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Thursday December 8, 2011

Penang SME Centre looking for tenants

SMALL and medium-scale (SME) operators can now apply to rent lots at the RM40mil Penang SME Centre at Phase Four of the Bayan Lepas Industrial Park.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the centre, aimed at incubating and developing new local SMEs, would be ready in April next year.

He said the applicants would be selected by industry experts led by Penang Science Council’s Mentoring Scientific Pillar head Datuk Seri Kelvin Kiew.

“By March, the tenant list should be ready.

“We hope to get more SMEs that are involved in the solar energy sector,” he said at a press conference recently.

A place for entrepreneurs: An artist's impression of the Penang SME Centre that will be built in Phase IV of the Free Industrial Zone in Bayan Lepas

For the first year, the rental of the facility lots range from RM1.50 to RM1.80 per sq ft.

He said that for the first two years, the state would subsidise 80 sen per sq ft monthly to ensure the rental was affordable for local SMEs.

Lim said the subsidy was only for two years because “if they cannot make it in that time, chances are they won’t make it at all and will have to make way for others”.

He said the state government wanted to groom technopreneurs — people who are both entrepreneurs and innovators.

“That’s why we’ve also established the SME Market Advisory, Resource and Training (SMART) Centre and the SME Village in Bukit Minyak and Batu Kawan.

“You go to the SMART Centre for free advice and then you set up your operations at the SME Centre.

“After two years, the SME can move to the SME Village and build their factories there,” he said.

He said although it was unquestionable that local SMEs had developed strong technical competencies over the last four decades, they had failed to establish “a Penang brand”.

He said most SMEs formed the lower tiers of the supply chain of their multinational customers.

Kiew said he, together with other industry players, were willing to share their expertise with local SMEs.

“All of us started as an SME and we will support companies located in the SME Centre as much as possible.

“Although there are many grants and programmes available for SMEs in the country, what’s more important is to look at the basic needs like affordable space and proximity to the industry.

“Local SMEs need to be where the action is and the SME Centre allows for that at nominal rental rates,” he said.

For details on the SME Centre, call the Penang Development Corporation at 04-6340244 (Sharidah Talib), InvestPenang at 04-6468833 (C.H. Chong) or SMART Centre at 04-6409988 (Lim).

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