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Gearing start-ups for the Creative Economy
Published on: Sunday, July 30, 2017

By Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau
We are now already one month into the second half of 2017.

Especially if you have a very hectic schedule you’d ask, where did all the time go? I decided to take a mid-year break to rejuvenate myself, albeit a brief one.

I just came back from a refreshing personal-cum-work trip from Jeju-do, Korea’s largest island this week.

Also known as “Island of the Gods”, I can relate to why it is such a popular domestic vacation site for locals and international tourists alike.

I holidayed there for a couple of days with my wife, shortly after we celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary.

There were plenty to do – hiking up Hallasan, South Korea’s highest mountain, watch the sun rise from the magnificent tuff cone Seongsan Ilchul-bong, or stroll along the Jeju Olle Trails.

But there is more to this Unesco World Natural Heritage site than its nature charm. It also hosts the Centre for Creative Economy and Innovation (J-CCEI), a Jeju island-based innovation hub and start-up incubator.

Co-funded by the South Korean government and Kakao group, the hub is opened to the public to attract talents in creative technology and cultural projects. Kakao is a South Korean Internet company with over 100 million users on its texting app.

This hub, although located on a romantic island, boasts the world’s fastest internet speed!

The co-working spaces are free-of-charge and tech communities are welcome to use the space for meet-ups.

I am inspired by this model of public-private partnership working to provide start-ups with the much needed networks, consulting services and trainings. Jeju has gone beyond tourism; it is now also a hub for creativity, entrepreneurship and connectivity.

According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2017 released last October, Malaysia was ranked the 23rd most business friendly. We realise that to brew an innovative society we need to have a vibrant start-up scene.

Under Mosti’s purview, Technology Park Malaysia , located in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, offers incubation premises and programmes for technology driven start-ups.

They also organise business mentoring, coaching, consultancy services, business matching to researchers, scientists, technopreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Whereas Malaysia Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) focuses on promoting the adoption of home grown technologies and thus they play a role in funding, incubation, advisory and nurturing technology companies to help them achieve commercialisation.

The government has identified several key areas to gear up for the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as in manufacturing, infrastructure, human capital, monetary incentives and in technology and standards.

Mosti as the technology provider would look into piloting emerging fields like the Internet of Things and nanotechnology, developing new standards to cope with new technologies, and with a dedicated team that ensures we produce the right and sufficient pool of STEM talent.

Other agencies under Mosti’s governance of which are technology providers are Sirim, Mimos and CyberSecurity Malaysia. Start-ups and SMEs can tap into Sirim’s R&D expertise in manufacturing, industrial standards and quality. Mimos Berhad on the other hand, is the National R&D Centre in ICT. They work with both the public sector and industry to create technology solutions especially in Electrical and Electronics, and now Big Data and IoT. Industry players can leverage on their ICT experts and network.

Realising the need to promote government’s role in innovation to entrepreneurs, Mosti will be organising a National Innovation and Creativity Economy Expo 2017 this 12th to 16th October. First of its kind in Malaysia, it allows researchers and educators to present and discuss work related to science, technology and innovation.

Aimed to attract half a million visitors to its venues at Technology Park Malaysia, Pusat Sains Negara and Planetarium Negara in the span of five days, there will be contemporary exhibition and interactive activities on five clusters, namely technology, wellness, edutainment, knowledge and ICT.

Through this expo we want to establish the technology and maket radar (TMR) for SMEs to help them identify current technology and market trends to make strategic technological investments. In the ICT cluster, experts and enthusiasts are welcome to use the open social space together to spark new ideas.

Schoolchildren who attend will find the edutainment cluster especially attractive, as we collaborate with the industry to introduce next-generation creative tools such as 3D printing, animation village and robotics.

BioEconomy Corporation will showcase BioShoppe, a market access platform of natural-based wellness products by our very own BioNexus status companies.

This is one of Mosti’s initiatives in science enculturation. Everyone is welcome to the expo, and we hope to our children’s curiosity in science and in learning to encourage them to think critically. Information regarding the expo is accessible via www.niceexpo.mosti.gov.my.

There are lessons we can learn from the Korean J-CCIE, from its public-private partnership model to its commitment in providing the best infrastructure for users. If a relaxing holiday destination like Jeju could be transformed into a creativity hub, our start-ups and tech community should look forward to do much more in Malaysia.

As I indulged in Jeju’s sunset over the ocean and the delicious seafood, I was reminded of home. Kota Kinabalu is also not far from the sea and Sabah islands are as beautiful.

What a rejuvenating break!

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