Suvit to create startup fund, roll out key laws

Suvit to create startup fund, roll out key laws

Mr Suvit seeks to strengthen Thailand's startup industry. SOMCHAI POOMLARD
Mr Suvit seeks to strengthen Thailand's startup industry. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

Suvit Maesincee, the higher education, science, research and innovation minister, has vowed to establish a Young Startup fund and roll out three new regulations to strengthen startups to spur the innovation-driven economy.

Thailand ranked 43 out of 129 countries in the Global Innovation Index this year, dropping one position from a year earlier, according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

"Thailand will continue the momentum of its startups being an engine to drive the value-based economy through innovation, with cooperation from the government, private and academic sectors," said Mr Suvit.

He was speaking at the opening of Startup Nation 2019 tech conference in Bangkok, which runs until Saturday.

More than 500 startups are attending the event.

"The ministry will establish a Young Startup Fund that gives youths grants for interesting ideas while studying at university so they can later contribute to startups," said Mr Suvit.

The fund will draw from the government, private partners and the technology and innovation-based Enterprise Development Fund, which currently has 2 billion baht available, he said.

The ministry also aims to roll out three key laws -- the Startup Act, Regulatory Sandbox Act and the Bayh-Dole Act -- which could help move startups forward.

The Startup Act facilitates the founding of local and international startups through tax incentives and foreign shareholders, while the Regulatory Sandbox Act allows startups to pilot innovative ideas.

The Bayh-Dole Act allows researchers the right to their intellectual property research.

The hope is building quality startups helps promote innovation.

It has been four years since the country pivoted to creating new startups as a new engine to boost economic growth, the minister said.

In the past Thailand relied heavily on large corporations and foreign investment to push the economy forward.

He said about 50 billion baht has been raised in venture capital and corporate venture capital (CVC) that is available for startups.

Of the amount, 35 billion baht is from CVC.

The country has 2,000 active startups in nine industries, including 30 local startups subject to Series A and B funding rounds.

Some 35 universities and 1,000 vocational schools, along with 100,000 students, have now engaged in startup communities.

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