It is difficult to keep up with all of the many initiatives our Malaysian ministries have taken this year, especially since they have been trying to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on our entire economy.
In this article we took a look at what our Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) has been doing over the past 5 months, especially for startups and SMEs.
Khairy Jamaluddin's election as Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation came after the political crisis in Malaysia in 2020.
Since then, he has had to steer MOSTI to address the impact of the pandemic on our startups and SMEs. Here are 4 initiatives that MOSTI has announced so far.
1. 10 million RM in appropriate grants
To support social enterprises, MOSTI announced an allocation of RM 10 million in the form of matching grants from the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Center (MaGIC) and Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia (YIM).
This initiative was previously known as the Matching Grant for Social Enterprises Elevation (SEE) and is part of the PENJANA initiatives.
The change of name to Social Impact Matching (SIM) Grant was only applied for in August this year.
The aim is to maintain social enterprise initiatives and programs, improve their fundraising capabilities, raise public awareness of social innovations and scale their solutions.
Priority applications are those that offer innovative solutions in five areas of activity: livelihood of the population, food security, health and social well-being, environmental protection and preservation of cultural heritage.
A minimum of RM 5,000 per application and a maximum of RM 50,000 will be provided in the form of an appropriate grant to match the crowdfunding amount.
2. 1.2 billion RM for the digitization of companies
MOSTI's Dana Penjana Nasional has a RM 1.2 billion fund aimed at improving the economy by digitizing companies.
This results in domestic resources amounting to RM 600 million, which benefit the development of start-ups and our local venture capital space.
Together with the Minister for Communication and Multimedia (KKMM) Saifuddin Abdullah, Khairy chaired the first meeting of the Task Force on the Digital Economy (DETF) on July 24th.
During the meeting, both ministries discussed the 15 effective programs under the four main priorities of DETF's work: empowering people, driving businesses, stimulating the economy and enablers.
Meetings are held regularly with the results reported to the Cabinet to ensure that the programs have been successfully implemented.
3. 100 million RM National Technology & Innovation Sandbox (NTIS)
NTIS is led by MOSTI with MaGIC as lead secretariat, supported by Technology Park Malaysia (TPM), MIMOS Sdn Bhd and Futurise Sdn Bhd.
This initiative is designed to support the country's digitization process, and tech startups can apply for four types of funding programs:
- Scheme 1: Single-site sandbox with a maximum funding amount of RM 250,000 in full and a single-site sandbox solution
- Scheme 2: Multi-site sandbox with a maximum financing amount of RM 500,000 in the form of a partial grant (70%) to finance multi-site sandbox solutions;
- Scheme 3: Commercialization program with a maximum of 4 million RM in the form of a hybrid fund, grants and convertible promissory notes to finance the commercialization of the sandbox solution;
- Scheme 4: Matching fund with investors / companies with a maximum allocation of RM 15 million as a matching fund with investors and companies.
The advantage of NTIS is that researchers, innovators, start-ups and high-tech entrepreneurs can test their products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms in a live environment, with all or selected regulatory requirements being a little more relaxed.
4. Expansion of the introduction of Big Data Analytics & AI
MOSTI actively engages stakeholders, agencies, and industry players from both the public and private sectors to ensure that deserving tech companies receive value-added support services to boost their digitization efforts.
For example, the ministry will expand the rollout of big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) through Mimos Bhd and Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd.
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With MaGIC's move from the Ministry of Entrepreneurship Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC) portfolio to the MOSTI portfolio, we should see even more initiatives focused on startups and SMEs in the context of PENJANA and the pandemic.
MOSTI's role in creating intellectual property (IP), market access and scalability was already covered by MaGIC, so the move was a strategic addition.
- A breakdown of all 19 PENJANA initiatives for startups and SMEs can be found here.
Selected image source: Khairy Jamaluddin Twitter