NIA follows Paris & Co model to build up Chiang Mai & Co, an innovation center of Chiang Mai

Mr. Pun-Arj Chairat, Director of the National Innovation Agency, said NIA has applied a success model from France in allowing local municipality to manage their own community to attract startup investment from overseas.

Citing the Paris & Co model that the Office of Innovation Promotion for Economic Development tries to facilitate overseas startups to make investment in Paris, therefore, NIA will open up Chiang Mai & Co by the end of this year at Tha Pae Road. It has cooperated with the Industry Ministry which supports the renovation of the old building and also gets some budget from the Science and Technology Ministry.

Chiang Mai & Co will have working space for foreign startups and digital nomad and facilitate them in asking for support from government agencies such as smart visa. It also helps support educational institutes and startups in the areas to establish cooperation among them.

Chiang Mai is among the most favorite target destination for digital nomad from all over the world. It is roughly estimated that there are now over 10,000 startups in Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai & Co will be an important jigsaw in building ecosystem for startups so that Chiang Mai will have innovation areas in the city. It is one of 15 targeted destinations which NIA is trying to establish Thailand as a global startup destination.

NIA has also collaborated with Dassault of France which specializes in 3D software that is used to design smart city. Dassault will transfer knowledge in designing smart city to university students and encourage them to try designing City Innovation Lab in three universities including Chiang Mai University, Mae Jo University and Rajamangala University of Technology.

Aside from that NIA has plan to set up accelerator in aerospace engineering by joining with Airbus for the Eastern Economic Development Project or EEC.

The idea of France in designing innovation areas can be applied in Thailand. For example, a mix-used area or linking areas in terms of physical, economic and social so that the area can be used for various purposes and facilitate the future growth of urban areas in the long term. The models will be applied in innovation areas such as Kluaynamthai and Rama IV road or Yothi innovation area and Soi Rang Nam, Punnawithi at True Digital Park.

In addition, the model in establishing Startup Nation in Thailand is also in the plan as to attract global startups to Thailand. The main objective is to help Thai startups to learn about business models from overseas and help provide English training to help Thai startups to do businesses with Thai startups.

Station F model, the world’s largest startup hub in Paris is also taken to the development of startup incubation center in Thailand. This is by changing existing areas or changing old areas of the city to create startup incubation center. At present, some areas have become innovation areas such as buildings in Bangkok University at Kluaynamthai that has been developed to be facilitation center for Urban Tech.