Tegas Digital Village – platform for budding entrepreneurs

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KUCHING: Budding or aspiring start-ups and entrepreneurs can make full use of Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Sarawak (Tegas) Digital Village (TDV) at Sama Jaya High Tech Park and its wide range of facilities and support.

Abang Johari speaks during his site visit to Tegas Digital Village. Photo: Ukas

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the modern and digital building would be equipped with the latest digital facilities and devices by the Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC).

“There is also ample space that can be used as an office for our budding digital entrepreneurs,” he said when visiting the almost completed TDV on Thursday (Sept 2).

Abang Johari said the TDV would be linked to various hubs, including the ones in Sarikei, Sibu, and Miri, which are based on incubator systems.

He said, entrepreneurs such as commercial farmers in rural regions of the state could develop their products at these hubs which were connected to TDV.

“The products can be processed and improved through our lab system. So TDV will become our test bed and this will increase the yield as well as the quality of products produced from our rural areas,” he said.

Abang Johari said the facility also provided room for enhancing and improving smart agricultural processes.

He pointed out that many products could be generated from agricultural produce and technology could be used to facilitate these processes.

As an example, he said technology could be used to facilitate the harvest and production of gula apong from nipah. Gula apong, he said, has demand overseas and could be further developed into niche products from Sarawak.

“We can see that the future of Sarawak is bright with the use of technology. At the end of the day, by 2030, we want to have a high-income economy,” he said.

He said TDV was an important aspect in the development of Sarawak’s digital economy, adding that the facility not only encompassed the development of commodities or products but also intellectual property (IP).

A brainchild of Abang Johari, TDV was established to facilitate technology transfer and commercialisation as well as promote digital innovation and entrepreneurship in the state – which has been identified as one of the strategic enablers under the Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy 2018-2025.

Abang Johari (centre) and Dr Jerip (front, left) during the site visit to Tegas Digital Village. Photo: Ukas

The project’s construction commenced in January 2019 and was initially scheduled for completion in July last year.

However, when the movement control order (MCO) was first enforced in March last year, Tegas had to issue a stop-work order to their contractor. As a result, the project was delayed. Tegas resumed construction works in June last year with a new catch-up plan and worked closely with their consultants and contractor to expedite the project.

“The establishment of TDV is an affirmation of the Sarawak government’s commitment to accelerating the growth of local startups and social enterprises in the state, in line with the Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy 2018-2022,” said Tegas chairman, Datuk Len Talif Salleh, who is also Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment.

“Through the Digital Village, Tegas and its ecosystem partners will further strengthen their efforts in enhancing the innovation entrepreneurship ecosystem and subsequently drive the digital economy,” he added.

Initiatives at TDV, among others, will include growth acceleration and scale-up programmes, research and development (R&D) commercialisation, market access and funding facilitation, corporate innovation, ecosystem enhancement, and IP support.

TDV will also play a role in promoting Sarawak as a destination for high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship to boost domestic and foreign investments and to empower Sarawakians to scale globally.

Also present during the site visit were members of Tegas’ Board of Trustees including Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, Abdullah Saidol, Datuk Snowdan Lawan, Dr Hazland Abang Hipni, Abdul Yakub Arbi, and Gerald Rentap Jabu; Tegas chief operating officer Awangku Merali Pengiran Mohamed and TDV general manager Manzoor Hayat Khan.

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