GEORGE TOWN, Jan 25 — The Penang state government has set up a US$1 million (RM3.9 million) Industry 4.0 (I4) seed fund specifically for tech start-ups in the state.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today the incentive fund is to further accelerate the state’s tech start-up ecosystem.

“This fund is to realise our potential to build, attract and retain talents to spur the tech start-ups to realise Penang’s potential as one of the Silicon Valleys of Asia,” he said when announcing the fund at his office today.

He said the state has to embrace tech start-ups and I4, including sectors such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, financial technology, machine learning, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things.

Penang has over 300 multinational companies and 3,000 local supporting companies in the state’s established electronics and electrical (E&E) ecosystem.

“From 2008 to June 2017, one third of E&E investments are in Penang and this is supported by the fact that Penang holds eight per cent contribution of global back end semiconductor output,” he said.

He said this is why the state established @CAT Penang in 2015 to further develop the tech start-up, creative, analytics and technology ecosystem in the state.

“A total RM75 million has also been spent since 2008 to promote STEM education — Science Technology Engineering and Maths, including RM6 million to give coding classes to 120,000 primary and secondary students,” Lim said.

The I4 seed fund will be managed by InvestPenang via @CAT Penang.

Lim said an evaluation committee will be set up to further determine eligibility, criteria, application, evaluation, award, disbursement, monitoring, review mechanisms and relevant terms and conditions.