GEORGE TOWN: Penang has formally launched a USD$1 million (around RM3.91million) seed fund to help identify young technopreneurs out there who can power the state's Industrial 4.0 aspirations and cement the state's place as one of the hi-tech locations in the world.
In trying to consolidate Penang's position as the "Silicon Valley of the East," Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that he took the risk to dispense funding for the young technopreneurs, especially since the state has a thriving ecosystem for hi-tech and electronics.
The fund was also to provide startups with the necessary money to expand their reach.
The figures speak for itself, Lim told a press conference; revealing that the state has over 300 multinational corporations with a support base of 3,000 local small-medium industries.
Penang was the top foreign direct investment destination in the country last year with RM8.5 billion secured.
Hence, it was only natural for the state to take the next step to unearth new talents, he said.
"It would be difficult but we must try to do it. To find new talents, the fund intends to build, attract and retain talents. We are starting from the bottom (up) and it will be a long journey but Penang has the capacity to do it," said Lim.
The seed fund represents various initiatives undertaken by the state to boost the manufacturing sector, especially for it to migrate into the next phase of high-tech (artificial intelligence, Industrial 4.0 and big data management).
Penang has also developed the Accelerator for Creative, Analytics and Technology (@CAT centre), the Penang Skills Development Centre, the Tech Dome, the Digital LIbrary and the Karpal Singh Learning Center to provide the platform for the young to acquire cutting-edge skills.
Another example of how far the state has come to embrace technology was the state science fair which has grown from strength to strength with some 70,000 trade visitors last year.
Penang was also going all out to boost the learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The seed fund will be coordinated by @CAT, will also help retain the talents to drive the state's move into the new age of technology.
Photo source: investPenang