The government is now busy preparing measures to jump-start the development of business startups to help drive the country's digital economy under the government's much-touted "Thailand 4.0" model.
Addressing a Bangkok Post conference titled "Thailand's Startups: Learning from Unicorns", organised by the Post Group Wednesday, Suvit Maesincee, a minister attached to the Prime Minister's Office, said he will table three key measures to push for the development of startups and present them to the cabinet for consideration.
Prime Minister's Office Minister Suvit Maesincee addresses the Bangkok Post Conference on Wednesday. (Photos by Pawat Laopaisarntaksin)
The first measure is to provide financial support for startups, another is to boost the capabilities of startups and the third is to connect startups to communities, regions and the global community.
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The three measures are being drawn up now, Mr Suvit said.
In detail, the first will be to create so-called "angel funds". These are investment funds provided by an angel investment network of affluent investors to help with funding support and carry the startup entrepreneurs through their difficult early stages.
Investors in business startups and entrepreneurs will be granted tax exemptions during the first six years of their businesses, Mr Suvit said.
For the second measure, the government will work with universities and other learning centres to help support small startups.
It will also encourage universities to set up venture capital agencies and innovation-driven entrepreneurship centres for startups in the private sector, Mr Suvit said.
The third measure will be to connect startups with regional and global communities by introducing special visas, therefore facilitating the travel of startup entrepreneurs, and inviting foreign startup experts to impart their knowledge and transfer technology to local entrepreneurs, Mr Suvit said
He added that the measure will aim to promote Thailand as a hub for startup investment in accordance with the government's Thailand 4.0 policy, which seeks to steer the country toward a digital economy through innovation and the increased use of technology.
Mr Suvit said the Thailand 4.0 model focuses on building strength from within by grooming human resources to be well-equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
This can be achieved by creating new learning environments, promoting the analytical-thinking skills of students and workers, and creating environments conducive to supporting startups, the minister said.
Mr Suvit also stressed the need to upgrade small and medium sized enterprises and usher in an era of "smart farmers" who can make the most of advances in technology to prosper.
The minister noted that new ecosystems must be created for businesses and investments, along with new kinds of collaboration and innovation if more startups are to get off the ground successfully.
Thailand still lacks a core ecosystem of its own, which has led the government to come up with the Thailand 4.0 policy to strengthen the country from within so it can better compete with, and connect to, the world, he said.
Mr Suvit also stressed that while it is important to strengthen the industrial sector, this should not be done at the expense of the environment or local culture.
He added that the service and hospitality industry represents one of the country's strengths and needs to be promoted.
The government should boost social equality with a policy that ensures support is distributed evenly across the country, Mr Suvit said.
More and better infrastructure is needed to achieve these goals, he said.
This includes agricultural structures, water resources, forests, energy, the environment, technologies, digital networks, transport networks, research and development, health and social security, Mr Suvit added.