(Talib (third right) cuts the ribbon to mark the launch of DIH Bintulu, as Len (third left) and others look on.)

BINTULU: This division now houses Sarawak’s third digital innovation centre, after the ones in Kuching and Sarikei.

The SMA-Tegas Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) was launched at Naim Street Mall here yesterday.

Minister in Chief Minister’s Office (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip officiated at the ceremony, representing Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The hub would serve as an inclusive platform to nurture talents, support entrepreneurs and create innovators for Sarawak.

According to Talib, the first two centres have been operating for more than a year and have proven to be very successful in connecting the local communities and expanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“The activities carried out at these innovation hubs have produced several successful start-ups and digital entrepreneurs,” he added.

Funded by Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) and managed by Sarawak Bumiputera Technical Education Promotion Charitable Trust (Tegas), the DIH provides access to co-working space and shared amenities, funding opportunities and facilitation, incubation and acceleration programmes, as well as an entrepreneur-friendly ecosystem.

Talib said to get to the stage of producing world-class start-ups, the right programmes, which could be divided into four types, must be implemented at these innovation hubs.

The first would be to promote digital innovation and entrepreneurship and inspire young Sarawakians to become entrepreneurs and technopreneurs.

“We will be running outreach programmes, which will inform and catalyse them towards commerce, business and entrepreneurship,” he said.

The second type would be to educate the same inspiring entrepreneurs via capacity development programmes, which would include training them on using the latest digital platforms such as e-commerce, digital marketing and search engine optimisation.

This, Talib said, would enable entrepreneurs to acquire skills that should put them head to head with the top entrepreneurs in the world.

The third type would be to accelerate growth of early-stage start-ups and entrepreneurs via an intensive mentoring and coaching programme.

The fourth mission, he added, would be to enhance the collaboration between the government and private sector.

“As a united ecosystem, we will be working with our industry players and our business community to streamline venture-capital opportunities for high-potential start-ups,” said Talib, adding that DIH would be ‘another jewel in the crown of Bintulu’.

(Len (fourth right) exchanges the partnership document with UPM vice-chancellor Prof Datin Paduka Dr Aini Ideris, witnessed by Talib (centre) and others.)

Meanwhile, Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh said the launch of the DIH proved that the government was serious about developing talents and promoting digital innovation and entrepreneurship amongst Sarawakian youths.

“Our mission is to provide growth opportunities for early-stage start-ups and to build a strong start-up community across Sarawak.

“This initiative is in line with the Chief Minister’s agenda of increasing the number of successful technopreneurs and subsequently, driving the state’s digital economy,” said Len, who is also Tegas chairman.

Under Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy 2018-2025 (Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Action 37), the Sarawak government through SMA would establish one innovation centre in each division and facilitate others (private sector, universities and communities).

SMA general manager Dr Zaidi Razak, in a statement, said the launch of DIH here, as part of the wider Sarawak digital village ecosystem, would play a significant role in introducing information technology (IT) to the communities and creating awareness of the commercialisation process and economic development here.

“On its own, it will be the focal point of entrepreneurial activity in Bintulu and as a prime component of the state’s ecosystem, DIH Bintulu managed by the capable hands of Tegas team, will be supplying high-potential early-state start-ups that will graduate to the digital village in Samajaya and be the pride of Sarawak and the nation,” he said.

Programmes to accelerate the growth of early-stage start-ups at DIH include Tegas pre-accelerator Boot Camp, Tegas Start-Up Lab and Sarawak Shell Livewire (run in partnership with Tegas).

The hub’s facilities and benefits include a co-working space, high speed internet, discussion rooms, knowledge-sharing and capacity development programmes, as well as access to Sarawak digital village ecosystem network.

To enhance the ecosystem, Tegas has signed up four new strategic partners – Watch Tower and Friends Accelerator, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Bintulu Campus, Kloena Digital and myHarapan Youth Trust Foundation.

This initiative is part of the #InnovateSarawak campaign, developed by Tegas in collaboration with SMA as the ecosystem custodian, together with its strategic partners to promote digital innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as provide growth opportunities for start-ups through strategic collaborations.

Date of Input: 18/02/2019 | Updated: 18/02/2019 | lanz



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