The Nation



New book to guide young entrepreneurs

The Nation

The Nation

Success is closer at hand thanks to the advent of technology, co-authors say

Dr Wilas Chamlertwat, Weera Chearanaipanit and Dr Theeraphol Tanomsakyut are the co-authors of a new book titled "Start-ups, Sia Yuk Mai" (New-Generation Millionaires), a guide for aspiring young entrepreneurs.

Unlike previous generations of entrepreneurs, today's generation has a better chance thanks to the advent of new technology, but success still requires hard work, innovation and other factors.

Wilas said: "Business start-ups mean the grouping of new-generation entrepreneurs. The original idea came from the US, where IT start-ups were prominent, as exemplified by the likes of Microsoft's Bill Gates or Apple's Steve Jobs using their homes and garages to start their businesses.

"Unlike in the US, venture capitalists are still minimal in Thailand, so start-ups here generally raise funds by themselves or from offshore sources.

"Many people start with their own pocket money and savings as well as the money from so-called angel investors who are already rich from the IT business and want the younger generation to be successful like them.

"Unlike the previous generations of millionaires, today's generation need to get rich by capitalising on intellectual properties and innovative ideas. The new generation of entrepreneurs is also much younger. Tao Kae Noi, who succeeded in the food and snack business, is a good example.

"In this book, there are a total of nine authors who focus on various components of business start-ups, including the proper business models."

Theeraphol said: "Most start-ups are begun by people who are very good at something such as computer programming but need others to help them be successful, such as incubators and venture capitalists.

"Incubators can help in terms of other fields of knowledge that the original innovator may lack, such as marketing and financial management, to fill the gaps.

"In fact, starting a business today is much easier than years or several decades ago in the sense that you don't need a huge amount of capital to invest in a factory or to hire workers or staff. [In the past], many could not launch their business because of the lack of funding, as banks also did not want to take risks with these new aspiring people.

"Today, the competitive advantage lies in your innovative ideas and intellectual properties, not funding or manpower requirements. Today, you can start up with two or three people in a bedroom creating new games and applications for smartphones and tablet computers."

Weera said: "In terms of formulating the proper business models, this book helps those with innovative ideas to learn how to turn their ideas into an actual business set-up. They also need to deal with prospective partners and customers, as well as funding sources and so on.

"Our case studies include tech-oriented and other cases. For example, a start-up in Phetchaburi province has gained prominence from providing a professional-quality photo-printing service to all users of Instagram worldwide.

"You don't bring your thumb-drives to the printing shop any more as many young people now take photos using the Instagram application. As a result, this Phetchaburi start-up offers the service online.

Anyone can send his or her favourite Instagram pics for printing in Thailand.

"It will take a while and the customers will get the photos enlarged and framed to the preferred size as well as mailed to his or her address.

"This start-up has no office in Bangkok and it doesn't [need] one anyway, since it does business online. Sales are now running to the tune of more than Bt100 million per year.

"The food business is another example in which you can be successful if you have unique recipes and use the franchise method for business expansion.

"In terms of start-up funding, I think it's better to use your own funds at the start and turn to banking sources later when the business is established and wants to expand. This way there is no interest expense at the outset.

"However, banks can help in terms of knowledge, networking, and mentoring. For example, Kasikornbank now helps a network of 600,000 SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] in Thailand, especially those with annual sales of Bt50 million or less.

"We particularly like those with innovative business ideas who use new technology to a significant extent."

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