Centre for technopreneurs
The Borneo Post - Friday, 17 January, 2003
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KUCHING: A centre for technopreneurs is to be set up here to encourage the utilisation of information and communications technology (ICT) and other modern tools by local entrepreneurs.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud yesterday said the centre would be developed by the State government on a modest scale.

In pointing out that it was the State government's intention to work closely with the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) and complement its objectives, he said it would take a cautious and careful approach in the centre's development.

Taib explained that the focus of the centre would be the ICT service to ICT users in the city and surrounding areas such as the Sama Jaya Free Trade Area, the institutions of higher learning and the government itself.

"It will also feature incubator facilities to develop local ICT producers with the hope that the State will one day produce some ICT talents of national and regional standing," he said.

Taib said this in his keynote address read by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr George Chan at the opening of the MSC Nationwide Conference here, which was themed "ICT-Catalyst for development."

He also hoped that the centre would also focus on the development of biotechnology to help the State realise and exploit the potential of its bio-diversity and rich biological resources. At a press conference later, Chan, who is also the Finance and Public Utilities Minister, said the government hoped to begin developing the centre by the end of this year or sometime within the Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001-2005).

Asserting that he was not at a liberty to discuss the project, he would only reveal that the site of the centre had been identified and it would be at a very "strategic location."

"Of course you cannot limit technopreneurs into one location, they can work anywhere but we aim to provide a conducive environment for them to work in," said Chan.

He added that the centre was not meant to compete with the MSC but to complement the latter and to work together with it so that Sarawak could get the best out of the national project. Also at the press conference, State Secretary Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Husain said an aim of the centre was to further develop entrepreneurs who could use technology and computers.

"If we can develop small businessmen to be technopreneurs, then they can provide services to high tech industries and maybe they can get to do some of the downstream business that can come out of the high-tech industry," he said.