Penang, Feb 22, 2022 – Being the State’s ongoing initiative to empower the tech start-up ecosystem, Penang i4.0 Seed Fund Stream #4 is officially open for application, following the virtual launching ceremony officiated by the Right Honorable Mr. Chow Kon Yeow, Chief Minister of Penang. Penang i4.0 Seed Fund initiative started in 2018 and has launched three funding streams previously, benefitted a total of 37 start-ups. In Stream #4, the State has allocated RM1 million to support the early-stage start-ups, bringing the total fund allocated to date amounted to RM5 million.
With the accelerated innovation and the growing importance of start-ups, Malaysia aims to increase the number of start-ups to 5,000 by 2025 and attract 2 unicorns, as illustrated in Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint. In this regard, Penang constantly places itself at the forefront on innovation and is well-positioned as an entrepreneurial state, underpinned by its vibrant ecosystem. Penang i4.0 Seed Fund aptly attested the State’s persistent effort in nurturing and propelling the homegrown brands.
Funding scope, focus sectors & eligibility criteria
The funding scope of i4.0 Seed Fund covers product enhancement, marketing and branding activities and technical, product or design hires and intellectual property-related costs, with priorities given to Internet of Things (IoT), Advanced Manufacturing, Consumer Digital, EdTech, Health Tech, Clean Tech companies and other tech-based activities.
The eligibility criteria of this program include:-
- Early-stage tech start-ups that have a working minimum viable product with positive early traction.
- Company incorporated in Malaysia having at least 51% ownership by Malaysian.
- Operating for less than 5 years.
- Accumulated revenue of not exceeding RM1 million.
Start-ups that fulfilled the above criteria can apply for funding up to RM100,000. Non-financial support such as mentorship, capacity building programs and industry linkage opportunities are among the perks provided to the fund recipients.
Steering & Evaluation Committee of i4.0 Seed Fund Stream #4
The evaluation committee is made up of industry captains and founders of successful start-ups. They are tasked to evaluate the proposals and candidates while provide recommendations to the steering committee members for final approval.
Members of the steering committee are:
- Chairperson: Rt. Hon. Mr. Chow Kon Yeow (Chief Minister of Penang)
- Dato’ Dr Muhammad Farazi Johari (State Financial Officer)
- Dato’ Seri Lee Kah Choon (Special Investment Advisor to Chief Minister of Penang)
Members of the evaluation committee include:
- Chairperson: Dato’ Loo Lee Lian (CEO of InvestPenang)
- Amar Chhajer (Country Head of UST Global)
- Chan Kee Siak (Founder & CEO of Exabytes Network)
- Charles Tang (Founder & CEO of eSolved MSC)
- Chuah Choon Bin (Executive Chairman of Pentamaster)
- Howie Chang (Founder & CEO of Forward School)
- Lau Kean Cheong (CEO of Inari)
- Ng Sang Beng (CEO of Aemulus)
- Ober Choo (CTO of Cytron Technologies)
- Radin Ikram (Principal, BizCoach Solutions)
Chow expressed his confidence on the tech ecosystem in Penang. “Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Penang’s industrialisation this year, the decades of industrial excellence and elevated capabilities of talent in Penang have laid the groundworks in steering state-of-the-art creation. Holding on the aspiration to become a global innovation hub, we are making great strides in developing an enabling environment for the start-ups and is definitely an up-and-comer that is worth keeping an eye on. I’d like to call upon all qualified tech start-ups to apply for the fund and leverage on it as springboard to greater success.”
The application period for Penang i4.0 Seed Fund Steam #4 is starting today till 22 March, 2022. Applications can be made at (click here). InvestPenang is the State agency appointed for the fund management and administration.
InvestPenang is the Penang State Government’s principal agency for promotion of investment. Its objectives are to develop and sustain Penang’s economy by enhancing and continuously supporting business activities in the State through foreign and local investments, including spawning viable new growth centres. To realize its objectives, InvestPenang also runs initiatives like the SMART Penang Centre (providing assistance to SMEs), Penang CAT Centre (for talent attraction and retention) and i4.0 seed fund (a catalyst for the startup ecosystem).
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 Unicorn is a start-up company with a value of over USD1billion.