Ambitions for startup hub boosted by GEN Asia deal

Economy September 22, 2017 01:00

By   JIRAPAN BOONNOON
THE NATION

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THE government has signed memorandums of understanding (MoU) with nine members of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) to set up GEN Asia as part of efforts for Thailand to become a hub of startup ventures.



 Thailand’s ambitions for growth in startups are backed by Bt27 billion in venture capital funds.

Pichet Durongkaveroj, the Minister for Digital Economy and Society, said Thailand is set to dominate as startup hub in Asia given the country’s high potential growth for startup ventures.

Thailand has more than 5,000 startups in areas such as financial technology, agricultural technology and health technology.

The ministry also aims to boost startups in the education sector and the corporate arena with the participation of 30 universities nationwide in programmes to |support students develop their business ideas.

The collaboration for the GEN Asia project will see Thailand work with China, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Pakistan, Vietnam, Myanmar, and India.

The project will support the development of startups in Asia.

Pichet said that with the MOUs signed, Thailand will act as a collaborative centre to support the GEN Asia initiative, with a first meeting planned for November in Thailand. GEN has 165 member countries.

He said the private sector, public sector, the banking sector and Stock Exchange of Thailand have contributed the Bt27 billion in funds to support the development of the startup ecosystem in the country. 

The minister said GEN Asia marks the second such regional collaboration to boost startups, following the establishment of GEN Africa early this year. 

“Thailand has the creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit to be a digital hub in the region,” Pichet said. “We have aims to become the go-to destination for entrepreneurs from the world’s innovation hubs to target Southeast Asia’s highly populated, fast-growing economies. Thailand is seeking to generate 25 per cent of GDP through the digital technology industry by 2027.”