BDS+ Special Focus Thailand: Three reasons to join a Training of Trainers in Thailand
SEED ToTs grants business development service (BDS) advisors access to SEED tools, networks, hubs, and more.
SEED ToTs grants business development advisors (BDS) access to SEED tools, network and hub, helping you connect with peers, government and corporate actors, and inviting you to help build the ecosystem in the country.
Read on to find out more about the opportunities SEED Training of Trainers (ToTs) bring to business development service providers in a highly vibrant entrepreneurship environment.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play an essential role in enhancing Thailand’s economic growth. SMEs make up 99% of the total enterprises registered in Thailand and accounted for 43% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018. To strengthen the SME sector, the government has started intensifying its focus on SME development in 2016. Corporate actors also play an essential role in fostering entrepreneurship. Kanokvalee (Pom) Viriyaprapaikit, founder of Volunteer Forward Asia tells us how some of these corporate actors are adjusting their investment portfolios, gearing up towards technologies and materials that support green businesses.
Over the past years, the amount of eco-inclusive SMEs has increased rapidly in Thailand. Ms. Viriyaprapaikit, along with some of her colleagues, has witnessed this growth. Just a few years ago, she says, “it was hard to find eco-inclusive enterprises […], but now the change can be perceived, that explains what is happening in the Thai ecosystem, suddenly people become aware”.
But Thailand’s ecosystem is characterised by early stage enterprises that struggle to turn their strengths and ideas into businesses, even when market actors are strong in innovation and pursuing social causes. In a market Ms. Viriyaprapaikit knows well, green energy, she sees Accelerator programs and corporate actors in green energy investing, focused on investing outside instead of within Thailand. Ms. Viriyaprapaikit said that this is because start-ups in Thailand are in their early stages and technologies are not alway compliant to international standards; they are not “modelled for business yet”.
As in many markets, Thai start-ups also have difficulties accessing funding. “The ecosystem is not in place yet, there is no strong funding community that can help them [start-ups] to fund their businesses” says Ms. Viriyaprapaikit. Besides funding, it is also difficult for start-ups to find industry experts to aid them. One example is difficulty in developing green prototype solutions, because it is difficult within the weak ecosystem to match or find experts to help the start-ups solve their technical problems. Thus, Ms. Viriyaprapaikit witnesses that their “learning curve takes longer” since they have to develop the prototypes themselves. Finally, it is also challenging for BDS advisors to provide full quality services to the enterprises. In this developing ecosystem, many BDS advisors do not (yet) have the level of expertise required for the large variety of business models and also lack a proper set of tools to offer a standardised method.
So, what does SEED offer?
1. A standardised, proven method
SEED offers standardised, toolified quality training serving a wide-range of early stage eco-inclusive business models - from idea, start-up to growth-stage enterprises.
The adaptability of the tools allows for its use in very different business models and contexts, allowing their use by a large number of enterprises. And furthermore, their adaptability allows for easy incorporation of new insights into the trainings. So, BDS providers do not only gain tools and methodology knowledge through the ToTs, but they can also contribute their expertise into the training and tools.
The result is enterprises receive a complete quality training from expert BDS providers, obtaining high quality results by developing a clear business model with which they can go forward. As Ms. Viriyaprapaikit shares, through the training offered by BDS providers and the peer learning, enterprises obtain “a clear picture of a business model and hopefully a prototype solution that they [the enterprises] are comfortable with going ”.
2. Opportunity to join like-minded peers in building the ecosystem in Thailand
SEED ToTs provide opportunities to strengthen your network and to connect with other like-minded Thai based organisations.
SEED connects BDS providers through its platform and network. By increasing collaboration between ToT participants and other BDS+ service providers, you can continue to improve your skills and knowledge. By joining a ToT, you join a network of BDS providers, building up the Thai ecosystem both by enhancing your own capacities and strengthening your connections with other actors. Strengthening an ecosystem geared towards the social and environmental issues and acceleration programmes, nourishes the SME sector in the country overall.
Furthermore, by being able to connect to experts and other actors, you can build the critical mass and collective actions needed to further the development of eco-inclusive enterprises.
3. Tap into SEED events and meet financial, government and corporate players
SEED Thailand is the SEED contact point in Thailand tasked with developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Thailand. By joining a ToT, you connect to the SEED hub and online platform which can connect you with relevant financial, government and corporate players.
Furthermore, by being part of the network you have the opportunity to join SEED events such as Symposia and Dialogue Fora, in which you can connect to different actors, including financial institutions, thus being able to bring enterprises and investors together.
By tapping into the SEED network, you can tap into expertise of other sectors and players co-creating prototype solutions with different experts and thought leaders, helping BDS providers in offering a full range of quality options to enterprises.
 OECD (2018), "Thailand", in Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2018: An OECD Scoreboard, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/fin_sme_ent-2018-52-en.
 Munkingsujarit, S. (2016). Business Incubation Model for Startup Company and SME in Developing Economy: A Case of Thailand. Proceedings of PICMET ’16: Technology Management for Social Innovation. Technology Management for Social Innovation.