PlaTCOM to 'unleash' innovation among SMEs

  • PM launches PlaTCOM, unit under AIM in collaboration with SME Corp
  • Public-private partnership aims to plug gaps in 'innovation ecosystem'
PlaTCOM to 'unleash' innovation among SMEs

MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Najib Razak (pic) believes that the newly launched PlaTCOM Ventures Sdn Bhd could be the missing piece to unlock the full potential of the country’s "innovation ecosystem," especially amongst the small and medium enterprise (SME) community.

“Currently, while there are many initiatives to promote innovation, these initiatives are fragmented and not inter-linked; there exist gaps between the different phases of innovation,” Najib said just before launching PlaTCOM in Putrajaya on April 23.

“These include gaps in securing funds, accessing facilities, regulatory certification, as well as in obtaining timely technical assistance and advisory. Given this, SMEs face difficulty in accessing the national innovation ecosystem,” he added.

PlaTCOM is a wholly-owned unit of Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM), formed in collaboration with SME Corp Malaysia.

AIM, a statutory body established by the Malaysian Government, was created to jump-start wealth creation through knowledge, technology and innovation, while SME Corp is a central coordinating agency that formulates overall policies and strategies for SMEs.

PlaTCOM is also a public-private partnership initiative. The platform will be owned by the Government while it will be managed by a team from the private sector.

According to Najib, PlaTCOM also has a unique model designed by AIM, SME Corp and the World Bank, and incorporates best practices from successful models such as ISIS Innovation of University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

“The model addresses gaps through a holistic and market-driven approach in supporting innovation and industrial competitiveness. It is designed to remove market and financing barriers to innovation,” he claimed.

PlaTCOM, which is designed to link all existing innovation initiatives under one platform and to ensure that it is seamless for SMEs to move from one stage to another in the entire innovation process, aims to help improve the national innovation ecosystem in different ways.

First is via its Innovation Business Opportunities (IBO) initiatives. SMEs now can go to PlaTCOM when they need a particular Intellectual Property (IP) to solve their business needs, and PlaTCOM will source the IP for them from various platforms, including local universities.

Second, it will looking at all IP in academia and shortlist the “stronger IPs”.

“We will then approach companies which may find the IPs useful for their business,” AIM chief executive officer Mark Rozario said after the launch.

Third, it will also try to help SMEs commercialise their IPs. These include helping them get the necessary funding, identify their target markets, protect their its IP, and more.

According to Rozario, in the initial stages, these services will be provided to SMEs for free. “Currently, all these are funded by the Government. Over time, as we start to show the value of the services, there could be fees involved," he said.

“For now, it is free. We need to prove to the private sector that this initiative will help create wealth for their companies,” he added.

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