New centre in Bangkok helps Singapore start-ups access market in Thailand

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SINGAPORE – A new centre was launched in Bangkok on Wednesday (Sept 18) to help local start-ups spread their wings into Thailand.

Located at innovation space True Digital Park (TDPK), it is the second international centre set up by the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE), a private-sector-led organisation to drive entrepreneurship and innovation in Singapore. The first one was opened in Nanjing earlier this year.

The centres provide a support framework when start-ups start operating in unfamiliar markets, including access to business matching events and legal advisory sessions, an ACE statement said on Wednesday.

The one in Bangkok is open to start-ups and enterprises across all industries, and is a collaboration between TDPK and ACE which signed a memorandum of understanding last year.

“Given the limited size of Singapore’s domestic market, internationalisation is core to the growth strategies of startups which are founded and based in Singapore,” ACE said in a statement on Wednesday.

In conjunction with the launch of the Bangkok centre, a delegation of 14 Singapore start-ups interested in expanding to Thailand took part in a four-day market immersion programme to explore potential business opportunities.

Among the participating start-ups were container logistics firm Haulio and agri-tech firm Smart Animal Husbandry Care.

Mr Alvin Ea, co-founder and chief executive of Haulio, said that the centre’s connectivity to the local tech and innovation ecosystem was beneficial for a growing start-up.

“The ability to localise and source for a strong and reliable local partner is one of the greatest challenges for any startup with the ambition to internationalise,” Mr Ea said, adding that the programme has helped Haulio connect with authorities and local companies to support its launch into Thailand.

Mr Howard Tang, co-founder and chief technology officer of Smart Animal Husbandry Care, said that the immersion programme allowed him to gain new insights for his firm.

While stakeholders in Singapore and China provided perspectives on corporate efficiencies, he said he gained insights in Thailand on the application of technology to help suppliers sell their products to farmers and improve farmers’ revenue income.

“In an increasingly uncertain and homogeneous Southeast Asian region, it is important as fellow ecosystem developers to come together as friends, support one another, and help our startups regionalise and gain strong footholds in the markets that are of strategic significance to them,” Mr Edmas Neo, ACE chief executive, was quoted as saying.

An MOU between ACE and the Singapore-Thai Chamber of Commerce, which promotes and develops economic and social relations between the two countries, was also signed on Wednesday.

Under the MOU, companies in both bodies will benefit from access to community events, workshops, programmes, business contacts, and investor networks, among others.