Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Local technopreneurs need extra incentives

Also, he said, with the creation of new products and services, more jobs opportunities would emerge and local companies may even catch the eye of multinational companies (MNCs).

MNCs would want to invest in locally generated ideas that in turn would improve the image of the country as an investment hub, Roberson said.

"Imagine, if the (video-sharing site) YouTube had been a Malaysian initiative.

You would have (search engine giant) Google here now," he said.

The site has 35 million regular users who watch 100 million videos daily, while 65,000 new videos are added every day.

Google bought the phenomenally popular site for US$1.76bil (RM6.2bil) in October last year.

Roberson said Malaysia is not short of talent but many assume that technopreneurs are born and not made.

He said a dedicated technopreneur course in local universities would be one answer to this problem.

If the country's talented people are given the opportunity to understand the nature of the business, they could be persuaded to make the venture.

"It is easier and less scary if you know what you're going to get yourself into," he said.

The Government, Roberson said, could also provide such technopreneur ventures with a "safety net" to lessen the risk of failure.

"Perhaps the startups could be given tax reliefs or a more lenient bankcruptcy law passed (to be more forgiving to those that fail)," he said.

There are many areas in technology that business-minded people can take advantage of to turn a profit.

"We estimate more than 700,000 notebooks to be sold this year. That is up from about 627,000 notebooks sold last year," he claimed.

A telco industry observer said that the advent of Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) would also drive telcos to create new packages for customers.

"Consumers won't just talk on their handphones, they may even start watching TV on their handsets so it is up to the telcos to beef up their delivery systems and price it attractively," he said.