Like so many things these days, plans had to change quickly. The organizers of the Techsauce Global Summit decided to move their main event to October, and to hold an online conference on the original date in June. On Friday and Saturday next week, more than 30 speakers will participate in “Thailand’s first virtual summit”.
There’s a lot to discuss. A global pandemic has impacted everyone’s life, the economy has taken a hit, foreshadowing an uncertain time for the society at large. “Shaping the new future” is the optimistic title for the summit which will gather policy makers, entrepreneurs and experts from around the world. Among the speakers are Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s Digital Minister, Viljar Lubi, Vice Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Estonia, and Natalie Black, the UK’s Trade Commissioner for APAC.
More info and tickets for the summit are available here
“We have organized the summit around four pillars,” explains Oranuch “Mimee” Lerdsuwankij, co-founder and CEO of Techsauce. Firstly, economy and society, which evaluates what governments need to do now, the role of the private sector, and shift in consumer behavior. Secondly, people and culture, which will look at the change in people’s lifestyles, on how organizations will have to adapt, if working from home becomes the norm. Thirdly, strategy and business models, the fact that businesses are forced to innovate, to take action, and adapt quickly, while vulnerable sectors are suffering. Finally, technology, which has become crucial in a changing world, and which is also creating a lot of fear and concerns along the way.
The conference couldn’t be better situated to discuss the fundamental problems created by the pandemic. Last year’s edition brought together over 15,000 attendees, 1,500 startups, as well as a large number of investors and media from more than 50 different countries. Southeast Asia, with its large and young population, has been a growth driver, it is digitalizing fast, and has been home of several business success stories in recent time.
Thailand, with a strong medical sector that has attracted millions of foreigners seeking treatment, could be at the forefront of the telemedicine field which will be one of the main focal points of the summit. “We did well in responding to the pandemic,” says Lerdsuwankij. She adds that several Thai telemedicine startups are already successful internationally, such as Doctor Raksa, Chiiwii, Ooca, and Doctor A to Z. Payments and microlending, digital signature and e-fulfillment services, as well as education tech and cloud kitchens are other areas that will be doing well, according to her.
It’s the fifth year already for the summit. Lerdsuwankij founded Techsauce eight years ago as a platform for “knowledge sharing and to educate people,” with a focus on startups. The company runs an incubator and accelerator with funding from the Thai government. Each batch comprises 20 startups and recent success stories have been Arincare, a marketplace for drugstores and pharmacies, as well as Tellscore, a marketing automation platform.
What advice would she give to entrepreneurs in the current situation? First of all, not to panic. Rather it’s the time now to re-think what you have done so far, and how to adapt to the changing habits of consumers. Lerdsuwankij refers to the quote by late Intel co-founder Andy Grove that “only paranoids will survive”. Leaders should ask themselves why they exist, what the core value proposition of the company is. Crises can always happen at the end of the day. So companies should always be prepared for the worst case, and have an action plan on how to handle them.
Featured photo: Oranuch “Mimee” Lerdsuwankij. Photo courtesy of Techsauce. KrASIA is a media partner of the event.