To support what it calls "new-wave industries", the National Innovation Agency (NIA) has set aside about Bt250 million to help businesses and entrepreneurs in the development of innovative products and services in 2009.
NIA director Supachai Lorlowhakarn said applicants for funding needed to describe the innovative product and its technology, estimate the market size or the potential market, explain the marketing strategy and outline the business management.
"I think that businesses wishing to develop innovative products must be able to answer these four criteria [to our satisfaction] because they are planning to create new business and new-wave industries to capture both domestic and global markets," Supachai said.
Over the past five years, the NIA has spent about Bt350 million supporting about 350 innovative projects.
Next year, the agency plans to focus on new ideas for the development of clean or environmentally friendly products with the potential to claim consumer confidence and loyalty, Supachai said. Most of these will be based on biotechnology and agricultural products, including rice, cassava and para rubber trees.
Cassava is seen as a key raw material in the production of bioplastics, bringing more value to the country's agricultural products.
The agency plans to support private sector efforts to develop clean products. It will emphasise food safety and the use of traceable materials in food production to create consumer confidence in products such as rice milk. The development of bioplastics is also seen as a "clean" endeavour.
The NIA will support businesses using innovation and nanotechnology to develop "green" products such as biomaterials, natural products and organic honey to supply niche markets and new-wave industries.
"The agency is geared up to encourage and use the development of innovations to support emerging environmentally friendly industries," Supachai said. "We have given thought to transforming Thailand's existing agricultural system into organic farming."