Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need to collaborate with local institutions of higher learning (IPTs) to enable them to brace technologies in order to be more competitive in the face of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0).
Malaysian Technology Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (MTDC) CEO Nurhalim Yunus said better technology adoption through the collaboration would enable SMEs to improve their productivity and efficiency.
"SMEs need to inject technologies in order to grow. And if you are not able to produce the technologies needed as you are busy manufacturing and marketing SME products, you can work with MTDC and IPTs to develop them.
“We need to tap into research and technology expertise of local universities as their projects are funded by public funds provided by the government from taxpayers’ money.
“It‘s a sheer waste of public funds if the technologies are not fully utilised by the people, including SME entrepreneurs," he told reporters after the 4th Road2Growth programme for the east zone, which was attended by nearly 50 participants in Kuantan today.
Nurhalim said the cooperation with IPTs should not be confined to only technology or commercialisation licensing aspect, instead, it should be more comprehensive, including encompassing transfer of technology from IPTs to companies.
"The SMEs can also work with IPTs to undertake joint research and development to produce the technologies needed by the local industry, as well as employing graduates who are equipped with technological skills," he said
He said most SMEs relied on imported machines, causing them to incur high production costs even though some of the technologies and tools needed had already been produced locally.
Hence, he hoped the annual Road2Growth programme would provide an avenue for local entrepreneurs to collaborate with local universities and for successful SMEs, who were aided by MTDC, to share their experience.
The Road2Growth programme has so far been held in Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Seberang Prai, while Kuala Lumpur will be the next venue for the central region.