Transforming the innovation eco-system in Sarawak



ENTREPRENEURS — they regularly make headlines from Jack Ma to Richard Branson.

Books charting their journey hit the bestseller list, fuelled by curiosity and people looking to be inspired by leaders. Everybody can dream of making it big but what makes a big idea a successful business?

TV-shows like ‘Dragon’s Den’ or ‘Shark Tank’ will tell you having a great idea is not enough — you need a sound business plan, money and a network.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) studies entrepreneurship globally to provide insights into the entrepreneurial phenomenon. GEM advises key organisations like the UN, World Economic Forum and the World Bank. It also includes research from Malaysia and a recent report expressed concern about the lack of business start-ups here.

It concluded that Malaysian entrepreneurs face a challenging environment as there are restrictions on market openness, limiting entrepreneurial activity. It also went on to highlight the issues around entrepreneurship education and research and development which is where universities could play a big role.

The state government is taking this to heart with exciting developments in its innovation ecosystem, seeking to break these barriers and issues, and support the new generation of entrepreneurs to drive big ideas, aimed at supporting economic development and improving social outcomes.

At the macro level, this includes support for the Borneo744 project.

Abandoned warehouses and industrial buildings are given a new lease of life, becoming more than trendy residential addresses. Initiatives to make them a cultural and community centre has seen success like the Westergasfabriek complex in Amsterdam, built in 1885 as a gas depot to provide street lighting for the city. Another recent success there has been De Hallen, a tram depot from 1902.

In Malaysia, the Hin Bus Depot Art Centre in Penang has been successful in attracting a creative and entrepreneurial audience. Kuching’s Borneo 744 also has the same ambitions — to transform an abandoned public works mechanical warehouse into a hub for the creative economy of Kuching.

While these initiatives have the support of the local governments, the businesses which operate out of them have to compete in a free-market economy. Kuching’s Borneo744 is being developed in the same vein under the Government’s National Blue Ocean Strategy initiative to provide the requisite infrastructure towards supporting entrepreneurship and creative development in the state.

What sets it apart is that businesses will also have the knowledge support they need to become an entrepreneurial success. The Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), based in Kuala Lumpur, will open its second branch here, offering programmes and co-working spaces.

Read the entire article on The Borneo Post


Past Highlights
16th February 2017
The Sarawak State Secretary, YB Tan Sri Datuk Amar Haji Mohamad Morshidi bin Abdul Ghani, and other trustees on a Borneo744 site tour after the completion of refusrbishment works - 16 Feb 2017
Past Highlights
16th January 2017
Majlis Bandaraya Kuching Selatan (MBKS) mayor and councillors, members of Persatuan Arkitek Malaysia (Sarawak Chapter), other community leaders - 16 Jan 2017
Past Highlights
21st February 2017
The old JKR labels will be replaced with new ones, what would it be?