Southeast Asia’s start-up ecosystem has been booming recently, being earmarked as one of the most attractive destinations for investors. Thailand, in particular, is a nascent market for entrepreneurship. The Thai government has been working to build the country’s tech ecosystem in recent years.
The National Innovation Agency, a government agency aimed at encouraging innovation, overhauled its financial support programme for start-ups to help move progress along quicker and allowing them to access THB44 billion in funding.
The agency’s main goal is to build 3,000 innovation-based start-ups in the next decade, to nurture the start-up ecosystem and generate growth. It also works in partnership with True Digital Park (TDPK), the country’s first and Southeast Asia’s largest digital innovation hub.
Based in Bangkok, the global start-up destination is a playground of sorts for innovation, providing space for work and daily living in an integrated community. Initiatives like these really emphasise Thailand’s dedication to a digital transformation.
When talking about digital transformations, the first thing to come to mind for most people is simply shifting daily manual processes and activities into a digital framework. However, the process is far more complex than that.
A digital transformation in the business context involves fundamentally changing the way a firm operates and delivers value. It also encompasses cultural change that requires organisations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure.
Thailand’s TDPK is where such digital transformations can find their genesis. With the sheer amount of talent and investment that the park brings together, it provides crucial knowledge creation that is supportive of digital innovations. By positioning itself as a hub where innovation thrives and sprawls, TDPK empowers the region’s startup ecosystem and boosts its potential exponentially.
Bridging the Region Together
In September 2019, TDPK held a tech conference, Togetherness of Possibilities, which aimed to inspire and share knowledge and experiences among startups, businesses, and government agencies.
New technologies and innovation labs were exhibited by partners of the space, from public and private sectors, as well as top executives and entrepreneurs whose work is designed at driving more sustainable digital economic development in Thailand and the SEA region.
Innovation and digital technology are the driving forces behind digital transformation especially for enterprises and industries that need to change their business model and apply digital technology to create added value for products and services.
Digital technology also plays an important role in making communities, societies, healthcare, and the environment better. It reduces the income divide and helps to sustainably create prosperity for Thailand. True Digital Park has been developed to increase Thailand’s competence through innovation, creativity, and technology. All these factors combine to create sustainable economic growth in the long run.
The conference provided an excellent opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to meet with experts and highly-rated speakers from leading companies and start-ups from Thailand, as well as other countries.
Integration and Support from the Region
- It has been made apparent that there is a need in Southeast Asian tech ecosystems to integrate and support one another.
- Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand already have programmes to help ASEAN start-ups. Joining forces would enable data sharing and thereby encourage investments.
- Most venture capitals do not only think about investing in one country; they see it as investing in Southeast Asia as a whole. Hence, there is a need to collaborate and use existing programmes as landing and launching pads, and exchange programmes, to help start-ups.
- Congregations of tech players like TDPK’s Togetherness of Possibilities are essential in building networks and strengthening local startups in the region.
TDPK’s Role in Thailand’s Digital Transformation
TDPK reflects Thailand’s commitment to sustainable development in both the country and the region. It recognises the difficulties local start-ups face when it comes to accessing investors or the wider market, and how they lack deep technology and are actively creating opportunities and putting in measures that will help these start-ups gain a more global perspective. Despite being slow to start with, the Thai ecosystem is gaining speed and attracting attention from all around the world.
TDPK recently announced the completion of its start-up ecosystem, reinforcing how prepared it is to drive the regional digital economy forward.
TDPK’s focus on building a complete start-up ecosystem that encourages connectivity and knowledge-sharing has driven its mission to help start-ups and tech entrepreneurs reach their full potential forward. In order for this innovation hub to thrive, TDPK and other Thai agencies, both public and private, must seek out more collaborations and capital from other Southeast Asian hubs.