KOTA KINABALU: Having only begun operating for four months, the Sabah Creative Economy and Innovation Centre has achieved several accomplishments in fostering an innovative and resilient community despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Highlights include the concept of Augmented Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR) in tourism, pushing for innovation among locals, and establishing a partnership with the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC).

The centre’s general manager Viviantie Sarjuni said the AR/VR Tourism idea was picked to be among the top 10 in the Startup Weekend online organised by Techstar – an American seed accelerator founded in 2006 in Boulder, Colorado.

“The idea came from one of the participants Zikri Zainudin, who is a Sabahan. The idea is to make changes to a person’s perception of their physical surroundings when viewed through a particular device.

“This way we can sell the travelling experience to tourists without having to travel to particular places. It is very relevant especially during the pandemic,” she said.

Another three Sabahan social innovators were also recently selected to participate in the MaGIC Online Social Innovation Bootcamp. They are Mt Kinabalu Arabica Coffee, Bam and Boo Enterprise and NearMe.

Mt Kinabalu Arabica Coffee received a grant of RM30,000 from Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia Mainstreaming Grassroots Innovations (MaGRis), while two others are currently awaiting the result from BAIKS Programme set up by the Industrial Development and Research Department (DIDR).

BAIKS is a small and medium enterprise (SME) Aid platform initiated by the state government through DIDR to stimulate the growth of SME entrepreneurs in Sabah.

“We also produced more than 20 webinars to date covering topics on technology, innovation, and creativity. Despite the pandemic, we persevered,” Viviantie said.

Such achievements were in line with the centre’s objectives to produce globally competent talents by bringing people, idea and resources together to encourage entrepreneurs to build successful, innovative and sustainable businesses across all industries.

Earlier today, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal visited the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park to look into several developments, including the establishment of the Sabah Creative Economy and Innovation Centre.

The centre is an initiative under the Sabah Trade and Industry Ministry, in collaboration with KKIP.

Its establishment plan was first announced in April 2017 by state Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, who drew the idea from his visit to South Korea.

He was then a federal minister in charge of science, technology and innovation.

Viviantie said the centre aimed to work with grassroots communities, start-ups, venture firms, universities and research institutes, providing them with assistance from the legal aspect, as well as finding investors to market their products across the globe.

“The centre intends to push for the use of digital tools such as AR/VR, Robotics, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, animation, and filming to support innovation as well as creating more job opportunities.”

Meanwhile, Mohd Shafie said the young had shown great interest in the creative field and were tech-savvy but noted Sabah had yet to fully tap into the innovation industry.

“If we build a place for them to apply their knowledge such as making films and short movies, I am sure we can produce highly-innovative Sabahans,” he said, adding the state had resources and beautiful locations to inspire ideas.

[Source: “Sabah’s only innovation and creativity centre on track to shape resilient community” published by New Straits Times, New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd.]
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