We live in a changing world and one where technology is ubiquitous throughout all facets of human lives. As nations around the globe battle the pandemic, it becomes critically pronounced that technology is the clear path forward to ensure health, economic, education and livelihood aspects of society are uninterrupted, protected and shall continue to thrive. In fact, it is during the pandemic, that huge leaps in these areas were noted, driven by tech businesses and startups. To illustrate, Grab, Zoom and Etsy recorded growth in the last two years that can only be described as standout with more new features being introduced to a captive audience. Thus, this surge in digital consumption creates a clear catalyst in driving the economic wheels, as seen in many countries including Malaysia.
Clearly, our future progress as a nation depends on digital economy and particularly, on organisations continuing to unlock its potential. Companies must come forward and take advantage of government initiatives such as MyDIGITAL and JENDELA to support efforts in fast-tracking the digitalisation of their business. Cyberjaya in particular, has been the country’s centre of innovation, a role reinforced by a government mandate received in 2019 to further develop this tech city into a Global Tech Hub. In the last several years, Cyberjaya has notably nurtured startups towards commercialisation with Govicle (previously known as Jom Parking), Moovby, ERTH and MedKAD among its alumni.
However, the path towards commercial success can be perilous for many. It is acknowledged that among the more dominant factors for an initial growth of any startup, is to identify critical elements required to design and develop innovative products and solutions in today’s changing environment. Refinement of innovation pipeline is also required to ensure that it enables and supports optimum digitisation of solutions. In doing so, these fledgling businesses are faced with several hurdles, including market access, fiscal support and having the right talent with digital skillsets to meet their digitalisation goals.
Beyond this, rising consumer demand for tech products and solutions provide businesses a road map, with the pandemic flagging areas in which digital support are critically needed to address gaps. Pandai, an edu-tech startup nurtured in Cyberjaya is an excellent example of how a digital solution is helping bridge a gap where normal schooling is currently, interrupted. In fact, even before the pandemic, Malaysians were already recognised as among the most digitally connected people in the world, according to World Bank’s 2018 Digital Adoption Index. This is yet another reason for companies to start embracing digitalisation, on top of staying ahead of the game and ensuring business resiliency.
Cyberjaya as a Driving Force for Business Growth
So how does Cyberjaya support businesses in their commercialisation and digitisation efforts?
Cyberjaya lives up to its status as a living lab with world-class infrastructure and facilities as well as access to an innovative ecosystem and talent pool – critical elements that support the development and growth of businesses. Companies can use the city as a sandbox to conduct proof-of-concept testing of their products and solutions before embarking on the commercialisation phase.
The city is also host to the Cyberview Living Lab Accelerator (CLLA) programme that was introduced in 2013 as a launchpad for start-ups and innovators to grow their companies. The programme has since helped 80 start-ups to raise over RM87 million in total investments, generated more than RM218 million in total revenue, and created more than 550 jobs.
Companies can network and connect with relevant industry experts as well as access both domestic and international markets through private and public initiatives with the support of Cyberview, the tech hub developer for Cyberjaya. As part of strengthening Cyberjaya’s tech ecosystem, Cyberview has also collaborated with key stakeholders who are also enablers within areas of investment, finance and talent development to support and incentivise businesses that are on their digitalisation journey.
- Business & Investment Incentives
The 2020 Asia Pacific SMB Digital Maturity study revealed that digitalisation of local Small Medium Enterprises (SME) could add between RM79 billion to RM99 billion to the country’s GDP by 2024 and contribute to economic recovery post Covid-19 pandemic.
However, amidst uncertainties of current business environment, SMEs need support in their value creation efforts through the adoption of digital technologies. To address this, Cyberview signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) to provide support for businesses, including SMEs testing new digital business models.
Through this partnership, eleven fiscal incentives are made available for businesses including tax savings that can be used for reinvestment. These incentives have the potential to drive growth of the receiving company that indirectly translates to more job creation and opportunities as well as higher contribution to the economy. Fiscal incentives will also encourage more R&D&C activities among businesses that will lead to the creation of new innovative solutions, products and offerings focused on technology clusters with high potential such as smart mobility, smart healthcare and digital creative.
Among the incentives available for companies in Cyberjaya is the Domestic Investment Strategic Fund (DISF) that will assist local companies that are currently facing challenges in their operations due to global supply chain disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both Cyberview and MIDA also aim to attract high-value sustainable investments with the introduction of the Principal Hub and Global Distribution Centers as well as innovative and technology-based services. Besides powering up our city’s innovative ecosystem, it will also encourage capital transfers into Cyberjaya and contribute to job creations particularly in tech-related fields.
- Talent Development Incentives
Digitalisation needs to be matched with the right talent pool for the best outcome. To this end, Cyberview signed an MoU with TalentCorp Malaysia to further accelerate talent development and futureproof the nation’s workforce.
This MoU aims to cultivate a strong talent ecosystem in Cyberjaya and ultimately prepare Malaysia’s workforce for a digital future. The strategic collaboration between both parties will include talent development and talent enhancement initiatives to ensure that Malaysians are well-equipped to succeed in today’s fast-changing, technological world.
The Structured Internship Programme (SIP) is among a string of initiatives to be implemented made possible by Cyberview’s collaboration with TalentCorp, which is available for companies located in Cyberjaya. Under the SIP, eligible companies will benefit from a double tax deduction incentive. Additionally, these companies are also given access to a database of available talent, enabling them to directly source for internship candidates, through a quicker and more efficient process.
- Credible Financiers Within Reach
A survey carried out by the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) showed a 64 percent decline in sales by start-ups and SMEs during the Covid-19 pandemic. Based on the survey, 21 percent of businesses said between RM251,000 to RM500,000 was needed to sustain their business until the end of 2020.
As a company majority-owned by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) Malaysia, Cyberview is well-positioned to foster business relationships with a strong network of financiers, predominantly that provide financial support to startups and SMEs. Cyberview has proven to be successful in bridging connections between credible financiers and businesses that need financial support.
We work closely with leading financial providers in the technology arena which include Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (Cradle) and Malaysia Debt Ventures Berhad (MDV) that support businesses to accelerate commercialisation of their offerings and solutions. MDV’s venture financing offered to start-ups for instance, is not only compatible to standards of the matured market but provides a unique, flexible, and balanced structure for them without major dilution of their equity, lending to higher valuation.
Access to funding is imperative for start-ups to commercialise their innovation. Financial support as offered by Cradle and MDV can support start-ups to pivot quickly and stay differentiated in today’s competitive, fast-moving market. On top of funding, start-ups and SMEs can fast track their commercialisation efforts by leveraging Cyberjaya’s collaborative ecosystem and living lab opportunities.
The Future of Cyberjaya
In 2020, Cyberview unveiled a new masterplan for Cyberjaya to accelerate the city’s gross domestic product (GDP) and Gross National Income (GNI) contribution to the country to more than RM250 billion by 2045, as well as increase its population to 350,000 by 2039.
As part of the masterplan, the city has been geographically divided into four zones, each with its own purpose:
- West Cyberjaya: “Nurturing talent for Tech Hub” – the centre for encouraging industry-academia collaboration to produce skilled talent with catalytic community components.
- North Cyberjaya: “Global Business District” – the centre for manifestation of smart city solutions.
- South Cyberjaya: “The Innovation District” – the centre for innovation, especially on Smart Mobility, Smart Healthcare and Digital Creative.
- Downtown Cyberjaya: “Thriving Commerce District” – the centre of adoption of technology for commercial activities and integration into community lifestyle.
Businesses can develop their innovative solutions at the Innovation District in South Cyberjaya before introducing and commercialising them at the Commerce District in Downtown Cyberjaya. South Cyberjaya serves as the fundamental district in the new masterplan as it anchors the development of the three tech clusters: Smart Mobility, Smart Healthcare and Digital Creative. These areas have been identified as the future pillars of growth for Cyberjaya and have the potential to contribute to Malaysia’s digital economy, whilst being supported by the northern and western districts. The Cyberjaya City Centre (CCC) development is designed to be the focal point of the north zone and is set to become a global urban-tech landmark for Cyberjaya. The city will be connected to Klang Valley’s public transportation network with the completion of a mass rapid transit (MRT) station in the CCC soon. The west will not only concentrate on talent but is envisioned to mature into a community-centric setting, living up to Cyberjaya’s notion of not only being a tech hub, but also a township that spells livability for its people. All four districts come together with the singular aim of driving the development of Cyberjaya to be a vibrant Global Tech Hub. They support the creation of an ecosystem that encourages synergy between companies and stakeholders. The access to opportunities, tools, and knowledge that Cyberview strives to offer businesses with the support of our stakeholders is part of our aspiration to drive the development of Cyberjaya as a Global Tech Hub and the centre of innovation for Malaysia.