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More than 190 Malaysian innovators level up and scale out with MRANTI

November 29, 2023
Digital News Asia
5 mins read
  • Aided over 191 firms through 11 Sandbox programmes since 2020
  • NTIS enabled 27 tech firms to commercialise 27 products, yielding US$18.6m

The Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI) has significantly supported local innovators to advance their R&D and enter new markets, especially in the past 12 months.

In 2023, the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS), spearheaded by Mranti, facilitated 27 Malaysian tech companies to commercialise 27 products, generating US$18.6 million (RM87.2  million) in sales, according to the agency's statement.

NTIS allows researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs with products at a mature technical readiness level to test their solutions and services in a live environment The sandbox also provides innovators with access to a network of funding partners, as well as 50 industry experts and ecosystem players, it added.

Dr Rais Hussin (pic), CEO of MRANTI said with strategic interventions to accelerate commercialisation, the company has assisted more than 191 companies in working through regulatory, technical and funding challenges, through 11 Sandbox programmes since 2020.

“These efforts increase our security of innovation supply and raise our stature as a high-income, high-technology economy,” he added.

Regarding improving regulatory support for innovators, Mranti is working closely with the Medical Devices Association and the Ministry of Health to shorten the process for products to safely and effectively go to market.  Through the NTIS, several regulatory improvements have been made for the deployment of drones in the agriculture sector.

Companies in the sandbox have stress-tested many technologies, across various sectors. Over the past three years, drone and robotics as well as 4IR technologies, with 129 solutions designed to improve the agriculture, medical and healthcare and logistics sectors.

“One of the key learnings in the past three years in running the NTIS is that there is a need to provide more avenues, scenarios and locations for experimentation, validation and testing for innovators who are at an earlier stage of their solution development. As such, Mranti recently launched its Food Security Sandbox with the Northern Corridor Implementation Agency to allow technology providers to test their inventions in a live setting to improve crop yield for paddy and fruits,” Rais said.

Stronger pipeline in 2024

“We hope to nurture more local innovators and close more gaps in the innovation lifecycle. As such, we will be expanding the existing 50 developmental programmes next year, to ensure the effective transition of more prototypes to proofs-of-concept,”  Rais said, adding that the agency has a target of 100 commercialised products by 2025 under the 12th Malaysia Plan.

He added that products and solutions which have attained commercial status are further supported by Mranti through market-expansion programmes.

For example, the Mranti Global-Market-Fit Programme (GMP) provides assistance for high-growth innovative companies to strengthen their product position in a new market, and gain insights and new opportunities in international markets. The GMP offers eligible companies mentorship, specialised workshops, and government funding.

Since its inception in 2020, 81 companies have been supported to 11 international destinations, including Japan, Indonesia, the European Union, China, Thailand, Germany, and more.

Nomatech is an agritech company that has benefited from both programmes. It recently commercialised new breeds of rice including a low glycemic-index red rice and high-yield, high-resistance white rice. The company is now offering its rice grain, flakes, and flour products at major supermarket chains in Malaysia and has received strong interest from Japan, Ireland, and other international locations.

GPS Fleet is another Malaysian company that has since opened up a company in Indonesia, having commercialised their fleet management and logistics solution. Presently, the firm serves a growing logistics industry in one of the world’s largest archipelagos.

MRANTI’s GMP programme is expected to reach two more destinations in 2024.