Monday, September 28, 2020

Innovation agency plans major push for startups

Sep 30. 2018
Pun-Arj
Pun-Arj
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By JIRAPAN BOONNOON
THE NATION

THE NATIONAL Innovation Agency aims to transform Thailand into what it calls the Startup Global Platform of Asia within the next three years. The agency expects Thailand to have at least 1,000 startups and more than 5,000 high-tech experts.

The government will spend a budget of more than Bt30 billion by 2021.

Pun-Arj Chairatana, executive director of the National Innovation Agency (NIA), said the agency has three directives – innovation, investment and internationalisation – in order to drive and transform the country into the Startup Global Platform of Asia, a startup global hub by 2021.

To encourage innovation, the agency will promote and support startups to develop disruptive innovation and technology in terms of deep technology such as artificial intelligence, healthcare and green technology so that it could solve the needs of the market.

For investment, the agency will encourage local startups to invite domestic and international venture capital to invest around US$10 million (Bt320 million) to $100 million in each startup.

To promote internationalisation, the agency will collaborate with private sector entities such as True Group and Huawei to set up startups in the Punnawithi and Rama IX areas in Bangkok. It will also set up a startup zone in the Yothi area and invite international investors from other countries such as Japan, Singapore, Austria, France and Germany to expand their business and invest in startups in those areas. 

“I think we have the potential to invite international investors to enter and expand their business in Thailand since the government is providing privileges such as smart visa and supporting international firms to set up operations in Thailand,” said Pun-Arj.

He added that the agency will submit the National Startup Act for the Cabinet’s approval in October so that it could identify startup privileges, identify startups and create a startup ecosystem in the country to promote S-curve businesses.

The agency also expects that in the next three years, by 2021, Thailand will have around 1,000 startups with around 5,000 highly skilled experts, which could boost the country’s gross domestic product by up to 5 per cent. The government agencies will also spend budgets to utilise innovation, technology, services and products from startups valued at over Bt30 billion or around 1 per cent of the entire budget by 2021.

Venture capitals funded startups in the country during 2017-18 to the tune of $1.2 billion. The country has around 750 active startups nationwide.

 

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