Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
'Women. Technology. Entrepreneurship'
22nd July 2017, @CAT Wisma Yeap Chor Ee
First and foremost, it is indeed a great pleasure for me to be part of this one of a kind event here this afternoon which aims to empower, inspire, and celebrate women making strides in their careers.The contribution of women entrepreneurs in the Penang & Malaysian economic landscape is undeniable. Today, women who juggle family with careers are looked upon as capable and competent to handle business independently. Women are accustomed to juggling roles from being the managers of their homes to being leaders in society. I must therefore recognize all women here today who are the epitome of being Wonder Women.
I am undoubtedly proud of the women who have contributed in my administration, be it socio-political or the economic sector. It is worth mentioning that the Penang State Government is the first in Peninsular Malaysia to appoint the female Municipal Council President and female District Officers. We also made history 2 years ago by having the first female Lord Mayor of a city council in Malaysia.
Women and tech empowerment Despite the successes, globally, there are still very few women entrepreneurs and even fewer women entrepreneurs who operate internationally. Based on LinkedIn’s 2016 Global Talent Trends Report, only 30% of the entire workforce in the tech industry is represented by women.
Another report from Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) states that around 48% of women in the tech field claim there is lack of female mentors, while 42% claim that there are not enough female role models in the tech industry. This is where we hope @CAT Penang and Girls in Tech, a global organization focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of girls and women who are passionate about technology, can collaborate and do their part to inspire more local female technopreneurs in Penang & Malaysia.
We are delighted to have Ms Nadira Yusoff with us here today, who is the managing director of ‘Girls in Tech Malaysia’ (GITM). She is a leader, mentor, technopreneur, community builder and a prominent industry player shattering the glass ceiling in many ways.
I understand that @CAT Penang is working closely with ‘Girls in Tech Malaysia’ to establish a Penang Chapter soon here in Penang. This will be a very important addition to the existing local entrepreneurial ecosystem that we are trying to develop, as well as to bridge the gap between our women tech entrepreneurs with the support system they need.
STEM initiatives in PenangFrom the Penang State Government’s perspective, we have invested RM23 million to rejuvenate this beautiful heritage building which now serves as a platform and launch pad in bringing the tech-startup community under one roof, providing necessary support and services to build a strong ecosystem which includes promotion and teaching of technology, coding, e-business and maker-fest.
Only 2 weeks ago, the internationally renowned BarCamp series was successfully organized here at @CAT Penang by the enthusiastic local startup community – attracting over 300 participants to exchange knowledge and experience with each other in the areas of technology, arts, and science.
Moving forward, the State Government through @CAT Penang and Penang Hill Corporation will be launching an exciting 2-day ‘Design Challenge’ project at the end of Oct this year, enabling local tech enthusiasts to test their skills in creating solutions to improve visitor experience at Penang Hill - using technology and software solutions.
In addition to @CAT Penang, we have established Penang Science Café, RM28 million Penang Tech Dome and the recently launched RM3.5 million Penang Digital Library, the first of its kind in Malaysia to spur interest of our younger generation and to provide an avenue for them to learn science and technology in an interactive and fun manner. Through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, we aim to establish Penang as a Centre of Excellence for science & technology.
The Penang State Government through @CAT Penang will continuously provide the necessary support by facilitating access for aspiring women tech entrepreneurs to other markets beyond our borders, to mentors, and strategic partnerships. The world is your market. Dream big, and dare to fail. There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to succeed. We are here to help and facilitate all of you.
Before ending my speech, I would like to take this opportunity to thank @CAT Penang and ‘Girls in Tech Malaysia’ for successfully organizing this event in Penang. Lined up ahead, we have a powerhouse coalition of female founders, corporate leaders and role models who will share tales of their diverse and successful journey in a ‘male-dominated’ industry.