Open Innovation is one of funding mechanisms for startups under Thailand’s National Masterplan on sustainable value chain. Open Innovation will provide money for industrialists, entrepreneurs and startups for upgrading their capacities and level of technology and innovation. Open Innovation’s goal focus on one yet ambitious and big goal –making Thai industry more smart and highly innovative. The fund is used to help existing industrial manufacturers (First S-Curve) on innovation development so they will become smarter, more technologically advanced, and above all sustainable. Open Innovation aims to fast track existing industry as well as startups and small and medium enterprise (SMEs) to become highly innovative New S-Curve.
Thematic Innovation is the enabling mechanism and assisting program for food, farming, wellness and healthcare startups. The project works through partnership of three sectors –private business, society and academic institutes. The partnership has developed projects and collaborations to help these sectors become more innovative. Collaborations will come in forms of pilot projects, problem solving challenges and prototype developing.
Managing Innovation Development Credit (MIND CREDIT) is developed by National Innovation Agency (NIA) to help financing startups, SMEs and SEs using professional consultant services to improve their business portfolio or developing products. Eligible recipient must submit proposal and application to NIA. Likewise, consultant firms must be approved by NIA.
Recipient and selected project will get free grant. The amount of the grant will be limited at one million bath per project maximum. The amount given will not exceed 75% of the total consultant fee proposed. The amount of grant given will be based on the quoted price estimated and submitted by consultant firm; the grant will not cover Value Added Tax (VAT) incurred from the consultant fee payment. The duration of the consultant service will be limited to one year only. NIA will mark the first day of the project the day when the recipient signed contract with NIA.
Spark is the new incubator/accelerator project. Dubbed as “Global Accelerator Program, it is the collaboration between NIA and AGW, which is Israel-based venture capitalist. Its mission is to make Thai startups competitive enough to compete in the international market. The SPARK project will invite international experts on patent laws, cyber security, finance to speak in workshops for startups.
Global AgTech Acceleration Program (AG Growth) is the program to help agricultural startups to commercialize and penetrate international market. The program develops Thai ecosystem to be compatible and work well with those of foreign. AG Growth aims to create more young agro startups in Thailand.
Space-F is incubator/accelerator program under the NIA’s Spark Global Accelerator Program. Space-F has a mission to fast-track food startups to enter Asia market. Apart of that, Space-F sets to become central platform that connect government agencies, major corporates, investors and academic institutes into the foodtech ecosystem. Space-F has goal to make food tech startup business grow in terms of quantity, quality and variety as well as promote food tech in Thailand.
Youth Startup Fund has two goals. First is to groom young talents to enter digital economy and tech startups. Second is to realize a mission of the ministry of higher education, science, research and innovation to make universities in Thailand “Entrepreneurial University.”
Youth Startup Fund has two major activities. First is Startup Thailand League, an incubator program for university students. Among famous activities are regular networking events and the national competition for university students to compete pitching their business proposals.
Second is the Pre-seed Funding, a grant subsidy given to help university students paying laboratory fee and other services for developing product prototypes or Prove of Concept Idea (POC). Qualified applicants must be university students at all levels –bachelor, master or doctoral degrees, as well as graduates who finished their educations not exceed five years. Eligible applicants must be certified as incubator under NIA’s incubator program. The grant will be 500,000-1,500,000 baht per each project.
IIM-IDE is the cooperation between NIA’s Office of Innovation for Economic Development and SHPERE8 to pair up startups with strategic partners in Israel.
IIM-IDE will develop pilot projects to help these startups create their product’s prototype, develop their products for commercial scale and help them on marketing. Activities under IIM-IDE campaign will be conducted in English language.
Digital Startup Fund is a funding program under Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA). The program is tasked to fast-track Thailand digital economy and it works to promote development in these areas. Among their activities are developing human resource capacity for tech and digital economy, supporting research and development, marketing, using digital technology to add value to products as well as using digital technology to develop community development and upgrade infrastructure in the country.
NSTDA wants this fund to help commercialize academic researches or even develop these works into prototypes for industrial scale.
Developed by Thailand Science Park (TSP), the Startup Voucher is tasked to upskill tech entrepreneurs to develop new ideas an access to new technology as well as matching startups with right financiers and networking with international alliances and foreign market. The program can provide financial support up to 800,000 baht.
UOB Thailand launched “The Fin Lab” fin-tech incubator program in 2015 with aims to nourish and groom new fin tech startups and entrepreneurs. The Fin Lab helps developed fin-tech network and related technology. The Fin Lab has served as consultant body on fin tech business models in Asia, and played major role for healthy fin tech business growth in the region.
TED Fund, NIA and Government Housing Bank have worked together in providing financial assistant package. Among aid measures is loan program for companies and business ventures affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The soft loan size is 1.5 million baht maximum per one case; the loan amount is subjected to be revised by NIA and TED Fund. The loan must be paid back within two years and the interest rate will be capped at 2% for the first three years, as required by Bank of Thailand (BoT).
During the Covid-19 pandemic, government, public and private sectors have launched several measures to help startups, tech entrepreneurs as well as SMEs afloat. These helps are more than a dole or cash handout; these measures are designed to reduce economic impact and help them turn around crisis into opportunities.
During the past two months, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, the National Science and technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), Government Savings bank (GSB), Siam commercial Bank (SCB) and Innospace have provided supports through three mechanisms.
1.Financial support: Through NIA, the government, has already provided free grants amount to 39.8 million baht to 10 innovation projects, and prepared to give 70 million baht more to other 19 projects in the following months. These free grants have injected cashflow into these tech companies, help them to survive in such a hard time. In addition, NIA has worked with GSB and SCB to provide soft loan to startups and SMEs whose businesses have been affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
2.Marketing support: Besides financial help, we known what business need most are market demand and clients. Thus, NIA has worked with public and private sectors to create market demand and jobs, In terms of medical service, we introduced the YMID Portal (Yothi Medical Innovation District) to promote business opportunities for medical tech startups. So far, 12 medical tech startups provides digital medical solutions for nine hospital networks. We also develops the scheme, Government Procurement Transformation (GPT) to bring startups to improve the government procurement’s system and operation. Since May, NIA has opened the on-line PR scape at website of Startup Thailand to help these startups promote their works. We also encourage our alliance including big corporates such as Charoen Pokphand Group (CP), Thai Union, Siam Kubota and Ch. Karnchang Pcl to invest and work with local startups.
3.Upskilling: Over the two month lockdown period, NIA has organized on-line training courses for students and startups for upskillings on innovation and on business sides. These on-line training and upskilling courses are conducted through the College of Innovation, on-line education platform that NIA has used for this purpose. In May, we already opened 10 new courses, with over 2,000 students and tech entrepreneurs registered.