KBank, NSTDA and TRF Promote Food Innovation

Stocks and Financial Services Press Releases Wednesday February 14, 2018 13:24
Bangkok--14 Feb--KASIKORNBANK

KASIKORNBANK (KBank) is teaming up with the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and Thailand Research Fund (TRF) to implement a research project for food business. The project seeks to advance and disseminate knowledge gained from specialists in each business field, further business skills development via in-depth training and even offers THB100,000 in prizes, as well as research and development (R&D) funding and access to extensive distribution channels to strengthen food producers' operations. Those interested can apply to join the project at www.ksmegoodtogreat.com.

Mr. Surat Leelataviwat, KBank Executive Vice President, said that the food industry is one of Thailand's key industries, because Thai food products are exported all over the world; it was valued at THB619.2 billion in 2017 and that is expected to reach THB653.3 billion in 2018, thus would represent growth of 4.50-6.50 percent YoY. This confirms its importance to the national economy.

For this reason, KBank has decided to collaborate with the NSTDA and TRF in an innovation R&D for food processing business, with the primary objective of encouraging SMEs to use R&D to bolster their business potential. Most importantly, this program is intended to ensure that participating SMEs will be able to undertake practical improvements to their products via R&D after completing the training, which would definitely differ from other general training courses found elsewhere. The training in this program comprises three components: 1) a seminar offering trends in, and an overview of, current food processing business; 2) a four-day intensive training session with experts; only 50 applicants will be shortlisted to it; and, 3) a personal advisory service toward conducting their own R&D projects. Only the five best performers in the program will be awarded THB100,000 each toward R&D funding, plus an opportunity to access to numerous product distribution channels. KBank anticipates that the program will help upgrade and strengthen SMEs in the Thai food processing industry, so that they become more sustainable and competitive globally. In addition, if SMEs want to enhance their business potential through R&D in cooperation with the NSTDA and TRF, KBank is ready to support them with funding via special loans.

Dr. Thitapha Smitinont, NSTDA Executive Vice President, said that NSTDA's main missions are to conduct R&D to support the industrial sector overall, and our society, as well as offering efficient technology management, current know-how and practical solutions for the industrial sector. NSTDA's highly competent research personnel are ready to analyze the problems and needs of companies in the industrial sector, as well as assist producers toward implementing the use of appropriate technologies to increase productivity and improve product quality. Through the Innovation and Technology Assistance Program (ITAP), NSTDA helps SMEs to develop innovative technologies because it has been found that Thai SMEs in general have few opportunities to access new technical innovations relevant to their businesses. In recent years, the NSTDA has undertaken over 7,000 projects to help SMEs via ITAP.

This food production R&D project will increase business operators' access to an extensive pool of knowledge that they can apply to their own R&D and enhance their essential business skills. In addition, member businesses can get R&D support, which is a crucial factor toward success. These undertakings serve as tools that can add value to the business sector by utilizing the strengths of the three cooperating agencies to speedily assist the industrial sector. The program creates a vital link that can genuinely connect new scientific, technological innovations and other developments to industries.

Associate Professor Dr. Pongpan Kaewtatip, TRF Director of Industry Division, said that, over recent years, the private sector has been steadily turning to R&D work, especially toward the development of new products. This project increases their access to new enhancements. The three agencies have thus formed a partnership to promote and support entrepreneurs comprehensively, especially in their research budgets, product R&D, new business/product innovations, e.g., packaging designs, plus know-how and skills training toward business operations, which would all prepare them for expanding their businesses into new distribution channels. The three agencies also jointly select entrepreneurs using criteria that includes the substance of the applicants' concepts and determination to see it through to fruition, plus their enthusiasm and visions toward marketing and applicable consumer segments. TRF hopes that the project will benefit SMEs who should then be able to develop better products and add value to them to achieve tangible commercial success and earn more income.

Interested SMEs can apply for participation in the program starting today. More information can be obtained at www.ksmegoodtogreat.com ,or at the K BIZ Contact Center, Tel. 02 888 8822.

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