Thailand to innovate with $34m NIA fund

Thailand’s National Innovation Agency is set to create a $34m investment initiative and an accelerator program, supported by Huawei, to foster innovation in the country.

Thailand government-owned National Innovation Agency (NIA) is planning a ฿1.2bn ($34m) investment program to work with international VC firms to establish the country as a startup hub, according to The Nation.

NIA was set up in 2003 by the Ministry of Science and Technology with the objective of developing innovation and launching new initiatives in the country to promote national productivity and competitiveness.

The agency is working with Israel-based VC firm AGW and China-based consumer electronics manufacturer Huawei to launch an accelerator program designed to introduce knowledge from other countries to local startups.

Those taking part in the program will receive three months’ training from AGW and Huawei, after which they can pitch for joint ventures and tap into funding from international VCs.

The program will accept 12 startups in the first phase and is expected to start in the second half of 2017.

Further, NIA is working with 30 universities to develop co-working environments and to encourage 100 startups.

The agency will offer ฿100,000 each to students from those institutions to take 500 ideas from concept to prototype development to help promote entrepreneurialism.

NIA is particularly targeting projects in the property, e-commerce, fintech, agritech, lifestyle, industry 4.0, government, health and food-related sectors.

Pun-Arj Chairatana, director at NIA, said: “This is the first time that the NIA and the government have joined hands with foreign venture capital firms and governments to support Thai startups.

“We have signed a memorandum of understanding with AGW and Huawei to run the global accelerator program. 

“The agency will also collaborate with the Israel Innovation Authority to develop startups and smart small and medium-sized enterprises in the kingdom. We want to create awareness about startups around the country, so that it has a new economic combatant.”

See more from this Government Report: Thailand

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