The government is working on financial tools to help raise funds for information technology start-ups.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is in the process of drafting new regulations related to crowdfunding to allow startup tech companies, which have innovative ideas, to raise funds or contributions from a large number of people via the internet.
Additionally, the government plans to set up a new venture capital fund to invest in tech SMEs, which have high potential to generate a return of 10-12 times in the coming years.
Thaweesak Koanantakool, president of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and a member of the digital economy working committee, said the crowdfunding scheme would enable SMEs to raise funds of 50,000 to 50 million baht for each innovative project.
The NSTDA's Technology Management Center will expand its role to serve as business development mentor and incubate start-ups.
Deputy Prime Minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula said Thailand urgently needed to embrace information communications and technology to drive the economy.
"The country needs to build a new type of SME, one that uses innovation to grow its business and generate wealth for the entire economy," he said.
Thais lead digital-focused lifestyles rather than using digital technology to conduct business.
The country has 26 million internet users, 28 million Facebook accounts and 33 million Line accounts including 94 million mobile numbers.
In contrast, the private sector still uses paper invoices, costing 3 billion baht a year.
If companies used e-invoices, they could save a lot on expenses.
To drive the country towards the digital economy, MR Pridiyathorn said the country required cooperation between the government and the private sector as well as from Thais themselves.
Five areas are considered essential to drive a digital economy successfully.
First, the country should develop hard infrastructure including affordable broadband internet, internet gateways and data centres.
Second, soft infrastructure should cover laws, standards and security to boost consumer confidence to conduct online transactions and e-commerce.
The third area will improve service infrastructure as the country's main business platform for e-logistics and e-commerce.
The fourth area is promoting the digital economy by enhancing digital skills and creativity to support digital adoption in key sectors such as banking, health care and services.
Fifth is building a digital society, one that ensures equal access to networks and information for all.
Reference : SUCHIT LEESA-NGUANSUK. 2014. Incubating IT start-ups on the cards. Bangkok Post. 14 November 2014, p. B3