PUTRAJAYA, April 23 – A public-private partnership initiative, PlaTCOM Ventures Sdn Bhd, was launched today to unleash innovation capabilities among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) under one platform. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who launched the programme, said the initiative would take Malaysia to a significant step forward as the programme strived for ever greater innovation for the nation. He said the PlaTCOM programme was designed to link all existing innovations under one platform and to ensure that it was seamless for SMEs to move from one stage to another in the entire innovation process and link with early stage financing. “The model addresses the innovation 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 said. PlaTCOM Ventures is the national technology commercialisation platform of Malaysia. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Malaysian Innovation Agency (AIM) formed in collaboration with the SME Corporation Malaysia under one of its six High Impact Programmes in the SME Master Plan 2012-2020. Najib said the programme would provide the necessary support from “concept to commercialisation”. “This will be done through the provision of access to technical assistance, market information, incubation facilities, testing facilities and other relevant services — all in a single platform,” he said. Najib said PlaTCOM Ventures was 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.

“Currently, while there are many initiatives to promote innovation, these initiatives are fragmented and not inter-linked and there exists a gap between the different phases of innovation. “Some of these include gaps in securing funds, accessing facilities, regulatory, certification, as well as in obtaining timely technical assistance and advisory. The SMEs face difficulty in accessing the national innovation ecosystem,” he said. Najib said the PlaTCOM programme would have access to Steinbeis Malaysia, back by German institution, Steinbeis, which specialises in helping businesses by undertaking innovations, to deliver innovative products and solutions for SMEs. He said the Steinbeis Malaysia model aimed to provide an additional industry-focused platform to stimulate industry and academia collaborations from a “market-driven” perspective and the model does not replace any existing models and is an additional option for industries and academia.

“PlaTCOM takes a new approach — a public-private partnership — meaning the platform will be owned by the government but run by a management team from the private sector. “The model takes a market-driven approach and will focus on replacing public sector funding with private sector funding in the innovation space,” said Najib, who is also the finance minister. Later, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed witnessed the signing of a collaboration agreement between SME Corp, which was represented by its Chief Executive Officer Datuk Hafsah Hashim, and AIM by its Chief Executive Officer, Mark Rozario. Earlier, PlaTCOM Ventures Executive Director Viraj Perera said the company would actively look into the industry, particularly in the intellectual property segment, to be developed. “We will choose 10 to 15 companies by next month and take them to a programme, which can facilitate them end-to-end untill we can sell these products in the market,” he added. Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala and Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar.

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