Cradle launches 2 new grants with RM26.5m allocation

by ASILA JALIL/ pic by ARIF KARTONO

CRADLE Fund Sdn Bhd has set aside RM26.5 million for its two new investment programmes, the Cradle Investment Programme Ignite (CIP Ignite) and Cradle Investment Programme Accelerate (CIP Accelerate).

About 60% or RM16.5 million of the total allocation will go towards CIP Ignite, while the remaining RM10 million will be allocated for CIP Accelerate.

Cradle, an early-stage start-up influencer incorporated under the Ministry of Finance, is expecting 38 companies to receive the grants, its group CEO Rafiza Ghazali (picture; right) said.

“The number of companies is just an estimate for now and it all depends on the approval, as well as the combination of which programmes the companies apply to,” she told the media after the launch of the programmes in Kuala Lumpur (KL) last Friday.

CIP Ignite is designed as a conditional grant of up to RM500,000 to support early-stage tech-based start-ups, tech-based small and medium enterprises or spin-off companies from universities or research institutes.

The grant comprises two components, namely CIP Ignite (1) for deep tech innovations and CIP Ignite (2) for other innovative tech-based companies.

Meanwhile, CIP Accelerate provides funding of up to RM2 million, focusing on accelerating the growth of deep tech companies and spin-offs from universities, as well as research institutes.

Both grants are available to locally incorporated companies with not less than 51% Malaysian ownership and revenues of not more than RM5 million.

“We aim to support the development of technologies in critical areas such as healthcare, agriculture, supply chain and logistics, and environment, among others.

“To contribute to the continuous building of our nation through technology and innovation, as well as the job creation and economic growth they bring, we will also further develop important links with various stakeholders such as government bodies, private sector entities and research institutes,” Rafiza said in her speech.

Cradle will also provide value-added support in the form of its Structured Coaching Programme, where fund recipients will benefit from having an experienced business mentor and targeted training opportunities.

Sectors covered under these programmes include information and communications technology, advanced manufacturing and engineering, food security and technology and socioeconomic drivers.

The deployment of both grants comes at the right time as the country battles an unprecedented public health and economic crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (left) said at the launch.

He advised the public to be ready for a non-optimistic outcome once the dust settles, as companies may lay off employees despite trying their best to preserve jobs.

The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry will continue to support tech-funding agencies, Khairy Jamaluddin added. More allocations will be given to these players to ensure the country is able to move forward.

“We want to consider companies who can embrace the new normal. We want applications from start- ups who understand the new normal, those who can ride through the storm post-pandemic.

“In our quest to become a high-tech and advanced country, a lot of the innovation will come from these start-up companies. There is no excuse that Malaysians cannot come up with world class tech companies and we need to facilitate that,” he said.