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Thai MICE Startup competition to spur innovation

TCEB hopes winning solutions will address pandemic pain points and help event planners ease technology into their operations.

The third edition of the TCEB-run competition will see three finalists present working prototypes on 18 November, with a top prize of US$12,795.
The third edition of the TCEB-run competition will see three finalists present working prototypes on 18 November, with a top prize of US$12,795.

The Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has announced details of its annual 'Thailand MICE Startup' Competition, in line with ongoing initiatives to encourage MICE businesses to integrate innovation into their daily operations.

Supported by Thailand's National Innovation Agency (NIA), Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), the plan is to pair startups or tech entrepreneurs with MICE entrepreneurs, to design creative solutions aimed at boosting Thailand's post-Covid-19 competitiveness in the MICE sector.

Following 23 applicants, TCEB has narrowed the selection to five teams for the final round, which will see finalists present a working prototype on 18 November. Winners stand to receive cash prizes of 400,000 baht (US$12,795), 200,000 baht, and 100,000 baht respectively.

TCEB hopes to find solutions that will address pain points caused by pandemic, says president Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya.
TCEB hopes to find solutions that will address pain points caused by pandemic, says president Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya.

"We are excited to see the works of several teams. They have been trying hard to find solutions to a variety of pain points particularly those resulting from COVID-19," said TCEB's president, Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya.

Apart from "pain points" that have arisen as Thailand's event organisers shift to the unfamiliar hybrid territory, recurring challenges remain, such as crowd management and tracking delegate engagement, and adapting to functionalities such as ride-sharing to minimise congestion on the way to events.

Working off today's challenges, judging criteria include return-on-investment for MICE entrepreneurs, impact on the MICE industry, effectiveness in addressing new normal challenges, ability to foster collaboration between MICE entrepreneurs and startups, and other practical considerations.

Into its third edition, the competition has proved more vital than ever in the face of the persistent pandemic. Nevertheless, the Kingdom's business events economy remains resilient. THAIFEX–Anuga Asia 2020 for instance, was one of Asia's first major exhibitions to be held after the lifting of some Covid-19 health and safety restrictions, albeit at half of 2019's attendee figures.

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