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Thailand to boost local economy through innovation and creativity

When it comes to worldwide promotion, a country doesn’t rely solely on technology and scientific breakthroughs to improve its standing on the world map. Culture, traditions are also important in promoting. And Thailand is taking steps to make sure it isn’t known only because of its lovely beaches and tourism hotspots. A project named “Product value addition and brand creation of premium goods in Southern Border Provinces” was launched at the Emquartier shopping centre in Bangkok.

Among decorative lamps made from banana leaf sheats and cosmetic products made from bird’s nests, the goal was to to drive the country’s sustainable growth via prototype products which could one day raise the standard of life of southern people by providing jobs and opportunities.

rice1The project is valued at 9 million baht and is a partnership between The Creative Lab Center (CLC) at Thaksin University and the Interior Ministry’s Office of Strategy Management in Southern Border Provinces. The CLC is a thinktank of experts and specialists from areas like marketing, design and technology, initiated with the purpose of increasing the potential of local resources in Thailand and bringing them on the world market, to be recognised as premium products.

“We effectively executed our own creative and complete value-addition process based on the principle of ‘giving and sharing’ to design and develop high-quality local products,” said CLC director Hudson Sirisuwapong said.

Among the participants were the Governor of the Narathiwat province Sittichai Sakda, alongside entrepreneurs and scholars. More than 700 entrepreneurs had signed up for the project in the beginning, but onluy two of them were selected: the cosmetic products under the brand “NAT” and the brand “Econi”.

“I was born in a rubber business family, which was directly affected by the economic downturn that caused the price of rubber to drop, so we tried to find ways to add value to rubber. Thanks to CLC’s project, we were selected among more than 700 candidates. ” said Econi’s managing director Kornravee Hong-amata.

He added that CLC’s marketing expertise helped his company by analysing the trend while the designing experts helped boost their products’ appeal. The company is producing eco-friendly lamps made from banana sheaths coated and glued with latex from the rubber tree.

The other chosen company, NAT, is a cosmetics company based in Narathiwat province, specialised in creating a unique sleeping mask made of local rice and bird’s nest extract.

“I was born and grew up in Narathiwat. I want to add more value to materials whose potential people have overlooked – such as Hawm Kradang-Ngah rice that is only found in Narathiwat. Locals used it as animal feed or fertiliser despite its characteristics such as its unique smell and antioxidant,” said NAT co-founder Suttipong Puttipairoj.

According to Interior Ministry permanent Secretary Kritsada Boonrat, the project will be implemented with a scope to drive Thailand’s economy at a local level, in accordance with the country’s national economic strategy, based on gathering innovation, local wisdom, and creativity.

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