On August 16, 2023, CMU launched Builds, a CMU Startup & Entrepreneurial Platform, as a part of its initiative to become an ‘entrepreneurial university’. Professor Dr. Pongruk Sribanditmongkol, CMU President, stated that CMU’s vision is to become a leading university committed to social responsibility for sustainable development through innovation. One of the targets is to generate an economic impact of 60-billion-baht within four years and a key to that success is the promotion of start-ups that originate from research conducted at the university. This will allow students to turn their research or technology into a business, which will create employment, income, and economic and social growth in Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand.
The President also outlined four reasons why it is important to promote learning and entrepreneurship since university. (1) It will help build necessary entrepreneurial skills for the future. Students will have profound entrepreneurial knowledge and skills that will be applicable to the development of their own business, be it in terms of technology, innovation or management. (2) It will increase the opportunity for CMU tech spin-off business development. By using the knowledge, technology and research developed within the university, startups have the potential to grow and create high-value products and services. (3) Employment in the local area will increase. Scientists, researchers, innovation business developers and programmers, in particular, will benefit from more job opportunities. Not only will this help enhance potential and skills, but it will also create jobs in the local areas, thus eliminating the need to go to the capital for employment. (4) It will serve as a catalyst to end intergenerational poverty. Promoting startup businesses is one of the tools to help accelerate the resolution of intergenerational poverty by creating new businesses, jobs and incomes while reducing the inequality of opportunity to life quality improvement.
Assistant Professor Dr. Tanyanuparb Anantana, Vice President for Innovation Management, stated that the launch of Builds, which is a startup and entrepreneurship fostering program for CMU students, aims to create a comprehensive supporting mechanism and environment for startups and student entrepreneurship through five components. These components are: (1) an Entrepreneurial Course Plug-in- an entrepreneurship program of which the courses are accessible to all students, (2) an Educational Sandbox – business starting that also offers credits that count towards degree completion, (3) an Incubation Program – a program for fostering business and inducing growth, (4) A Startup Club – a community of startups by students of different faculties that allows them to exchange ideas and recruit new members, and (5) a Financial Support Mechanism. These five components will play a key role in supporting students who start and run a business while pursuing their degree.
Another important driving force for Builds is the collaboration with the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) in bringing the online LiVE Platform to CMU students and once they complete the curated programs, they will earn credits that count towards their final credits, making CMU the first university in Thailand to integrate LiVe Platform’s online programs into university modules. Moreover, from 2024 onwards, basic entrepreneurship will become a basic requirement for all CMU students to learn and a minor in entrepreneurship will also be offered.
Professor Dr. Pongruk Sribanditmongkol added that because of these reasons, not only will becoming an entrepreneurial university increase value for the university and build entrepreneurial knowledge and skills, but it will also generate income and strengthen the economy and society. His final remark was that, regarding the targets and challenges, by 2026, Builds will have produced over 4,200 students who are interested in starting their own businesses and becoming entrepreneurs, and over 600 teams of students with creative business ideas that will lead to the establishment of more than 240 companies, thus generating a demand of more than 3,600 highly-skilled positions, incomes of over 4.5-billion baht, and an estimated economic impact of 8.1-billion-baht in Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand.