The Delta Angel Fund, launched in 2016 by Delta and the Ministry of Industry’s Department of Industrial Promotion (DIP), is an accelerator program that provides funding to local talent and startups in support of Thailand’s development policies. Since its inception, the fund has granted over 23 million baht of funding to 309 winning teams (24% female-owned), generating an economic value of over 970 million baht and creating 927 jobs.
This year, the competition focused on the government’s Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Model, which aims to support Thailand’s shift to a low-carbon society with a new green economy. One of the 2022 prize winners is UPCYDE, a biotech startup that upcycles food and agricultural waste into leather materials.
We spoke to UPCYDE CEO Mild Karoon-ngampun to learn more about her mission to drive sustainability throughout the Fashion and Agriculture industry and how the Delta Angel Fund has helped her develop her solution and grow her business.
Mild explained how UPCYDE’s original biotechnology solution transforms agricultural and fruit waste into usable products, and how customers who purchase these products can indirectly improve everyone’s quality of life by making physical investments in the green.
The Delta Angel Fund has been an invaluable resource for UPCYDE, providing not just monetary investment but also great networking opportunities and solid business growth strategies. Mild believes that the eco products UPCYDE produces have great growth potential in the Thailand market and that they could disrupt the lifestyle goods industry by offering products that are the least harmful to the environment.
When asked about the biggest challenges Thai startups face, Mild highlighted the lack of connections between departments, industries and local and state governments. She believes that large firms have the experience, connections, and loyal customer base to help startups grow and demonstrate innovative growth within the business ecosystem.
Mild’s advice to Thai entrepreneurs is to first ask themselves “Why does society need this?” and “What drives me to do this?” before taking action. She believes that by providing real value and not simply pitching for money, startups can attract their first customers and eventually reach their goals.
The Delta Angel Fund has been a great resource for local startups and SMEs in Thailand, and its innovations have the potential to build a better future for the country. By connecting entrepreneurs with the same objectives, they can work together to solve Thailand’s current problems and create a more competitive and resilient innovation-led economy.