ANGKOK, THAILAND –
Media OutReach – 28 August 2023 – For several years now, “startups” have been designated as a national-level economic growth strategy. Legal frameworks and benefits have been promoted to support business entrepreneurs and innovations stemming from startups with diverse capabilities have been witnessed. Of particular interest in another dimension is the soaring rise of unicorn groups, whether it’s Flash Express, LINE MAN Wongnai, or the Ascend Group that can raise billions of baht in funding. Moreover, Thailand remains a significant landmark suitable for establishing startups, with strengths that facilitate and align with new global investment directions. It has a location in the heart of the region, close to big markets such as ASEAN, China, and India and this enables startups operating in Thailand to connect with a variety of countries. At the same time, it has one of the best infrastructures with a cost of living, lifestyle, and government support in various dimensions, all of which will help drive the emergence of new startup businesses. Here are some of the intriguing highlights:
Thailand’s global ranking for startups
The National Innovation Agency (Public Organization) (NIA), has revealed Thailand’s Global Startup Ecosystem Index ranking for 2023 by StartupBlink, a comprehensive startup ecosystem map and research center. The index ranked 100 countries and 1,000 cities with the best startup ecosystems worldwide and Thailand is ranked 52nd globally, rising by one ranking over the previous year. Meanwhile, Bangkok has surged to 74th place globally among the top 1,000 cities with the best startup ecosystems, making an impressive leap of 25 places and surpassing neighboring cities like Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, which is ranked 3rd in ASEAN. Additionally, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Pattaya are among the top 1,000 cities with the best startup ecosystems. Notably, they are highlighted by their remarkable performance in the transportation industry, securing the 43rd global ranking. This underscores the growth of Thailand’s startup ecosystem.
Non-stop growth with giants that are ready to provide support
Another important factor for startup businesses that is indispensable is capital. Thailand has many large companies ready to serve as Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) providers that focus on investing in startups with interesting technologies and innovations. It is also another way to strengthen the strategy and competitiveness of parent companies, such as SCB 10X, one of the first banking groups that adapt to situations where innovation and technology is constantly changing.
With the goal of becoming a leading VC in the country and in the Southeast Asian region ready to drive the creation of new startup businesses and to push them to the unicorn level, AddVentures by SCG aims to find innovation from startups around the world. This is in order to enhance SCG’s efficiency through the search for innovation and the development of new businesses. In addition, Krungsri Finnovate, that is moving ahead to support fintech startups and technology that involves banking in Thailand and the Southeast Asian region, aims to make as many startups become unicorns as possible and is aiming to build a sustainable economic ecosystem in Thailand and Southeast Asia.
There is also a Technology and Innovation-Based Enterprise Development Fund (TED Fund) of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) that supports and promotes technology and innovation entrepreneurs, especially new entrepreneurs, to be able to conduct business on the basis of the knowledge of technology and innovation. It is also a catalyst to increase the amount of research and innovation for commercial use which will create value for investment and create a progressive and sustainable economic value.
Government policy is ready to accelerate startups to be strong
Many government agencies are ready to support Thai startups to grow and compete in both domestic and international markets, such as the National Innovation Agency (Public Organization) or NIA as a “Focal Conductor” and to facilitate the innovation ecosystem to be conducive to work potential through the promotion of both capital and knowledge to create innovative businesses that focus on 5 fields. These include food-agriculture, healthcare, tourism, climate, and soft power. It also plays an important role in being a bridge to link various agencies, both public and private, to drive Thailand towards becoming a country of innovation. This is by working with a network of partners both under the Ministry of Higher Education and external agencies such as the Office of the Board of Investment (BOI), the Office of the Science Research and Innovation Board (TSRI), and the Digital Economy Promotion Agency or depa, etc.
Big Campaign Emphasizes Thailand as an Investment Area
Thailand has an economic strategy that continuously promotes the Thai startup ecosystem. There are mega projects that support the growth and investment in innovative startup businesses. This includes the BCG Model that the government uses as a guideline to drive the economy in 3 aspects: Bioeconomy, Circular Economy, and Green Economy.
The goal is to create the sustainability of nature and the environment, to increase the rate of economic growth, to reduce social inequalities and to increase the potential for self-reliance. In addition, it also focuses on developments in two industry groups: 1) innovation development in existing industries (First S-Curve) that already exist in the country to create short-term and medium-term growth, comprising the modern automotive industry, smart electronics, quality tourism, agriculture and biotechnology and high value-added food and 2) innovation development in new industries (New S-Curve) that supports advanced technologies by aiming to be an important mechanism to drive the economy, including the robot industry, aviation, digital, integrated medicine and quality fuels and biochemistry. There is also the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which invests in infrastructure and modern industries in 3 provinces: Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao. which has many business and industrial sectors to support startups.
It can be said that the emergence and growth of startups in Thailand continues to have opportunities. There are many factors, both from the public and private sectors that are willing to upgrade the ecosystem and infrastructure to support business models that could grow quickly, as well as cities with outstanding lifestyles and geography that are waiting to welcome both Thai and foreign investors.
Hashtag: #NationalInnovationAgency #NIA
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