THE Penang i4.0 Seed Fund programme, which began with an initial fund of USD1mil (RM4.13mil), has created technological entrepreneurs who successfully launched startup ventures, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
The programme, through InvestPenang and @CAT Penang, has created activities of product enhancement, marketing and branding, technical, product and design hires of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0).
Chow said the successful launch of the seed fund last August had benefited 16 companies which received a total of RM1.67mil.
“For the second round, RM1.35mil for the fund would be dished out to 11 companies and each of them will be receiving amounts ranging from RM50,000 to RM200,000,” he said during the recent i4.0 Seed Fund Stream and Recognition Day at Wisma Yeap Choo Ee in George Town.
“These 11 companies are involved in a wide range of business activities which include wellness monitoring platform, pet-owner collecting platform, e-commerce software, smart cognitive system based on AI technology, sensors for manufacturing lines, commercial vehicle fleet control system and farming systems.
“I hope this funding will be a catalyst for their growth, providing greater dynamics to scale their business and enabling them to reach their targeted customers in a more efficient way.”
Chow also launched the LeapSprint Startup Founders Programme, a 10-day curriculum designed to drive individuals who are passionate about their business potential and expose them to fundamental insights and tools to increase their chances of success.
Another one is the LeapSprint Startup Mentoring Programme, a six-month programme with a series of talks by notable technology and business mentors on fundraising, finance, sales and negotiation, scaling up and team building.
“After three and a half years since the launch of the RM23mil @CAT within Wisma Yeap Chor Ee, it has served as the catalyst for Penang to accelerate emerging tech startups and entrepreneurial development programmes.”
@CAT Penang programme director Howie Chang said the funding was for businesses which have started up and are in need of funding rather than those only at a conceptual stage.
“We want to see a viable business venture or a model which fits into IR4.0 and fund such startups rather than those still on paper.”
InvestPenang chief executive officer Loo Lee Lian said there were also startups in which the state would take up equity stakes to drive the company to a higher growth level.