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      15 January 2020  

SEDIA to continue efforts developing local entrepreneurs


Kimanis (Wednesday) - The Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) will be organising an engagement session on January 21-23, 2020 at the Sabah Agro-Industrial Precinct (SAIP). The session is an opportunity to meet with entrepreneurs and business owners who had expressed interest in SEDIA's programmes, especially focusing on developing the agriculture industry.

  SEDIA Incubatees participating at one of the entrepreneur carnival recently held in Membakut

The engagement session will serve as a platform to engage with newly accepted participants in SDC SME development programmes. During the session, participants will be briefed about programme module, schedule and processes, as well as the facilities available to entrepreneurs and start-ups for use in SAIP. Participants will also meet with SEDIA officers from their Investment and Business Development division (IBDD) and Knowledge and Technology Management division (KTMD), to identify the types of business assistance required by each applicant. This will be the first engagement session held by SEDIA this year, and over 400 individuals are expected to participate, representing SAIP SME Incubation programme v2.2.

SEDIA will continue to respond to the Federal and State Governments' call to develop entrepreneurship in the state, as well as respond to the direction of the agriculture industry as laid out in the recently launched State Agriculture Blueprint. SEDIA had paid a courtesy visit to Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries Datuk Junz Wong on December 13, 2019 to discuss collaboration towards the development of the agriculture sector in Sabah, especially during the Twelfth Malaysia Plan. Additionally, several entrepreneurs from the first batch of the SME Incubation programme are participating in the Ministry of Trade and Industry 2020 Entrepreneur Carnival, held today at the Membakut weekly market.

Efforts to develop SMEs and start-ups under SDC have also emphasised downstream activities in agriculture. The 185-acre SAIP is envisaged as a centre of excellence in agro-biotechnology, optimising the state's biodiversity and abundant natural resources to produce higher value-added food and specialty products based on botanicals, aquatic plants and animals. The machinery and equipment at SAIP include laboratory equipment specific for conducting plant tissue culture, horticulture research, product development, and food analysis. More than 90 types of machinery and equipment are provided for agriculture and herb downstream processing.

The venue for the engagement session is the auditorium which is part of Phase three of SAIP that also houses a multipurpose hall and office/exhibition areas. Phase four of SAIP development will provide a Cosmetics and Personal Care Manufacturing Facility which will have Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Halal certification, 20 units of SME lots, a storage building, and net houses.

During 2019, SEDIA had organised several events in SAIP to showcase its SME development initiatives as well as its current participants. The first event was the SME AgroBazaar @SDC on April 26-30, 2019. This was then followed by an SDC SME Incubation Programme graduation ceremony and entrepreneurs showcase which was held during August 15-17, 2019. SEDIA's 2019 calendar year of activities then concluded with the SEDIA Open Day on November 26-28, 2019, which also commemorates SEDIA's efforts spanning the past decade towards achieving the SDC vision and mission.

Meanwhile, SEDIA has been conducting SME development activities and assisted numerous entrepreneurs and start-ups to acquire basic knowledge and entrepreneurial skills, establishing business networking as well as discovering new business ventures and opportunities. In 2019, five Sabah entrepreneurs under SDC SME development initiatives had the opportunity to promote their Sabah-made products to the China market by participating in China-ASEAN Exposition (CAEXPO) 2019, which was held at the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Centre (NICEC). SEDIA had assisted these entrepreneurs, providing support towards logistics and the necessary documentation, as well as providing booth space in the Malaysia Pavillion of CAEXPO.

Moving forward, SDC SME programmes will expose entrepreneurs in the usage of artificial intelligence (A.I.) and Internet of Things (IoT) based on applications for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0). At SAIP, facilities such as smart mushroom house and controlled environment farming (CEF) can serve as examples for adopting automated and internet-based technologies, and may even operate on renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. This emphasis on IR4.0 will strengthen the state's competitiveness moving forward into the Twelfth Malaysia Plan, as well as preparing Sabah for the sixth global business cycle that focuses on robotics, alternative energy and human enhancement technology.

SEDIA's efforts towards developing entrepreneurs and start-ups being with the HotDesk programme, which identifies business ideas and related activities that are in line with SDC scope and objectives, and allows participants to qualify for the SME Incubation programme. The HotDesk programme serves as a preliminary engagement stage with potential entrepreneurs that provides business development training. At this stage, budding entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to discover, test and validate their ideas using systematic tools such as Business Model Canvas (BMC), with guidance from trained SEDIA officers. They are also exposed to the business preparation process including business plans and business pitching, which are crucial for them to familiarise themselves with the actual business ecosystem and setup. This programme is also applicable and of benefit to existing ventures to expand or realign their businesses.

- Media SEDIA

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