GEORGE TOWN, Nov 16 — The Penang government is setting up a Centre of Excellence (CoEx) as a space to bring together creative and digital entrepreneurs in its state capital George Town.

State executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo said the CoEx will be ready to open in February next year.

It is accepting applications from entrepreneurs now.

“This is a space to showcase current creative and digital entrepreneurs and also for new start-ups,” he said in a press conference this morning.

He said it can also be a training, research and innovation space for creative and digital entrepreneurs.

The state local government, housing and town and country planning committee chairman said the space covers 5,000 sq ft and will be fully equipped with infrastructure for technopreneurs to display and test their products and systems.

“There will be 12 counters in this space and we will look at the response for this space and if it is good, we will look for more space to set up also in Seberang Perai,” he said.

He said a digital city is also being planned for Seberang Perai under the Penang Bay project so this will also be along the same line as the state’s plan to introduce more smart city initiatives.

Jagdeep said the state is pushing forward with more smart initiatives with the CoEx being the 81st initiative.

“We aim to reach 100 smart city initiatives by the end of the year,” he said.

He said the Wisma Yeap Chor Ee building in George Town, where the CoEx is located, is earmarked as a creative digital district to attract talents to the city.

“We hope that talents will come in to move forward with our smart initiative agenda,” he said.

He said the CoEx will also plan and coordinate the applications for intellectual property, copyright and patents for the state’s creative and innovative research projects.

According to Digital Penang General Manager Tony Yeoh, the CoEx will be a Penang smart unit.

“Our objective is to attract more investments into this area,” Yeoh said.

Meanwhile, on an unrelated matter, Jagdeep said the appointment of city councillors for both city councils is now in progress.

He said this is the second year the state has opened up for all non-governmental organisations (NGO) to submit their respective nominations for the seven city councillor seats allocated for NGOs.

“We received a total 47 nominations from NGOs, 22 in Penang Island City Council and 25 in Seberang Perai City Council,” he said.

He said this is now the selection process where three will be selected for the island council and four for the mainland council.