Wednesday, June 22, 2005

New centre to nurture technopreneurs

BY SHOM TEOH

THE value of a good IT infrastructure lies not in how much it costs but in what it can do to influence the culture of its users, according to computer hardware giant Sun Microsystems Inc.

John Gage, the company’s chief researcher, said that merely investing in hardware and software products will not be sufficient to transform a society into an innovative and entrepreneurial one.

That is why there are high hopes for the country’s newly-built Java Technopreneur Development Centre in Cyberjaya. “It is a place that will encourage technopreneurial activities and build a culture for a knowledge-based economy,” Gage said.

He was speaking at the launch of the centre last week. It was jointly developed by the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC) and Multimedia University (MMU).

The RM1mil development centre is part of an ecological system aimed at nurturing entrepreneurial talents, Gage said.

The centre provides infrastructure support, Java training, and business development guidance to promising technopreneurs utilising Java-based technology. It will focus on key technology areas such as embedded systems, intelligent systems, wireless and mobility and advanced software.

“Java is a great tool for technopreneurs to develop secure, robust and useful applications, which will help improve people’s lives all over the world,” Gage said.

The 2,700sq ft centre is located at MDC’s Central Incubator-Accelerator Centre inside MMU’s Cyberjaya campus.

Cheam Tat Inn, managing director of Sun Microsystems Malaysia, said the centre will serve as a platform to promote collaboration between local and international enterprises.

MMU president Prof Dr Ghauth Jasmon said locating the centre close to the campus would certainly benefit students, as the university was “fully committed to the teaching of Java in our engineering and IT courses.”

Undergraduates from other disciplines could also be roped in to work on a part-time basis at the centre, allowing them to gain valuable practical experience in the process, he said.

MDC vice-president Dr Wilson Tay said many final year students have commercially viable ideas for their final-year projects. “With mentoring, they can translate their ideas into reality,” he said.

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