SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT THE OFFICIAL LAUNCHING OF PENANG I4.0 SEED FUND OF USD1 MILLION
10 March 2018
@CAT Wisma Yeap Chor Ee
I am pleased to join all of you, the dynamic and aspiring entrepreneurs and the startup community here today in the historic launching of Penang Industry 4.0 (i4.0) Seed Fund of USD1 Million. The i4 Seed Fund intends to build, attract and retain talents in the data- driven digital era and to spur the tech startup ecosystem to realise Penang's potential in Asia’s next Silicon Valley of Asia.
With over 45 years of cumulative industrial experience and residual intelligence, the State has an established E&E ecosystem comprising over 300 MNCs and 3,000 local supporting companies, that is well integrated in the global supply chain. Just four days ago, MIDA announced Penang as the top FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) recipient among states, with approved manufacturing investment FDI in 2017 valued at RM8.5 billion. Penang was the second top recipient in Malaysia of total manufacturing investment valued at RM10.8 billion. Compared to 2016, Penang's total investment grew by 151% in 2017, while FDI grew by 180%. Tech startups in i4 will complement the industrial growth in Penang in this data-driven digital economy.
Penang has come a long way to spur our startup community and development. From our inaugural Penang State Shared Services & Outsourcing and Creative Multimedia Content Council (PSSCC) in January 2015, the RM23 million @CAT Wisma Yeap Chor Ee in October 2015. @CAT has been the venue hosting more than 300 startup events.
As at December 2017, due to high demand, the co-working space which opens 24-7, and which had recently been increased to 70 seats, recorded an average daily occupancy rate of 94%. @CAT Penang is also proud to be the centre of Founder Institute, a 14-week Silicon Valley based idea stage accelerator program. Last year’s program was a great success, producing a total of 7 graduates, in which 2 of them were successful in securing investor and funding.
Two weeks ago, I have also announced the organization structure of this i4 Seed Fund comprising of the Steering Committee and the Evaluation Committee. Some of the members of the Evaluation Committee are entrepreneurs who have carved a name for themselves in their respective fields and exemplify the success stories of Penang entrepreneurship.
We hope that this i4 Seed Fund will catalyse more of Penang-powered companies such as ViTrox, Exabytes, Piktochart and Cytron. This is a ‘pay forward’ program, where there is no requirement to return the grants issued to the State. The real return of investment from this seed fund is when the successful startups that benefited from the fund contribute back by providing high value jobs, knowledge transfer with tech-based and knowledge intensive economic activities, all ‘Powered in Penang’.
This is the reason for the decision by the Steering and Evaluation Committee for the recipients to:
1. Commit to have a corporate and operation headquarter in Penang for at least 8 years.
2. Commit to become a mentor for any future Penang State entrepreneurship development programmes for startups.
In our efforts to partake in the Industrial 4.0 revolution, revolving around interaction of machines, artificial intelligent, big data analytics, fintech, cloud computing and Internet of Things, whilst we acknowledge that “data is king”, the state feels that “talent is everything”. The State has invested RM75 million in STEM education to establish Penang as the Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Science and Technology. This RM75 million includes @CAT Penang (Accelerator for Creative, Analytics and Technology), Penang Skill Development Centre (PSDC), Penang Science Cluster (PSC), Karpal Singh Penang Learning Centre (KSPLC), Tech Dome Penang (TDP), and Penang Digital Library (PDL).
The initial vision to spur and develop the startup community in Penang – to setting up @CAT Wisma Yeap Chor Ee as a prime platform for startup development – and today's launching of this USD 1 million startup fund – is a vision for Penang has a future for our aspiring and dynamic young technopreneurs.