Prime Minister to visit Phuket this month

PHUKET: Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha is to visit Phuket on September 16 for the regional launch of a new nationwide initiative aimed at helping budding local businesses get off the ground and into the international arena of digital commerce.

The Startup Thailand 2016 campaign was launched by the prime minister in Bangkok in April as a joint government and private sector collaboration between 11 agencies to bring businesses up to date with contemporary international commercial practices and trends.

The Phuket seminar is scheduled to take place September 16-18 at Royal Phuket Marina with Gen Prayuth leading an entourage of about 200 experts, including Science and Technology minister Dr Pichet Durongkaveroj and Information and Communications Technology minister Dr Uttama Savanayana.

Phuket Vice Governor Kajornkiet Rakpanitmanee said on August 30 that keynote talks on the opening day of the seminar would include ‘Phuket as a Smart City and Startup Paradise’. The opening day activities will also include a panel discussion titled ‘Start-up and New Investment Opportunities in Thailand’.

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Among the agencies participating in the drive are the ministries of Information and Communication Technology; Commerce; Finance; Industry, Foreign Affairs, Tourism and Sports; Education; and Agriculture and Cooperatives. They are joined by the SMEs Service Center and community organization Pracha Rath.

About 2,000 new businesses have been launched around the country in the past year and the organizers of Startup Thailand are hoping to help many more get access to information and technology so as to push Thailand as an ASEAN hub of digital innovation.

“One of the goals of Startup Thailand is to bring together talented people from a variety of different start-up companies from a broad spectrum of product and service sectors,” said Dr Pichet.

“Entrepreneurs can unleash their creativity by networking and exchanging ideas to formulate new business models for the future. New connections will be made and venture capital opportunities will arise to drive the country’s economy forward in the digital age,” he added.

Startup Thailand is heavily supported with strategic application-of-technology public organizations such as the Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA), the Electronic Transactions Development Agency, the Electronic Government Agency (EGA), Thailand Post, CAT Telecoms and the Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT).

“This multi-sector collaboration will create more jobs, more income and a higher standard of living for the country, resulting in more stability, prosperity and sustainability,” he said.

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— Sukawin Tanthavanich

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