By Asina Pornwasin
The Nation Weekend
The digital economy accounted for 19 per cent of Thailand’s GDP in 2018 and is expected to contribute Bt282 billion by 2021.
This is significant, as Thailand’s three million small-to-medium businesses are expected to generate 43 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2019.
The Facebook-Kenan move is aimed at training more than 1,000 SMEs across the country in 2019 from diverse communities, including historically marginalised groups.
The programme is focused on upskilling the enterprises, in line with the company’s commitment to help catalyse digital transformation, support inclusion and accelerate Thailand as a digital economy.
Participants will receive both in-person training and online resources using Facebook’s self-study platform, which will cover key topics such as creating Facebook and Instagram business pages, using creative content tools and growing audiences through insights.
The community partners involved in the project will serve diverse communities such as people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, people in remote areas, and others.
Training sessions will be conducted nationwide from June to November, including in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, the Northeast, and the South.
Beth Ann Lim, head of community affairs for Asia-Pacific at Facebook, said Thais are enthusiastic, entrepreneurial and self-driven.
“Through this programme, we hope to bridge the skill gap by educating, equipping and empowering Thai SMEs across the country and from diverse communities to fully realise their digital aspirations and feel equipped to participate in Thailand’s digital transformation. We are delighted to be partnering with Kenan Foundation Asia and our government and community partners to expand digital skills in Thailand,” said Lim.
On the digital journey
According to the “Future of Business” report, Thai businesses and communities are already embracing the journey to digital, with 78 per cent saying they use digital tools like Facebook to showcase products and services to customers.
The study also found 94 per cent of small businesses surveyed understand that promoting products and services digitally, including on social media, is vitally important to their business.
Kenan plays the role of implementing NGO partner to lead this project. Piyabutr Cholvijarn, president and vice chairman of Kenan Foundation Asia, said that Boost with Facebook will enhance the competitiveness of small businesses and contribute to the realisation of Thailand 4.0 and the formation of a more inclusive society.
Strengthening small businesses to better succeed in the global economy is a core pillar of Kenan’s programming to help micro and small businesses along with empowering them to achieve their dreams.
Meanwhile, Ajarin Pattanapanchai, permanent secretary of Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, said the government must act as a facilitator for success, creating an ecosystem that nurtures the growth of our digital economy.
The private sector, particularly SMEs and startups, play a key role in driving this development, he said. The realisation of the government’s vision – that a digital economy will enable economic and social reform that brings steady growth in all dimensions – would not be possible without the contribution of the business sector to this initiative.