DE fund seeks to invigorate startups

DE fund seeks to invigorate startups

Strategic plan to aid digital ecosystem

Mr Pichet says efforts to help startups are being sped up.
Mr Pichet says efforts to help startups are being sped up.

Startups are slated to get a boost in creating and expanding their businesses at home and beyond, thanks to the 5-billion-baht Digital Economy Fund, to be allocated by the Digital Economy and Society (DE) Ministry.

DE Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj said the 5-billion-baht fund will be budgeted in September to help local startups flourish.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will be responsible for contributing the income generated from licence fees for telecom and broadcasting businesses.

Mr Pichet said yesterday that the ministry was on the verge of setting up the operational committee for the digital economy fund to be responsible for disbursing it.

The operational committee will be supervised by the National Digital Economy Committee (NDEC), chaired by the prime minister.

The digital economy fund has been arranged to serve four main functions: Supporting the private sector in digital economy development including startups; research and development; supporting the operations of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA); and covering expenses for the NDEC office.

"It's not just funding support. The government has a clear strategic plan to make the ecosystem healthy," said Mr Pichet.

During a meeting between the minister and local startups yesterday, Mr Pichet said the government is now accelerating efforts to facilitate the local startup ecosystem.

The DE Ministry, the Revenue Department and the Board of Investment are working on proper incentives packages to be offered to startups. The ministry and involved agencies plan to improve the digital literacy of the local workforce. Tax incentives will also be offered to Thai tech startups and global companies.

Thailand's 500-rai digital innovation park in Sri Racha, Chon Buri, which is now under construction, will serve as the development centre for startup companies.

The 10-billion-baht project is being set up by CAT Telecom and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand.

The DE through DEPA will provide financial support to new startups needing initial funds for innovative product and service development.

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