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DEPA Thailand, UOB Thai and The Finlab join hands to help Thai SMEs with digital transformation

DEPA Thailand

The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) of Thailand, United Overseas Bank (Thai)
(UOB(Thai)), and The FinLab have signed
a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a Smart Business
Transformation programme aimed at helping Thai SMEs with digital
transformation. This is part of the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) Bangkok, which
was launched
on 27 April, to connect Singapore startups and students to the Thai tech
ecosystem for innovation and partnerships

DEPA, under the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society of
Thailand was established to promote and support the development of digital
industry and innovation and the digital technology adoption in order to achieve
economic, social, cultural and security benefits. DEPA’s projects include
supporting the growth of start-ups and its ecosystem through various funds and
incentives, developing smart cities with new technology to improve the
well-being of Thai people, as well as establishing Digital
Park Thailand
to be the next digital research and development hub of the
ASEAN region.

The FinLab, a joint venture between UOB and  SGInnovate (a private-limited
company wholly-owned by the Singapore Government which aims to develop the deep
tech ecosystem in Singapore), accelerates the growth of technology start-ups as
well as the business transformation of SMEs.

The Smart Business Transformation programme, the first of
its kind in Thailand, will help SMEs develop and deepen their digital
capabilities. Through the programme, the SMEs will be able to tap on the
insights and practical guidance provided by DEPA, UOB (Thai) and The FinLab’s
network of industry experts, mentors and technology leaders.

Selected SMEs will be guided by DEPA, UOB (Thai) and The
FinLab as they identify problem statements in their business and processes that
can be optimised with technology solutions, and equip themselves with the tools
and knowledge required to innovate. The FinLab will then curate and shortlist
suitable technology solutions and help the participating SMEs with the pilot
implementation of the solutions.

DEPA recognises the increasing need and desire of Thai SMEs
to plug into the opportunities that have opened up in the region with
digitalisation. This is in line with Thailand’s Digital
Government Plan 2017-2021
where the Government aims to develop digital
capabilities within all sectors, including agriculture, tourism, education, the
medical profession, investment, disaster prevention, and public administration,
in order to drive economic and social progress.

Dr Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, President and CEO of DEPA,
said, “I believe that the digital transformation strategy for SMEs will be
sustainable and will create benefit for everyone in the global digital market.
Digital transformation will result in continued business growth despite
economic challenges by helping to reduce the costs of business, stimulating
investment, boosting employment, and increasing revenues. This will help make
our SMEs stronger and more future-ready.”

Mr Tan Choon Hin, President and CEO of UOB (Thai), said, “At
UOB, we have been helping SMEs to seize opportunities, to overcome business
challenges and to benefit from the use of digital solutions for many years. For
example, we recently launched UOB BizSmart, a cloud-based integrated digital
solution that provides Thai SMEs with a simple and cost-effective way to manage
their administrative processes. We also understand that for SMEs to undertake
digital transformation successfully, they must first ensure that they have a
business model that enables them to compete in the new operating environment.
Under this MOU, Thai SMEs will be able to connect with the right partners as
they transform their business models and to acquire the technological know-how
to improve their operational performance and to enhance their customer

Mr Felix Tan, Managing Director of The FinLab, said, “I am
very excited to work with DEPA and UOB (Thai). Both organisations bring very
tangible value to the entire equation in helping identify the industries for
which the programme will start. They will also make available their resources
such as industry experts and business mentors, grants and relevant banking and
financial services to the participating SMEs and solution providers. The
digital economy is set to grow by US$1 trillion in gross domestic product by
2025 here in ASEAN alone and I am very happy to have the support and commitment
from DEPA and UOB (Thai) to help SMEs in Thailand start their transformation


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