Joint venture firm to establish InnoSpace
Local and foreign investors targeted
The Industry Ministry will encourage local and foreign companies to co-invest in a 500-million-baht joint venture firm for the establishment of the country's innovation space project in early 2019.
The project, named InnoSpace Thailand Co, will be a public-private venture meant to support new startups in the country.
This facility is positioned as the first innovation centre in Southeast Asia, in the region's largest special economic zone, said Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana.
Mr Uttama said InnoSpace Thailand will connect startups with fresh capital and increase value-added products targeted at the global market.
The ministry recently received funds from five companies -- PTT, Siam Cement Group, Charoen Pokphand Group, Thai Beverage and Bangkok Bank -- for this joint venture.
He said three ministries -- industry, science and technology, and digital economy and society -- will host the facility, with the government inviting companies to join.
The government has been studying the overall structure of this project and forming a management model since mid-2018.
InnoSpace Thailand is located in the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECI) in Wang Chan district, Rayong province.
The project is adjacent Kamnoetvidya Science Academy School and Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology, both educational institutes owned by PTT.
Mr Uttama said two foreign agencies -- Hong Kong Cyberport Management Co and Israel Economic and Trade Mission -- are interested the EECI.
"Both the public and private sectors will conclude further details and conditions for startup investment in January 2019," he said.
Mr Uttama said InnoSpace Thailand aims to support the country's agricultural sector in the first phase of development because the ministry wants to promote and improve this sector using smart farming, in line with the Thailand 4.0 initiative.
In 2017, Thailand's startup industry attracted total investment of US$105 million (3.44 billion baht).
Narong Sirilertworakul, president of National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), said the project will create 100-200 Thai startups in 2019.
"InnoSpace Thailand will have capital funds to support investment in startup projects. These funds will help startups access financial resources," said Mr Narong.
The NSTDA plans to establish a holding company to a shareholder in InnoSpace Thailand. The agency wants to serve investment and support startups in Thailand.
"We expect to have a 5-10% stake in InnoSpace Thailand," he said.
In 2019, all stakeholders are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding for InnoSpace Thailand Co.