WITH a budget of Bt1.28 billion, the Ministry of Industry’s Department of Industrial Promotion (DIP) aims to generate a business value of Bt13 billion in 2019 through bringing traditional small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) onto e-commerce platforms and boosting the country’s startup ecosystem through Thailand Inno Space – the ministry’s flagship project.
“Under the policy ‘From Local to Global by Marketing Innovation’, we aim to work with up to 57,000 SMEs throughout the year to empower them with the knowledge of how to increase their product value and survive in the digital technology by utilising e-commerce platforms,” DIP director-general, Kobchai Sungsitthisawad, yesterday told a press conference.
SMEs can now come to the DIP to seek advice on how to increase their online presence and shift from traditional stores to selling their products on e-commerce platforms, he said. The DIP will “coach” SMEs on the necessity of having an online presence in today’s market, increase their online presence through helping them create a website and Facebook account and, eventually, through helping establish an e-commerce account, Kobchai said.
“There are two key challenges in helping traditional SMEs shift to e-commerce. First, there are many competing e-commerce platforms that SMEs will have to get acquainted with. Second, e-commerce platforms may charge an entry fee of up to Bt50,000. Many SMEs still do not fully understand the opportunities that e-commerce bring, and hence some of them do not think that the fee is a worthwhile investment,” the director-general told reporters during a sideline interview.
Approximately 4,000 SMEs have been working with the DIP to increase their online presence since October last year, and 1,000 have already started to sell their products on e-commerce platforms.
When it comes to enhancing the country’s startup ecosystem, progress has been made on the Thailand Inno Space, an innovation hub for startups around the country to gather and exchange knowledge, as well as receive funding to do research and development on their products. Thailand Inno Space is modelled after Hong Kong’s Cyberport.
“Key parties from the private sector have agreed to jointly establish the Thailand Inno Space, which will be located in Rayong,” said Kobchai. “The Thailand Inno Space will also be expected to have a venture capital budget of around Bt500 million to fund startups in the country.
The key contributors are PTT Plc, expected to contribute Bt100 million, Thai Beverage Plc, expected to contribute Bt100 million, and CP All, expected to contribute another Bt100 million, according to the director-general. The DIP will host their annual Thailand Industry Expo event July 17-21 this year. Top SME and startup products will be selected for display at the event to increase their visibility and to attract funding.