Hub to boost digital ecosystem

Abang Johari Tun Openg (third from left) at the launch of the Tegas Digital Innovation Hub in Kuching.

KUCHING: The new Tegas Digital Innovation Hub here will be a platform for Sarawak to move towards a digital economy by nurturing talent, supporting entrepreneurs and creating innovators.

Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the hub would help create an ecosystem for talented Sarawakians to innovate and develop digital products and services.

“A lot of Sarawakians are overseas producing new apps. They are successful in Singapore, Australia and Canada. They are not in Kuching because we do not have the ecosystem here.

“Because of that, I would like to establish this ecosystem. Against this background, I asked Tegas to spearhead our young people to be innovative and invent new processes and apps,” he said when launching the hub at ICOM Square here.

Tegas, or Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Bumiputra Sarawak, is a non-profit organisation for promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), technical and vocational education and entrepreneurship among Sarawak’s youth.

Abang Johari said the state government was committed to improving Internet infrastructure to support the digital economy initiative, with RM1bil set aside to upgrade the backhaul Internet speed to 4 Tbps terabits per second.

He also said a pilot project on the use of balloon-powered Internet was underway in Long San, a remote village in Baram.

“A company from Silicon Valley is going to test this. Volunteers from Silicon Valley are also giving Mathematics and Science tuition to students in Long San using tablets.

“If this is successful, we can template it in other areas so that our students can command these subjects,” he said.

Tegas chairman Datuk Len Talif Salleh said the digital innovation hub was a precursor to the proposed Digital Village at Samajaya, which is currently in the design stage and expected to be fully operational by the first quarter of 2020.

The hub’s facilities include a co-working space, event space, conference room, sound production room, 3D printing and Internet speed of 100 Mbps.

“It offers start-ups the opportunity for expansion, ready access to high-speed broadband, funding and facilitation opportunities, entrepreneur-friendly ecosystem, talent development programmes, holistic convenience and lifestyle experience,” Len said.

To enhance the hub’s ecosystem, Tegas has signed up 11 strategic partners for its #Innovate Sarawak campaign promoting creativity and innovation.

The partners are Sarawak Shell Bhd, Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre, Australian Trade and Investment Commission, Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputra, SME Corporation Malaysia, Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak, Media Prima Labs, IME Group of Companies, Koperasi Belia Inovatif Sarawak, Noh Phrofile Enterprise and I Cube Innovation Sdn Bhd.

Len said a tech start-up called Trifold was currently incubating at the hub under the Tegas-Swinburne mixed reality project.

“Trifold is founded by a team of alumni from the business and design faculty. Their first project is a virtual reality marketing app for Swinburne,” he said.

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