Malaysia aims to create 900 startups by 2026 via its artificial intelligence (AI) sandbox program.

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) of Malaysia said in a statement on Thursday that it has launched the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Sandbox Pilot Program, demonstrating its dedication to enhancing AI through the cultivation of AI talent in collaboration with other government bodies and industry stakeholders.

The initiative is a strategic collaboration between the National Technology Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) and NVIDIA, which is set to propel Malaysia into a knowledge-based economy, with AI driving innovation, productivity and competitiveness.

“The program envisions facilitating the establishment up to 900 AI startups by 2026, nurturing the development of over 13,000 new AI talents and potentially stimulating up
to 10 percent economic growth through the creation of new industries and job opportunities we are setting a new benchmark for Malaysia’s presence on the global stage,” said Chang Lih Kang, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.

He further stated that this is a testament to Malaysia’s commitment to driving innovation and competitiveness in the international arena, perfectly aligned with its national goal of incubating 100 AI companies to generate MYR 1 billion (209 million U.S. dollars) in revenue by 2030.

With Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI) as the lead secretariat, the inaugural phase of the sandbox program will kick off on a virtual
platform and this phase will be open to any AI startups who are eager to participate and contribute to the program’s objectives.

According to the statement, this collaboration not only provides new economic opportunities but also fosters entrepreneurship, attracts foreign investment and creates high-value job opportunities in emerging AI-driven industries in Malaysia.

With the support of NVIDIA, MOSTI said this will further contribute to addressing the training and capacity building on AI, ensuring that Malaysia’s workforce remains competitive and adaptable in the rapidly evolving landscape of AI-driven industries.

It is noted that the AI Sandbox Pilot Program is designed to boost the adoption of AI technology across Malaysian organizations, effectively narrowing the gap between existing practices and global industry norms.

The initiative encourages the execution of trial projects and proofs of concept within these organizations, showcasing the tangible benefits and viability of AI technology while highlighting its potential for significant return on investment and enduring advantages.

Moreover, the program is set to enhance collaboration and knowledge sharing among stakeholders.

This effort aims to facilitate the exchange of vital best practices and resources essential for the development, deployment and adoption of AI, further enriching Malaysia’s AI ecosystem.

Meanwhile, commenting on the collaboration with NVIDIA, NVIDIA functions as a technology partner under NTIS Innovation Acceleration Network Partner (IAN), with support from NVIDIA’s AI-related capability-building program.

Applicants gain seamless access to specialized labs without the logistical burdens of setting up individual environments or sourcing their data.

This collaborative initiative then optimizes the testing process for AI solutions within a professional and conducive environment.

MRANTI has also launched an ambitious collaboration to equip Malaysia’s top talents from universities, startups and research institutes with key AI skills.

“Our collaboration encompasses training for startups, innovation ecosystems, professors and educators via the Deep Learning Ambassador Programs and providing Deep Learning Institute courses to NVIDIA Inception program members,

“This holistic approach guarantees that a broad spectrum of stakeholders is adeptly prepared to play a pivotal role in cultivating Malaysia’s AI-ready workforce,” said Rais Hussin Hj. Mohamed Ariff, Chief Executive Officer of MRANTI.

According to the statement, this collaboration between MRANTI as lead secretariat for NTIS and NVIDIA supported by MOSTI and MOHE underscores a shared commitment to advancing Malaysia’s AI capabilities.

By harnessing the collective strengths of government, industry and academic partners, the AI Sandbox Pilot Program initiative is set to position Malaysia as a formidable force in the global AI revolution, highlighting the nation’s role as an active proponent of AI-based solutions.

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