AT LEAST 160 small and medium-sized enterprises have been supported under the Commerce Ministry's SMEs Proactive project, ensuring that they will have more liquidity to promote business growth.
The International Trade Promotion Department recently approved a budget of Bt24 million to help SMEs. This was in line with the government's recognition that SMEs account for more than 98 per cent of the country's enterprises.
Chantira Jimreivat Vivatrat, director of the department's Bureau of Trade Development and Lifestyle Businesses, said 160 SMEs got financial support from the government to maintain their businesses and promote their products overseas.
"Another Bt200 million is still available to help more SMEs under this project. Enterprises can propose their projects to the department so that they can get support," Chantira said.
In the first year of the project, the department aims to help about 600 SMEs with a budget of Bt100 million. A budget of Bt200 million has been earmarked for its second and third years.
With the department's support, 20 enterprises were able to join international trade fairs overseas, and two got funding for travel abroad for business matching. The rest got funds for development of their products and marketing strategies.
Various industries received support. They included jewellery and ornaments, furniture and parts, home decoration items, gifts and premium goods, stationery, handicrafts, kitchenware, canned corn, safety products, toys, livestock farming equipment, herbs, cosmetics, and garments.
Markets that were penetrated included Japan, Turkey, Hong Kong, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Italy, India, France, Singapore, the United States, Bahrain and Myanmar.
Under the project's conditions, SMEs must export goods for at least one year and have had annual export value of less than Bt200 million during the past three years.
For SMEs that have never exported before, the department primarily encourages them to join domestic trade fairs before venturing overseas.
The department has focused on helping SMEs penetrate emerging markets, mainly in Asean, as logistics costs are low and Thai products are highly accepted in this region.
At present, about 31,000 SMEs are categorised as eligible for the department's support under its SMEs Proactive programme.