Tech startups based in Malaysia can start applying to participate in the US$23.4 million (RM100 million) National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) through the official website. Announced by Malaysian Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin as part of the PENJANA economic recovery plan, NTIS aims to accelerate Malaysia into a high-tech and high-income nation via innovation-driven solutions.
“NTIS aims to solve issues relating to the economy and society such as rising unemployment, foreign labour dependency, local supply chain resilience, food & health security and patchy digital infrastructure,” said Khairy Jamaluddin (pic), Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti).
He said areas of immediate concern are Covid-19 related issues such as falling economic activity, increasing unemployment, a decline in private consumption and expenditures, high reliance on foreign labour and the need for talent upskilling.
“The government believes that these issues can be addressed by using advanced technology including in key sectors such as medical technology, manufacturing, agriculture, education and travel and tourism,” said Khairy.
NTIS is spearheaded by MOSTI with Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) as the lead secretariat assisted by Technology Park Malaysia (TPM), Mimos Bhd, Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) and Futurise Sdn Bhd.
“NTIS addresses an immediate need of the nation, as well as Malaysia’s long-term economic needs, by accelerating the development of innovative solutions from the R&D stage to being commercially ready. Examples of pilot projects that have been earmarked under the NTIS include FARMO (Farm Assist Robot for Multi Operation) Robot which is deployed in the Agricultural sector, Rehabilitation Robot for hospitals, Linear Robot for Industry Applications, and many more,” said Dzuleira Abu Bakar, CEO of MaGIC.
Four types of funding schemes are available under NTIS:
1. Single Site Sandbox – Maximum financing amount of US$58,600 (RM250,000) in Full Grant to fund a single site sandbox solution
2. Multi-Site Sandbox – Maximum financing amount of RM500,000 in the form of a Partial Grant (70%) to fund multiple site sandbox solutions
[RM1 = US$0.23]
3. Commercialisation – 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
4. Matching fund with investors/corporates – Maximum allocation of RM15 million as a matching fund with investors and corporate companies. The financing instrument will be subject to agreement between MTDC and the participating investors and corporates.