Malaysia-listed solar energy firm Solarvest Holdings Bhd has on Monday launched Solarvest Innovation Lab 2021 (SIL 2021), a start-up program to spur innovation and entrepreneurship developments in Malaysia with particular emphasis on renewable energy (RE), green technology (green-tech), and financial technology (FinTech).

“Through SIL 2021, we are excited to unearth like-minded start-ups with transformational ideas that could potentially spark exponential growth to the RE and FinTech industries,” Solarvest Group Chief Executive Officer Davis Chong Chun Shiong said.

“We believe startups can play an important role in the advancement of not just the RE and FinTech industries, but the economy as a whole. They are usually the ones that come up with game-changing ideas, however, the lack of financial resources and business knowledge typically are barriers to them from making the next leap,” he said.

“SIL 2021 is able to create an ecosystem where both Solarvest and the start-ups could form a symbiotic relationship. Given our expansive track record, having built well over 400 megawatts peak worth of solar projects and with more in the pipeline, startups with value-adding solutions could potentially leverage our scale. On the other hand, by investing in these pioneering green technologies, this could lead to us solidifying our market-leading position further,” he added.

The start-up program is split into two rounds of funding namely, seed funding and accelerator funding. The seed funding round is aimed at start-ups with business ideas that are yet to be commercialized. Successful new ventures will receive a seed fund amounting to 10,000 MYR ($2,398) to prove a concept within six months.

To bring them up to speed, SIL 2021 will also be providing, amongst others, special business workshops, business coaching, and physical workplaces.

Once an idea has been proven viable, the candidate is eligible to participate in a subsequent pitch to potentially receive an accelerator fund of 100,000 MYR ($23,982) in exchange for a certain percentage of ownership in the company. Businesses that already have a proof of concept can bypass the seed funding round to apply for the accelerator fund directly.

Benefits-in-kind similar to the preceding round will be offered with the objective of idea implementation and bringing the product or service to market within a timeframe of 12 months. On top of that, Solarvest will assist in further fundraising and other grant applications that are relevant and help the company get connected by leveraging its extensive business network.

Solarvest is partnering with the likes of Malaysian Technology Development Corporation, government-linked telco Telekom Malaysia Bhd, government agency Malaysia Global Innovation and Creativity Center (MaGIC), OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Bhd, INTI International University and Colleges, Junior Chamber International Malaysia, JCI Creative Young Entrepreneurs Award, and others to accelerate the nation’s green agenda and digital revolution through the search for bright and innovative ideas from budding startups.

Solarvest will be joining Malaysian corporations such as oil and gas giant Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), and conglomerate Sunway Group, which have started to invest and nurture local startups through their corporate venture arms and accelerator programs.

Solarvest noted that Malaysia’s clean energy adoption has seen a tremendous rise over the years, locking in a cumulative average growth rate of 50 percent between 2015 and 2019.

Moving forward, the RE sector is projected to continue its upward trajectory with the Government’s goal of a carbon-neutral Malaysia by 2050. Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Fintech industry is also on the verge of a big breakthrough with the heavily anticipated approval of digital banking licenses in 2022.

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