BANGKOK, 18 February 2015 – Microsoft (Thailand) Limited continues to drive Thailand’s digital development in partnership with the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) under the Ministry of Science and Technology by establishing  the Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) at  the NSTDA’s central Bangkok facility in Yothi Road.

One of 113 MICs in 37 countries globally, the Microsoft Innovation Center @NSTDA provides world-class resources and support for IT students, entrepreneurs and startups through practical training courses, employment and internship programs as well as mentoring experiences. This is intended to accelerate the development of a strong local IT workforce, creation of new companies and jobs, and growth of the local IT ecosystem, which is expected to see spending increase 10.5% from 2014 to reach US$3.4 billion in 2015 . Initially founded in 2008 in partnership with the NSTDA, the Association of the Thai Software Industry and Rangsit University at the University’s Sathorn Thani campus, the MIC is now re-launched at the NSTDA’s central Bangkok facility in Yothi Road.

At the opening event, Dr. Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of Science and Technology noted that, “The Ministry of Science and Technology is committed to driving Thailand’s digital economy and under the Digital Economy Promotion, the government will develop the digital skills and innovation of entrepreneurs to improve their efficiency and utilize IT to support local small and medium-sized enterprises. Pursuing partnerships with the private sector, such as the one today with Microsoft, will benefit the development of our workforce. Since 2008 we have been working with Microsoft to build Thailand’s digital future, and today’s establishment of the Microsoft Innovation Center in the heart of NSTDA’s Yothi Road facility represents the further strengthening of this relationship. This is an important time for the IT industry as Thailand moves towards a digital economy; we are expecting technology to contribute to the growth of the country. We have high hopes that Thai SMEs, if equipped with the technology and tools, will greatly enhance their competitiveness against the bigger players on the global stage.”

Dr. Thaweesak Koanantakool, President of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), said, “NSTDA sees the importance in establishing a closer collaboration between the private and government sectors to accelerate the development of a strong local IT ecosystem that is ready and competitive in the new era. Our partnership with Microsoft aims to bring world-class resources and support to develop and incubate the next-generation digital workforce and entrepreneurs through Skills Development in partnership with the NSTDA Academy, to create applications and services that increase SMEs’ efficiency and competitiveness on devices and cloud through Apps Development in partnership with the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC), and lastly to build a strong ecosystem by fostering innovation and entrepreneurship through incubation programs, Microsoft Bizspark and Microsoft Ventures.”

Haresh Khoobchandani, Managing Director, Microsoft (Thailand) Limited, added, “Since our establishment in Thailand 20 years ago, Microsoft has been committed to improving the lives of Thais through our vision “We Make 70 Million Lives Better”. The Microsoft Innovation Center strengthens Thailand’s IT ecosystem through skills development, encouraging innovation, and providing startups with access to tools and business opportunities. Microsoft believes that through facilities like the MIC, we can achieve real impact for Thailand in building an IT ecosystem that will lay strong foundations for the prosperity of Thailand in the 21st century. And we are proud to help Thailand reap the full benefits of the Digital Economy through our partnership with the National Science and Technology Development Agency under the Ministry of Science and Technology.”

For the past 20 years, Microsoft has been empowering Thailand’s IT ecosystem.  Since 2008, the MIC has trained more than 3,000 students in application development. The Center offers an intensive internship program that prepares students for real-world jobs in the IT industry, with much of the training they receive being hands-on for real clients: more than 1,000 Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps have been created through the Center, including apps for top brands like Thai Airways, PTT, SF Cinema, and Thairath. More than 50 Thai startups have been founded through the MIC, with many more young developers finding employment in the MIC network. More than 400 Thai Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) have been supported through the MIC and its related initiatives including Microsoft’s BizSpark, Startup Weekend, and the Imagine Cup technology competition.

Arnon Boonyapravase, Co-Founder of Tech Farm, a promising local startup founded by a group of interns who graduated from MIC, said, “What started out as a pursuit of passion in software development has evolved into an exciting journey that led to where we are today. Through the internship at MIC, we were able to expand on our capabilities and develop the foundation of our Len-Din app. The internship also introduced us to the Imagine Cup which gave us an opportunity to enhance Len-Din further as an application, and the subsequent success has led to the founding of Tech Farm, with support from Microsoft BizSpark. Through Microsoft, we were also connected to Microsoft Ventures as we take Tech Farm and Len-Din to the next level.”

Natavudh Pungcharoenpong, Founder and CEO of Ookbee, who has employed three graduate interns from MIC, added, “From an employer’s point of view, a stable, well-trained workforce is essential for business sustainability and expansion. Here in Thailand, recruiting young IT professionals who have had a certain level of experience in real software development can prove to be a challenge. The Microsoft Innovation Center, however, has helped address this challenge through their intensive internship program that encompasses hands-on training and exposure to clients and technical know-how. Having recruited several outstanding interns who graduated from MIC, I look forward to the prospects of a strong IT workforce in Thailand.”

In its new location at NSTDA, the MIC will also contribute trainers and knowledge to the NSTDA Academy while providing computing resources through Microsoft Azure for Research to the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) under NSTDA. The Microsoft Azure Cloud fully embraces openness and the use of almost any programming language, being flexible and well suited for creating and scaling the technologies developed by NECTEC to an international level. The MIC will also be working with NSTDA’s Software Park to implement Microsoft’s BizSpark entrepreneurship program, providing technology, support, and visibility to promising startups.

The Microsoft Innovation Center @NSTDA is fully committed to upholding Microsoft’s values in the utilization of technology by bringing the utmost benefits of technology to society while ensuring the privacy and security of users’ information.

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About Microsoft 
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

About Microsoft Thailand
Established in 1993, Microsoft (Thailand) Limited aims to Make 70 Million Lives Better by enabling Thai people and businesses to realize their full potential through technology that transforms the way people work, play, and communicate. We offer software, services, and devices that deliver new opportunities, greater convenience, and enhanced value to people's lives. Working with communities and the Thai government, Microsoft and its partners are committed to working closely with organizations and people across Thailand to fully harness the power of technology and innovation.

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For further information, (press) please contact:
Pornravee Suramool or Cheryl Yab
Hill+Knowlton Strategies Thailand
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