Innovation diplomacy to boost entrepreneurs

Innovation diplomacy to boost entrepreneurs

Mrs Vilawan and Mr Pun-Arj at yesterday's announcement of the joint initiative.
Mrs Vilawan and Mr Pun-Arj at yesterday's announcement of the joint initiative.

The National Innovation Agency (NIA) is joining with the Foreign Affairs Ministry on an innovation diplomacy strategy, encouraging innovation-based entrepreneurs and startups to expand internationally.

Over the next three years, the NIA expects to raise economic value from international collaboration to 10 billion baht for biotech, agriculture and health tech.

"The innovation diplomacy strategy will enable strategic cooperation with innovative organisations worldwide and promote Thailand as an innovation nation," Pun-Arj Chairatana, executive director of the NIA, said at yesterday's signing ceremony.

The three-year agreement is part of the NIA's five-year plan (2017-22) to build an international network of innovation organisations, attract overseas investors through the Thai embassies in target countries for business matching opportunities and strengthen collaboration with international startups for knowledge transfer.

The partnership also aims to help the NIA lead local startups to explore overseas markets.

The innovation diplomacy covers some 28 countries, including Japan for Industry 4.0; Israel for agriculture; the US for biotech; and Sweden and Finland for music and fintech.

In 2019, the programme will expand to Chile for agriculture and central European countries such as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic that are strong in engineering tech. South Africa is also being targeted for defence tech.

Vilawan Mangklatanakul, director-general of the International Economic Affairs Department, said the agreement with the NIA will strengthen international innovation collaboration.

Innovation diplomacy focuses on promotion of products and services of entrepreneurs and startups overseas and aligns with global affairs in the 21st century, in which innovation will be an engine of economic growth, she said.

"In the fast-changing economic and political landscape, mutual benefits among counterparts for propelling innovation will drive economic growth and competitiveness," Mrs Vilawan said.

Krithpaka Boonfueng, deputy executive director of the NIA, said the collaboration of state agencies with private firms will increase the trust and confidence of local business and broaden overseas opportunities.

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