The state government of Penang, a northern state in Malaysia, has launched its fourth seed fund for technology start-ups on Tuesday.

Being the state’s ongoing initiative to empower the tech start-up ecosystem, the so-called Penang i4.0 Seed Fund Stream #4 is officially open for application, following the virtual launching ceremony officiated by Chow Kon Yeow, Chief Minister of Penang.

Penang i4.0 Seed Fund initiative started in 2018 and has launched three funding streams previously, benefitted a total of 37 start-ups, according to a statement. In Stream #4, the state has allocated MYR1 million ($238,870) to support the early-stage start-ups, bringing the total fund allocated to date amounted to MYR5 million ($1.19 million).

With the accelerated innovation and the growing importance of start-ups, Malaysia aims to increase the number of start-ups to 5,000 by 2025 and attract two tech unicorns, as illustrated in Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint.

In this regard, Penang has constantly placed itself at the forefront on innovation and is well-positioned as an entrepreneurial state, underpinned by its vibrant ecosystem.

The funding scope of i4.0 Seed Fund covers product enhancement, marketing, and branding activities and technical, product or design hires and intellectual property-related costs, with priorities given to Internet of Things (IoT), Advanced Manufacturing, Consumer Digital, EdTech, HealthTech, Clean Tech companies, and other tech-based activities.

The eligibility criteria of this program include:-

  • Early-stage tech start-ups that have a working minimum viable product with positive early traction.
  • Company incorporated in Malaysia having at least 51 percent ownership by Malaysian.
  • Operating for less than five years.
  • Accumulated revenue of not exceeding MYR1 million.

    Start-ups that fulfilled the above criteria can apply for funding up to MYR100,000. Non-financial support such as mentorship, capacity building programs and industry linkage opportunities are among the perks provided to the fund recipients.

    Chow expressed his confidence in the tech ecosystem in Penang.

    “Holding on to the aspiration to become a global innovation hub, we are making great strides in developing an enabling environment for the start-ups and is definitely an up-and-comer that is worth keeping an eye on,” he said.

    The application period for Penang i4.0 Seed Fund Steam #4 is starting Tuesday (Feb 22) till March 22, 2022.

    InvestPenang is the state agency appointed for the fund management and administration. InvestPenang is the Penang State Government’s principal agency for promotion of investment.

    Penang, a northern state in Malaysia around 350km away from Kuala Lumpur, is one of the world’s biggest electronics and electrical hubs. It is home to factories owned by US chipmaker Intel Corp and US semiconductor firm Broadcom Inc alongside other firms that supply tech majors including Apple Inc, the state accounts for about 8 percent of global back-end semiconductor output, according to Reuters.