshop. This learning platform designed by MTDC will provide a basic understanding of technopreneurship to researchers/academia/Technology Transfer Office (TTO) personnel, especially in identifying the opportunity and to help with the understanding in the initial creation of a business venture. 

The mini business accelerator is an accelerator programme that is conducted in conjunction with the MTDC Road2Growth 2019 programme. It is to identify innovations and projects that are ready for commercialisation from the local institutes for higher learning and SMEs. The programme consists a one-day workshop on business model canvas and pitching technique, and a half-day pitching competition on the following day. 

Teams and companies that have attended the one-day workshop will be eligible to enter the pitching competition on the following day. The juries will be identifying projects/products that are innovative, practical and have commercial potential. The top team/company will win RM3,000 in cast at every region. 

Winners from the regional MTDC Road2Growth programmes are eligible to enter the grand finale for the pitching competition which will be held in October. The grand prize winner of each category will receive RM15,000 worth of product development grant. 

Norhalim said the pitching sessions conducted will be an opportunity for them to present their innovative ideas and to evolve their products to be I4.0 ready. 

With the advent of I4.0 penetrating Malaysia, MTDC sees a need to equip its entrepreneurs with the knowledge and information to stay relevant in the market. The mini I4.0 workshop is designed to provide insights on the I4.0 and its nine pillars. 

As a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional and an agency under MESTECC, Norhalim said the Government has entrusted MTDC to manage multiple matching funds since the 7th Malaysia Plan until today. 

He said MTDC offers Commercialisation of Research and Development Fund (CRDF), Technology Acquisition Fund (TAF), Business Startup Fund (BSF), Business Growth Fund (BGF) and Halal Technology Development Fund to assist companies and entrepreneurs at different level of business undertakings. 

The Road2Growth 2019 is free and open to entrepreneurs, researchers, inventors, members of business chambers and business associations as well as State Government officials in charge of entrepreneur development. The next session will be held in Kuching, Sarawak, from April 25-26.

MTDC’s commercialisation ecosystem has provided funding and assistance to over 500 technology-based companies that are involved in a wide range of activities ranging from the agricultural sector to ICT. 

Meanwhile, Rachel Sibangun Joseph who represented Kinabalu Coders said they welcomed the proposed collaboration with MTDC which is something long waited by them. 

“We are looking forward to work with MTDC for the benefit of all,” she said. 

Kinabalu Coders (Sabah Programmers and ICT Builders Association) is a coalition of leads, organisers and volunteers from tech and maker related communities and local industries. It provides a platform for its members to engage with each other, make technology accessible, share knowledge and collaborate on projects and reach out to like-minded individuals and organisations all across Sabah.   


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