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      7 August 2019  

SDC SME Incubation Programme graduation and entrepreneur showcase

Kota Kinabalu (Wednesday) - The Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) in collaboration with TERAJU and SME Corp will organise a graduation ceremony for entrepreneurs that have completed the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) SME Incubation programme. The event will be held on August 15, 2019 at the Sabah Agro-Industrial Precinct (SAIP), Kimanis and will be officiated by Chief Minister cum SEDIA Chairman Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd. Shafie Apdal. In conjunction with the ceremony, an Entrepreneurs day bazaar will also be held at the venue on August 15-17, 2019.



Having realised the potential of SME contributions to the state economy, SEDIA had developed initiatives and has been actively involved in SME development in Sabah since during the Second Phase of SDC (2011-2015) and into the current Third and final Phase of SDC (2016-2025), while also in line with one of the three principles of SDC, which is capturing economic value activities. A crucial component of SDC SME programmes has been the SDC SME Incubator programme, conducted over a two-year period. A total of 365 local entrepreneurs have been registered as participants thus far, of which 153 had been approved as incubatees and received supporting grants. 57 of these grant recipients have successfully realised their business ventures and introduced their products and services to the market, and 55 participants have met the criteria to graduate from the incubation programme.

The objectives for the graduation ceremony and bazaar are:

  • To bring recognition to the programme participants' achievements;
  • To celebrate the participants having successfully completed the programme;
  • To inspire other entrepreneurs to achieve their goals; and
  • To encourage recognition and collaboration from agencies and investors.

On showcase during the event will be the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) programmes and initiatives for developing small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including the facilities and services available at SAIP. The bazaar will also provide for business opportunities and serve as a trading platform for investors, SMEs and start-ups, allowing them to showcase their products and services.

Members of the public will be drawn in by key event highlights such as:

  • Wholesale agro-based products;
  • Local SME products, 'car boot sale', and food trucks;
  • Talks by various government agencies on various agro-SME topics;
  • Registration for new SAIP Incubator participants;
  • SDC HotDesk talks on business development;
  • Agro-SAIP course on entrepreneurship potential in the agriculture industry;
  • Tours of SAIP facilities; and
  • Agro-based fun activities and competitions.

The venue for the graduation ceremony and bazaar is the 185-acres SAIP, which is envisaged as a centre of excellence in agro-biotechnology that optimises 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 graduation ceremony and exhibition will be held at Phase three of SAIP, which houses a multipurpose hall, an auditorium and office/exhibition areas. Phase four of SAIP development is expected to be completed later in 2019, and provides 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.

A variety of entrepreneurial activities take place in SAIP, which include the Agro-SAIP (downstream-agro training), HotDesk (basic entrepreneurship training), and SDC Bizlink (business advisory services). These activities have 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. Hence, besides being known as a centre for biotechnology, SAIP is also known as a centre for entrepreneurship by entrepreneurs and local communities.

One of the event programmes is Agro-SAIP training, which has thus far benefitted 2,264 participants from throughout Sabah over the span of 38 courses since its inception in 2012. The training programme, which assists local SMEs to enhance their skills, expertise and capabilities, was established with the aim to empower technopreneurs in the agro-based industry, by giving the necessary exposure and transfer of knowledge, especially on the processing of agro-food and specialty natural products. Through Agro-SAIP, participants are given access to experienced speakers and industry representatives in various sectors; speakers well-versed in pharma-herbs, controlled environment farming, post-harvest handling technology, agro-organic and agro-food industries, business and marketing through e-commence, and bio-science and biotechnology had been invited to come and share their experience and expertise with participants.

Another SME initiative during the event is the HotDesk programme, also regarded as the pre-incubation programme and is a preliminary engagement stage that provides entrepreneur training for potential business incubatees. At this stage, these 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.

The SDC initiatives by SEDIA support, and are aligned with, the State and Federal governments' efforts and initiatives to develop local and bumiputera SMEs, so as to increase the number of locally developed businesses, products and services. The State government, under Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd. Shafie Apdal, has emphasised on the need to develop local entrepreneurs to contribute to the state economy. In Budget 2019, the Sabah Government allocated RM24.45 million for special fund and loan for entrepreneurial development including for youths, to help encourage the activities of SMEs in Sabah, thus highlighting their importance and contribution to the state economy. Additionally, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry announced that a Young Agropreneur Grant programme is offered. Recent investments in Sabah had been largely contributed by domestic investment, reflecting a positive development to the government's efforts in intensifying value-added activities among local entrepreneurs and investors.

- Media SEDIA

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