HUAWEI, partnering with government and private sector, organises final round of ‘Spark-Ignite 2021 – Thailand Start-up Competition’

HUAWEI, partnering with government and private sector, organises final round of ‘Spark-Ignite 2021 – Thailand Start-up Competition’

Aiming to enhance digital startups while empowering Thailand to become ASEAN Digital Hub

Huawei Technologies (Thailand) Co., Ltd., together with partners from government and the private sectors, recently held the final round of ‘Spark-Ignite 2021 – Thailand Start-up Competition’, enabling Thai startups to grow at the regional level while fostering digital talent in the country. Startup empowerment is the key to future, forward digital transformation and post-COVID-19 economic recovery, and is a part of Huawei’s commitment to supporting Thailand becoming the ‘Digital Hub of ASEAN’.

The winners of the competition will receive HUAWEI CLOUD credit worth 4 million baht and a global professional counsel and support program for Thai startups to enter the international market. This competition also provided an opportunity for tech startups across Thailand to join the Huawei Spark Accelerator program which is founded by HUAWEI CLOUD and underpinned by Huawei technological & innovation leadership.

Mr. Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, Minister of Digital Economy and Society (MDES), shared his views about the Spark-Ignite 2021 – Thailand Start-up Competition: “The Thai government is planning to introduce many more projects that drive economic development based on the Thailand 4.0 policy. In this regard, Thai startups are a key element that can create new innovations. I would like to thank Huawei for continuously pushing forward its ‘Grow in Thailand, Contribute to Thailand’ commitment. As one of the leading global technology companies, I am certain that Huawei’s resources and technological know-how will help foster Thai startup development as well as accelerate their growth, in turn enabling them to become ‘Unicorn-level’ companies. This competition demonstrates a good model of collaboration between the government, private sector, and partners in the industry in driving new innovations and creating access to global markets for Thai startups. I am confident that this project will help support Thailand in becoming an ASEAN digital hub, and will enhance the potential of Thailand 4.0 to the fullest.”

Dr. Chinawut Chinaprayoon, Executive Vice President of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), said: “Depa's vision is to focus on promoting and leading Thailand towards a digital economy and society in accordance with the Thailand 4.0 policy, where Thai technology startups are a key component that help the country achieve this goal. The Spark-Ignite 2021 – Thailand Start-up Competition project by Huawei Thailand is a great endeavour in helping Thai tech startups grow in the region – or even at the global level. Depa believes that the winning Thai startups from this contest will gain valuable knowledge on technology applicable for their businesses and the opportunity to grow their businesses, and receive much-needed support from Huawei, which will help them succeed in the global market.”

Mr. Abel Deng, CEO, Huawei Technologies (Thailand) Co., Ltd., speaking on the goals of the Spark-Ignite 2021 – Thailand Start-up Competition that: “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition to the ‘New Normal’, and has pushed Thailand into a digital transformation at an even faster pace. Various innovations and technologies have played a crucial role in helping restore and create new opportunities for both business and social sector, as well as increasing the country’s competitive advantages. Huawei believes that startups are a growing force for discovery and will be a driver of innovation. We are fully confident in their potential to create more job opportunities, to support the post-pandemic economic recovery, and to inject new energy. We would like to thank the Thai government and partners from the private sector such as the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), National Innovation Agency (NIA), KASIKORN Business-Technology Group (KBTG), TusPark WHA and Zanroo Ltd. With their kind support since the first day of nationwide recruitment, from sponsoring the rewards to taking part in the judging panel at the final round, the partners have played a crucial role in promoting Thai startups’ potential.

“The competition represents a great collaborative model between Huawei and partners to open the door for knowledge sharing and know-how that can spark ideas and provide practical support. With Huawei’s leading technologies and ecosystem resources, Thai digital startups can gain more exposure and scale up their potential to an international level. This project is part of an effort to drive digital economy growth and the Thailand 4.0 policy, as well as to support the development of ICT technology in Thailand through partners in building a complete digital ecosystem. We hope that this competition will be one of Thailand’s biggest and most influential start-up events, and that ultimately, the competition will play a key role in promoting digital technology to help Thailand become the Digital Hub of ASEAN.

“The Spark Ignite 2021 – Thailand Start-up Competition began in May 2021 with more than 132 participating teams from various industries in Thailand such as finance and insurance, public health, education, telecommunications, e-commerce, Internet, media, and games that use technology such as 5G solutions, Enterprise Intelligence (EI), Machine Learning, Device Analysis, IoT, Edge computing, and Software as a Service (SaaS) in their innovations. Besides, participants of the Spark Ignite 2021 – Thailand Start-up Competition will be eligible to take part in the Huawei Spark Accelerator Program, which provides consultation and support for global startups on finding business connections at a global level,” Mr. Deng added.

“On behalf of Huawei, we believe that innovation never stops and neither does our commitment to supporting Thailand’s digital ecosystem. Huawei deeply believes that the key to driving sustainable digital development lies in an upskilled workforce, thriving SMEs, and an ecosystem that facilitates startups. As a leading ICT partner for digital transformation as well as a continued social value contributor in Thailand for more than 22 years, I would like to once again repeat that our commitment remains to ‘Grow in Thailand and Contribute to Thailand’, and bring digital to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected, intelligent Thailand,” Mr. Deng concluded. 

The judging committee in the final pitching of this competition comprised Dr. Chinawut Chinaprayoon, Executive Vice President (Digital Economy Unit) at depa; Mr. Pariwat Wongsamran, Director of Innovative Entrepreneur and Enterprise Director of Startup Thailand at NIA; Dr. Monchai Lertsutthiwong, Principal Research Engineer of KLabs at KBTG; Mr. Paisan Jeanuthaithamrong, Incubation Manager of TusPark WHA; Mr. Udomsak Dornkhampai, CTO of Zanroo; Mr. Leo Jiang, Chief Digital Officer of Huawei Cloud & AI Business Group, Asia Pacific Region; Dr.Chawapol Jariyawiroj, President and Mr. Surasak Wanichwatphibun, CTO of Huawei Technologies (Thailand) Co., Ltd. 

The competition held two selection rounds to get the ten finalist teams for the final pitching, held on September 28, 2021. The finalists were selected based on factors of market opportunity, service and business model, selling points, business opportunities, and team strengths.

The winning team will get USD 125,000 worth of cloud credit, and be eligible to participate in China’s Huawei Spark Program, the Huawei Spark Fire Program, and the Spark Go Program. The 2nd and 3rd placed winning teams will get USD 80,000 worth of cloud credit, and be eligible to participate in the Spark Go Program. The 4th and 5th placed winning teams will get USD 20,000 worth of cloud credit, and the 6th to 10th placed winning teams will get USD 5,000 worth of cloud credit. The three winning teams will be eligible to participate in the Huawei Spark Accelerator Program, which aims to incubate and elevate the growth of tech startup businesses in order to build a digital ecosystem. Huawei is collaborating with global tech leaders and experts from various industries to provide advice and consultation for Thai startups, access to global platforms and increase opportunities to build partner networks for business benefits and expansion, in addition to promoting products and services. Huawei is also providing consultation on investment as well as support on solutions and cloud credit to help encourage Thai startups to develop their own products and services.

The Spark Ignite 2021 – Thailand Start-up Competition is in accordance with Huawei’s commitment to support the Thailand 4.0 policy through digital skills incubation for Thai workers. In 2019, Huawei invested THB 180 million to establish the ‘Huawei ASEAN Academy’, which has trained more than 16,500 personnel to help SMEs and startups better understand technology and then be able to apply it to their business plans. Huawei also aims to train 100,000 IT professionals to acquire global skills within five years.

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