9 banks to offer 0% loans, as NIA seeks to increase industry innovation

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Hoping to spur innovation in Thai companies, nine banks will offer zero-interest loans for programs that take advantage of information technology, marketing and finance consulting from the National Innovation Agency.

The NIA, set up in 2003 as an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Science and Technology to address “the country’s declining ranking in the global technology capacity sweepstakes,” reviewed its latest effort to improve the competitiveness of Thai industries at a June 20 workshop at Nong Nooch Tropical Garden.

NIA Director Supachai Lorlowhakarn (left) announces the new 0% financing program. NIA Director Supachai Lorlowhakarn (left) announces the new 0% financing program.

NIA Director Supachai Lorlowhakarn said many Thai business executives still lack technical and management skills, resulting in limited development of unique products and services in the Thai economy. Following its mission to facilitate cooperation between government, academia and the private sector, the organization is reaching out to banks to provide funding for corporate research and development projects.

Participating in the proposed 0 percent loan would be Ayutthaya, Bangkok, CMB, Kasikorn, Krung Thai, Siam City, Siam Commercial, and Thai Military banks, as well as the Small- & Medium-Size Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand. The loans would support companies “interested in developing innovative businesses” who require support from the NIA, Supachai said.

While the NIA would arrange consulting services, the banks would also create promotional activities, such as workshops, to potential customers and advise on the development of R&D projects.

The NIA already has a list of 10 proposed projects and is encouraging banks to provide financing for efforts increase the knowledge exchange and project management.