Takeaways from the Benchmarking Trip on MSME Development and Innovation in Thailand

This year, UP ISSI held its very first benchmarking trip with the purpose of establishing international linkages and partnerships to help achieve a better understanding and innovative perspective towards MSME support services. The UP ISSI management believes that the global economic landscape needs to be explored and considered in upgrading its services. It is imperative to derive lessons from the experiences of other economies in the ASEAN region, such as Thailand.

Takeaways from the Benchmarking Trip on MSME Development and Innovation in Thailand
The participants of the benchmarking trip to Thailand, headed by Dr. Fidel R. Nemenzo and Dr. Aleli B. Bawagan at Suang Foong Organic Farm

Done last June 3-9, 2019, the UP ISSI Director, Dr. Aleli B. Bawagan, with members of the Executive Committee and senior staff, along with the UPD Vice Chancellor for Research and Development, Dr. Fidel R. Nemenzo, and an IP and Technology Transfer Officer from OVCRD, went to Bangkok for the Benchmarking Trip on MSME Development and Innovation in Thailand. At the end of the trip, the members of the delegation learned about the scale of institutional support given to the SMEs in Thailand, observed best practices in SME promotion, and envisioned possible improvements in the various service streams of UP ISSI and OVCRD to its MSME-beneficiaries and industry stakeholders. On June 14, 2019, an echo session to the staff was done to share the experiences and learnings of the team to their colleagues.

Takeaways from the Benchmarking Trip on MSME Development and Innovation in Thailand

From the consolidated insights of the team, here are some takeaways from the institutions visited during the benchmarking trip (arranged in no particular order):

On entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship:

  •  “Entrepreneurs are people who turn ideas into impact or business…Entrepreneurship is a skill; you need practitioners to teach in addition to the academics.”
    – Siam Innovation District

On social entrepreneurship:

  • “We have a triple bottom line: environmental wellbeing, social cohesion, and economic stability… We cultivate the people when we cultivate the land.”
    – Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage

On ideation:

  • “The business idea should solve the ‘why’ problem.”
    – RISE Accel Co., Ltd.
  •  “The business should ‘meet’ the ‘unmet.’”
    – Institute for Small and Medium Enterprise Development

On innovation:

  •  “Innovation can come from anything, not only in the sciences fields but also in the arts, like liberal arts and fine arts.”
    – Siam Innovation District
  •  “Grassroots innovation: innovation doesn’t need to be high tech. Innovation may start even from community-based enterprises.”
    – Office of SMEs Promotion

On FIRE and technology transfer:

  • “People have to upscale to catch up with technology. The educational system also needs to catch up as some skills are already obsolete. The landscape is not the same anymore.”
    – Studio Hive Co., Ltd.
  •  “Together we can go far, so we need to share [technologies].”
    – Siam Innovation District

On the challenges in marketing technologies and researches:

  • “The challenge is the ‘valley of death:’ how to transform technologies to products…Here we assist our technology business start ups from their early stage (to scale up); from pre-incubation up to post-incubation.”
    – National Science and Technology Development Agency
  • “The challenge is bringing the researches to the market. Nine out of ten start ups die, so here we provide the ‘sandbox’ for start ups to do something new.
    – Siam Innovation District


* With inputs from Ms. Senedith A. Delos Reyes.

* Stay tuned for the upcoming release of the 40th issue of The ISSI News, the official newsletter of the UP Institute for Small-Scale Industries, focusing on the Benchmarking Trip on MSME Development and Innovation in Thailand, plus a special feature on the two Gawad Tsanselor 2019 awardees from UP ISSI.


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