It’s tough to keep up with all the many initiatives our Malaysian ministries have been pushing out this year, especially since they’re trying to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on our economy as a whole.
For this article, we took a look at what our Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) has done for the past 5 months for startups and SMEs in particular.
Khairy Jamaluddin’s election as Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation came after the 2020 Malaysian political crisis.
Since then, he’s had to navigate MOSTI through addressing the impact of the pandemic on our startups and SMEs. Here are 4 initiatives that MOSTI has announced so far.
1. RM10 Million Of Matching Grants
To support social enterprises, MOSTI announced an allocation of RM10 million in the form of matching grants through the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) and Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia (YIM).
This initiative was previously called the Social Enterprises Elevation (SEE) matching grant, and is part of the initiatives under PENJANA.
Now renamed to the Social Impact Matching (SIM) Grant, applications for it have just opened this August.
Its aim is to sustain the initiatives and programmes of social enterprises, improve their fundraising capability, increase public awareness in social innovation, and scale their solutions.
Applications that will be prioritised are those that provide innovative solutions in 5 impact areas: community livelihood, food security, health and social wellbeing, environmental protection, and heritage preservation.
A minimum of RM5,000 and up to a maximum of RM50,000 in a matching grant will be provided per application to match the amount crowdfunded.
2. RM1.2 Billion For Business Digitalisation
MOSTI’s Dana Penjana Nasional has a RM1.2 billion fund aimed at improving the economy through business digitalisation.
From it, there is RM600 million of domestic resources that will benefit the development of startups and our local venture capital space.
Together with the Minister of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) Saifuddin Abdullah, Khairy co-chaired the first meeting of the Digital Economy Task Force (DETF) on July 24.
In the meeting, both ministries discussed the 15 high-impact programmes under the 4 main thrusts guiding the work of DETF: empowering the people, propelling businesses, stimulating the economy and enablers.
The meetings will be held periodically with findings reported to the Cabinet to ensure that programmes were successfully implemented.
3. RM100 Million National Technology & Innovation Sandbox (NTIS)
NTIS is spearheaded by MOSTI with MaGIC as the lead secretariat assisted by Technology Park Malaysia (TPM), MIMOS Sdn Bhd, and Futurise Sdn Bhd.
This initiative is meant to help the nation’s digitalisation process, and tech startups can apply for 4 types of funding schemes under it:
- Scheme 1: Single-Site Sandbox offering a maximum financing amount of RM250,000 in full grant and a single-site sandbox solution,
- Scheme 2: Multi-Site Sandbox with a maximum financing amount of RM500,000 in the form of a partial grant (70%) to fund multiple-site sandbox solutions,
- Scheme 3: Commercialisation scheme with maximum financing of RM4 million in the form of a hybrid fund, grants and convertible promissory notes to finance the commercialisation of the sandbox solution,
- Scheme 4: Matching Fund with Investors/Corporates, with a maximum allocation of RM15 million as a matching fund with investors and corporate companies.
The advantage of NTIS is that it allows researchers, innovators, startups and high-tech entrepreneurs to test their products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms in a live environment with some relaxation from all or selected regulatory requirements.
4. Expanding Adoption Of Big Data Analytics & AI
MOSTI is actively engaging stakeholders, agencies and industry players from both public and private sectors to ensure that deserving tech companies will receive supporting value-added services to elevate their digitalisation efforts.
The ministry will be expanding the adoption of big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) via Mimos Bhd and Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, for example.
With MaGIC’s move from the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives’ (MEDAC) portfolio to MOSTI’s portfolio, we should be seeing even more startup and SME focused initiatives down the line, whether or not in the context of PENJANA and the pandemic.
MOSTI’s roles of Intellectual Property (IP) creation, market access and scalability were already areas covered by MaGIC, hence the move was a strategic fit.
- You can read a breakdown of all 19 PENJANA initiatives for startups and SMEs here.
Featured Image Credit: Khairy Jamaluddin Twitter
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