Cabinet funds $1 billion innovation plan

Thailand’s Cabinet committed over $1 billion last week for an eight-year plan to raise the Kingdom’s research and development, and innovation capabilities for national competitiveness. Meanwhile, a global group of ‘angel investors’ who fund promising startups said they will open an office in Thailand.

The government intends to steer some of the $1 billion into research and development (R&D) projects to address Thailand’s problems. These include mounting waste problem, reduce ultra-fine dust particles in the air that damage health, and quantum technology, said Ratchada Thanadirek, Deputy Government Spokeswoman.

The ministries involved in science, technology, industries, the economy, and health increasingly believe the Kingdom needs to use modern R&D to deal with its economic and social challenges. “We have many projects and clear indicators to assess their outcomes,” Ratchada said.

The government is also determination to lift the Kingdom’s ranking in the annual global competitiveness report by the Institute for Management and Development (IMD). Thailand is ranked 30th in the world by the IMD in competitiveness.

Startups are among the most innovative companies in Thailand, but one challenge they face if funding. The government plan will devote some of its resource to startups, but more help is on the way from the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF).

Angel investors are wealthy individuals who invest capital in startups before more cautious mainstream investors are willing. The WBAF is affiliated with the G20 and lsois dedicated to directing finance flows to entrepreneurs to power economic development.

The WBAF said it is working with the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) to open an office in Thailand. The office could help build a local and regional community of startups and innovators.

The WBAF said it has helped build angel investor networks in 60 countries. The organization said there are about 600,000 angel investors around the world.

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