Following the government’s economic recovery plan (PENJANA) announcement last Fri, 5 June, several initiatives to stimulate economic recovery are in motion – including the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) which will start receiving applications in three weeks. Meanwhile the Social Enterprise Elevation (SEE) initiative will release details soon as well.
NTIS will be spearheaded by Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti), with the support from Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC), Technology Park Malaysia (TPM) and Mimos Bhd as the secretariat to enable and coordinate the rollout of the NTIS.
“Through NTIS, our goal is to drive talent development to fulfil Malaysia’s potential of becoming a high tech nation, as well as accelerate R&D and commercialisation through simplified policies and regulations,” said Khairy Jamaluddin, Mosti Minister, after a work visit to MaGIC yesterday.
Khairy explained that the NTIS will allow researchers, innovators, startups and high-tech entrepreneurs to test their products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms in a live environment. NTIS will enjoy some relaxations from all or selected regulatory requirements to encourage the development of innovative and creative solutions as part of promoting and facilitating route to market.
It also aims to reduce dependency on foreign labour, increase employment opportunities for Malaysians, increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP)/Gross National Income (GNI), enhance the participation, investment and collaboration in research by the private sector as well as improve the country’s commercialisation rate.
MaGIC CEO Dzuleira Abu Bakar said that MaGIC as the lead NTIS Secretariat will be working with Mimos and TPM alongside other Mosti agencies ranging from technology development to funding entities and other ministries. The NTIS secretariat would act as a national solution coordination centre for existing and new problem statements brought about by the public sector, corporates as well as from the community - particularly through the use of advanced technology.
“Covid-19 has impacted businesses and led to rising unemployment, whilst surfacing several sectoral issues such as foreign labour dependency, local supply chain resilience, food & health security and patchy digital infrastructure. These issues can be addressed by using advanced technology including in key sectors such as services, healthcare, manufacturing and agriculture.”
The NTIS Secretariat will look to support solutions and products that feature advanced technology, in addition to reskilling and upskilling initiatives, capacity building programmes, market access, preparation of platform and test environments, facilitation and review of regulations and laws and multi-industry adoption.
“Advanced technology is the next step forward in the innovation roadmap for Malaysia to gain a competitive advantage through the creation of new socio-economic value. The window for advanced technology products and solutions to be commoditised is getting shorter and the ability to commercialise becomes faster – therefore the right time to foster this is now,” she said.
About the NTIS
The aims of the NTIS are:
NTIS will receive applications from all technology with reference to 10-10 Science, Technology, Innovation and Economy (STIE) outlined by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, with priority given to:
· Sensor technology
· 4D & 5D printing
· Advanced materials
· Advanced Intelligence Systems
· Cyber security and encryption
· Augmented Analytics & Data Discovery
· Neuro Technology
· Bioscience Technology
· Manufacturing Technology
· Electrical & Electronics
Social Enterprise Elevation Initiative
On the US$2.34 million (RM10 million) allocation to fund social enterprises under the Social Elevation (SEE) initiative, MaGIC stressed that the allocation will take an inclusive approach to fund impactful projects for the target beneficiaries as well as the B40 community.
MaGIC is working closely with the Ministry of Finance on the SEE initiative and will be announcing details soon.
“Despite some Social Enterprises recording zero revenue, they still managed to pull together to help address issues faced by vulnerable groups during the MCO," she added.
For example, MasalaWheels not only prepared and delivered 16,000 food packages to medical frontliners and homes, but also employed more than 30 at risk-youth, and collaborated with taxi drivers around the city to fulfil its mission.
Tanoti Crafts brought together the local community and delivered close to 30,000 PPE suits to support frontliners in Kuching. Me.reka, Biji-biji Initiative, SURI, Earth Heir, Batik Boutique and their partners, kick-started a digital demand-based production platform, and successfully distributed over 24,670 face shields, 1,505 aerochambers, and 58 patient isolation boxes to 75 frontline organisations across Malaysia.
“Recently, MaGIC collaborated with Alliance Islamic Bank, Citrine Capital and NGOhub and successfully raised more than US$46,850 (RM200,000) for 11 social enterprises to continue their mission in aiding disadvantaged communities. Featuring multi sector collaboration, we believe more such partnerships to rebuild the livelihood of communities impacted by Covid-19 will emerge,” she said.