KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Abang Openg has approved an allocation of RM30 million to develop an incubator for local business startups to explore growth opportunities offered by the digital economy.
The allocation was approved on-the-spot for applicant Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Bumiputera Sarawak (Tegas) by Abang Johari during the launch of this year’s Sarawak Career and Training Fair here today.
The centre, to be set up at the state’s hi-tech park in the Sama Jaya Free Industrial Zone here, will be equipped with a range of facilities, including internet with rapid speed ranging from 150 to 300 megabits per second (mbps).
“This is our initial move to shift Sarawak’s economy into the digitisation module from the present conventional approach.
“Sarawak has a wide pool of talented entrepreneurs, but we do not have the infrastructure to support and nurture these talents.
“Thus, this incubator will address this problem and subsequently drive the state’s digital economy inception,” said Abang Johari in his speech officiating the three-day fair.
He said Tegas will emulate the module adopted by California’s Silicon Valley in establishing the incubator, which will take the form of a warehouse that could accommodate up to 50 entrepreneurs.
“We want to produce our very own Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman, Jack Ma.
“All of them started from humble beginnings. Gates (developed) his first software in his car garage, while Ma charted his future in e-commerce from his apartment,” he said.
Abang Johari also said the state government has started reaching out to experts and government agencies, including the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to boost internet connection for the state.
Faster internet connection, he said, will also promote economic transformation in the interior, as rural entrepreneurs would be able to reach out to a larger audience and market.
“We want to build the trunk facilities to enable the state to penetrate the digital economy.
“At present, the internet speed only stands at 40 mbps in major towns, and the speed is lower in rural areas,” he said, adding that Sarawak needs RM2 billion to develop proper ICT infrastructure.