12 September 2017, Kuala Lumpur – The Bio-Agropreneur Programme and Bioeconomy Innovation Awards (BIA) during the second day of BioMalaysia & Asia Pacific Bioeconomy 2017 (BioMalaysia 2017) today highlighted the contributions of rural and scientific communities to the growth of bio-based innovations in Malaysia. The Bio-Agropreneur Programme provides awareness on the existing programs and initiatives such as the Bioeconomy Community Development Programme (BCDP) by Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation (Bioeconomy Corporation) and Agropreneur Muda by the Ministry of Agriculture & Agrobased Industry (MOA) which can benefit bio-based agropreneurs and rural communities. The program provides participants with the solutions and knowledge needed to succeed as entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector through bio-based applications, thereby enhancing their income and living standards to a higher level. The program also links the private and public sectors in the agriculture industry to enhance the whole supply chain.
In his speech, Chairman of Bioeconomy Corporation, Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid said that participants of the Bio-Agropreneur Programme can benefit from the assistance and incentives provided by Bioeconomy Corporation and MOA, including technical advisory, intensive training, in-kind contributions, Special Financing Packages under Agropreneur Muda and the Biotechnology Commercialisation Fund (BCF) under Bioeconomy Corporation. “Besides creating advanced and competitive farming entrepreneurs, Agropreneur Muda and BCDP can increase the involvement of youths or rural communities in the agricultural sector, thereby reducing migration to the city. These programs can also enhance social mobility, ensure consistent food supply and raw materials for the country and maximize economic opportunities to the locals,” he added.
Chief Executive of Bioeconomy Corporation, Dr. Mohd Shuhaizam Mohd Zain said, “Bio-based technologies such as the use of tissue culture seeds, biological pest control techniques, hybrid seed technology and selective breeding are examples of technologies that can be used by the farming communities to advance the agricultural sector. Their involvement in the agricultural sector as entrepreneurs by using bio-based technology will help stimulate national economic development, create new job opportunities and provide new markets for local bio-based products.”
Meanwhile, the Bioeconomy Innovation Awards (BIA) acknowledged the innovative bio-based solutions by outstanding players from universities, research institutions and private companies. Awarded since 2008, the BIA also matches participants with prospective business partners and investors. Tan Sri Zakri said the award is timely, as the country is dependent on science-driven innovation and technology to drive Malaysia forward and to stay resilient amidst strong economic headwinds. “In order for innovation to thrive and deliver value in Malaysia, we must refine and enhance our strategies. Our scientific communities should focus on industry- and demand-driven innovations, ones that provide effective solutions to real problems, taking into account economic, societal and environmental challenges,” he added.
Other programs at BioMalaysia 2017 include The Build your own Product (BYOP), which provides a unique chance for participants to work directly with bio-based manufacturers including BioNexus Status companies. Participants can leverage on this program to build their own brands and products by receiving expert advice and consultation. BYOP also serves as a one-stop center for those who want to venture into health supplement and the cosmetic business, while providing a platform for companies to do business and connect with potential buyers and distributors. Furthermore, Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation (MOSTI) also presented Catch the Fund!, which presented the latest information on MOSTI R&D Fund and other funds by relevant agencies, emphasizing on the SMART Challenge Fund, Facilitation Fund and InnoFund. The programme also provided consultation sessions for interested companies with Bahagian Dana’s evaluation team. The objectives of the programme are to promote funds available under MOSTI, to clarify requirements, eligibility and application process for the funds and to build pipeline of eligible applicants for MOSTI’s funds.