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Extracted from Malaysia's national newspaper New Straits Times,
08 September 2003


CYBERJAYA - Development of soft or human resource skills will be the focus of the second phase of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), which is scheduled to begin year-end. Having met expectations in the first phase of its implementation, which revolved around infrastructure, systems and applications development, the challenge in the new phase is to nurture a more skilled workforce and bring them up to a higher level of expertise within the MSC. This in turn will raise the income capacity of the people, said Datuk Dr Mohamed Arif Nun, chief executive officer (CEO) of Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC), the caretaker of the MSC project. According to him, MDC is currently gathering input from International Advisory Panel members and relevant parties in the country on the implementation of the second phase.

He said as part of the plan to increase human resource capacity, MDC has embarked on efforts to encourage more technopreneur development in the MSC. For a start, it has for some months now run a programme called Assessment Collaboration to get technopreneurs to the stage where they are credible enough to seek funding. Technopreneurs at the early stage need help in business planning and getting their prototype together, but they cannot bring this direct to banks to seek funding. Our programme helps them to put things together so that investors can see value in their companies, Mohamed Arif told Computimes in Cyberjaya last week.

Once they get funding, we kick in a mentoring programme that comprises advice and lessons in fund raising and on management expertise. This is necessary as often in a start-up, the founder is usually a technical person, but as a business the company still needs a CEO. To source for technopreneurs from around the country, MDC has created the National Unipreneur Development Programme in association with the majority of local universities. Part of MSC’s Technopreneur Development Flagship, the programme is aimed at finding talent in universities and identifying technology-based projects and potential enterprises based on real industry demands.

This way the market issue will be mitigated. Rather than conduct R&D (research and development) resulting in products and solutions that are difficult to market, we can connect the loop linking universities and the industry by doing a bit of market and demand assessment first and translating this into projects based on market demand, Mohamed Arif said. Other than technopreneur development, MDC is also looking for new innovative niches or programmes that can provide inspiration for the second phase of the MSC, which will span the next six years until 2010. For this purpose, MDC has already initiated its Science and Technology Advanced Research Programme.

Through this programme, we’re looking not only internally, but also at external sources to acquire and develop intellectual property, R&D products, etc, and add value. We intend to market these collaboratively with foreign-owned MSC companies. So we’re going outward also, Mohamed Arif said. “We have also started what we call exporting and marketing our MSC experience – not focusing on products but strategies such as coming up with a national strategic plan for IT (information technology) or economic development and developing premier applications. He added that it would be tougher in the second phase as the incremental gain needs more effort.

But we think that it can be done if we start to really focus on developing skills capacity and innovative applications driven by technology, not technology pushing applications, he said.

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