‘Enhance technopreneur culture among youths’

Wong (second left) receives a memento from US Embassy Kuala Lumpur senior program specialist Sadayan Riazurrahman, as (from left( Ismawi, Azam acting CEO Leila Sim and Rekha look on.

A cross section of participants attending the programme.

KUCHING: The technopreneur culture among youths in Sarawak today needs to be improved because they are still lacking in the right technopreneurship and entrepreneurship attitude and skills, said Minister of International Trade and E-Commerce Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh.

He pointed out there are now emerging pockets of innovative and creative youth enterprises especially in the F&B (food and beverage) sector, in ICT (information and communication technology), in hospitality and creative sectors (artpreneurship) particularly in urban centres such as Kuching.

“A systematic approach and the relevant mechanisms would be necessary to reach out to such independent start-ups who may not be well informed on where to go for advice or support,” he said when opening a technopreneurship programme jointly organised by Angkatan Zaman Mansang Sarawak (Azam) and United States Embassy Kuala Lumpur held at a leading hotel here yesterday.

Wong, who is also Second Finance Minister, said the government welcomes activities complementing efforts in building the capacity of the state’s younger generations to undertake technopreneurship, such as yesterday’s joint initiative by Azam and the US Embassy.

“There is a lot we can learn from developed economies like the US,” he said.

He also said there are various as well as existing potential enablers for the young to venture into entrepreneurship and to be successful.

These include the E-Commerce Transformation Plan (E-Com Y30) which was launched by Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg at the International ICT Infrastructure and Digital Economy Conference (Idecs) in April, he added.

“There are youth-driven business outfits in Kuching that consist of members of various races which augur well for the overall development of Sarawak.

“Breaking socio-cultural barriers enables the convergence of multiple talents of youth from diverse backgrounds, which is a more progressive way of pursuing entrepreneurial success in this 21st century,” he said.

On the digital economy currently being pursued by the state government, Wong said this will create an entire new dimension of development and growth for Sarawak.

He pointed out that new jobs for the young people in urban centres and rural areas will be created, as well as transforming the way Sarawakians live, and to get out from the comfort zone and do business to increase income and strengthen the economy.

“The digital economy will challenge the traditional models of doing business in Sarawak and allow young new technopreneurs and other business people to move forward to the front like international technopreneurs.

“For the long term, we hope to nurture a dynamic and favourable environment for local technopreneurship development,” he said.

Meanwhile, around 200 participants attended yesterday’s programme which also comprised a talk called ‘Silicon Valley Innovation Ecosystem, and How, and Why Entrepreneurship, Intrapreneurship (Corporate Internal Incubators) and the Start-up Ecosystem in the Silicon Valley Works’ presented by Fast Forward board of directors member Rekha Pai Kamath.

There was also a panel discussion on the theme ‘Nurturing an Innovation and Creativity Ecosystem for Sarawak Towards a Digital Economy’ consisting panellists from Faculty of Computer Science & Information Technology (FCSIT) of Unimas, Borneo744, Stratfos Sdn Bhd and the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC).

Deputy State Secretary (Socio-Economic Transformation) and Azam deputy chairman, Datu Ismawi Ismuni, said the organisers hoped the programme would enhance awareness and understanding among local stakeholders on the latest developments in technopreneurship towards achieving the state’s digital economy goals.

“As a brief background, Azam and the US Embassy had organised similar activities in 2014 and 2016, which were a workshop for women entrepreneurs and workshop for youth entrepreneurs and students and also talk and workshop for entrepreneurs organised in 2016,” he said.

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