The state-owned Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) on Friday launched an accelerator programme meant to help startups capitalise on the vast size of the Asean market.

Chatchai: Eye on giving startups foothold in Asean

The scheme welcomes startups with disruptive products in every sector, especially two-year-old startups in agriculture, healthcare and service tech.

The latest programme marks another government effort to empower and raise the standard of Thai startups, in addition to the 100-million-baht funding package Depa offered last year.

Chatchai Khunpitiluck, senior executive vice-president, said the agency joined hands with media content provider Techsauce for the latest programme, called “Depa accelerator program x Techsauce”.

“As of now, there are many programmes handled by the public and private sector offering funds and facilities to local startups, but it is still not enough,” he said.

Mr Chatchai said the scheme is focusing on building a startup ecosystem to cash in on the Asean market. That is why it is targeting startups that already have disruptive products or at least prototypes.

Submissions for the accelerator programme run from July 15 to Aug 15. The 20 best startups will be selected by a committee on Sept 7 at the latest. The programme runs from October to December.

Twenty finalists will receive coaching from the world’s leading mentors, allowing them to learn specific skill sets for goal-setting and personal development.

In addition, the local instructors will also guide and train the selected startups before getting the chance to pitch their ideas to investors on Jan 23.

The winner will receive 500,000 baht cash and have a chance to attend an international startup competition.

There will also be special prizes from Amazon Web Services and Hubba, Thailand’s leading co-working space.

“Compared with existing programmes, we see a gap that Depa can fill to support Thailand’s tech ecosystem and connect local and global entrepreneurs,” he said.

Mr Chatchai said the strength of the latest programme harnesses both public and private sector expertise, with coaches who collectively have decades of experience in improving the technology ecosystem.

“We expect to draw a huge number of applicants because this is a well-rounded and well-designed programme that meets the demands of startups,” he said.

Depa president Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin said the agency hopes to see the number of Thai startups reach 10,000 by 2037.

Based on the roadmap toward a value-added economy, more innovative tech is needed for all industrial sectors and services.

Of those 10,000 startups, at least 60% are projected to work in innovative connectivity like the Internet of Things.



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