Niche food remains the hot business choice for young entrepreneurs hoping to cash in on high profit margins, says the Industrial Promotion Department.
"In the past three or four years, new businesses have become much more specific, catering only to niche markets," said Bunchua Wonggasem, director of the department's Bureau of Entrepreneurship Development.
She said edible products are the most popular choice for entrepreneurs, followed by beauty products and clothing.
Food businesses including Western-style restaurants, bakeries, non-alcoholic drinks, health foods and processed fruits and vegetables generate the highest profit margins at 40-50%.
Despite the recent global economic slowdown, exports of processed seafood, fruits, vegetables and fresh ingredients expanded by 4% to 240 billion baht last year.
Mrs Bunchua said small food businesses make roughly 100,000 baht a month in sales on average.
"They can earn a 50,000-baht profit a month, much more than the minimum salary of 15,000 baht, on top of which they have more free time to spend with family," she said.
Nevertheless, Mrs Bunchua cautioned that setting up a business contains risks led by marketing and sales channels.
"Most of them have good products but don't know how to go about distributing them. They don't know how many sales channels to establish or how to expand," she said.
The department's New Entrepreneur Creation initiative is aimed at reducing the risk of failure for start-ups by providing selected entrepreneurs with professional guidance on business management, finance, planning, excursions and incubation among other areas.
Last year, 3,500 entrepreneurs participated, leading to 1,160 start-ups opening for an investment of 1.3 billion baht and creation of 4,650 jobs.
The department plans to train another 3,500 new entrepreneurs this year.
"About 30% of the participants end up starting their own business, with most of them in their 20s and 30s," said Mrs Bunchua.
She said those who are older with children tend to opt out after weighing the risks and the costs of potential failure.
About the author
- Writer: Soonya Vanichkorn