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Road to a startup business in Thailand

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Road to a startup business in Thailand

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Planning for a startup in Thailand? Here, in this blog, we have tried to bring a roadmap for assisting entrepreneurs looking for their own startup in Thailand.

Getting acquainted with the One Start One Stop Investment Center

The One Start One Stop Investment Center is a modern resource dedicated to assisting with the applications and responding to questions about starting a business in Thailand. Registering the work permit and upgrading the visa takes place at the OSOS. The office is segregated into two departments: one is the information center for the BOI services and the other works as an immigration office for the companies under BOI promotion.

It is also a great place for starting the BOI process. The staff here could help with information and help in filling the BOI application.

One stop service for visa and work permit

It is the immigration department inside the OSOSí office and the place where one would be granted the work visa and permit under the BOI company. The process is straight-forward and all the applications are submitted online.
To begin, one should register the company for using the OSOS online services and requires a day to visit the office and complete the setup. Next, one would need to submit the evaluation request online for every foreign person in the company who would be working in Thailand and needs the work permit.

For every applicant, one must provide the followings:

  • Certificate of education
  • Documents certifying employment experience
  • Position in the company
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Length of employment

For a company one would also be required to provide:

  • Explanation with respect to technology transfer
  • Organization chart of the company
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • List of companyís shareholders

There would be a few corrections needed before the application is completed. It takes about 4 working days for getting the immigration approval letters.

Once the online application is submitted and approved, one would be ready to receive the work permit and new visa status. It should be noted that one needs a valid Non-Immigrant Visa B in the passport for updating the visa status to the BOI visa. It would be possible for transforming a Tourist Visa to a Non-Immigrant Visa B as long as the visa is valid and isnít on a 30-day extension.

Understanding the BOI (Board of Investment) promotion

The Thailand BOI (Board of Investment) is a government office devoted to promoting the investments in the country. More interestingly, the Board of Investment Thailand provides tax and non-tax incentives for promoting investment for several business activities. The incentives are generous and eliminate or reduce several requirements. Here are some of such benefits provided to startups under the Board of Investment Promotion Act. The rules have been relaxed as compared to the ones under the traditional Thai company form of business.

  • Ratio of foreign to Thai employees is relaxed
  • 100 percent ownership by foreigners is possible
  • Exemptions available for VAT on machinery imported into the country
  • Tax Holiday i.e. Corporate taxes as low as 0 percent for the initial 8 years of doing business in Thailandis possible
  • Registered capital could be as low as THB 1 million
  • Easier in bringing foreign skilled experts and workers

You would have two options if you wish to start a BOI promoted company.

The easiest way for setting up a business in Thailand is to get in touch with startup consulting firms specialized in the BOI businesses. The other way is to go solo and do everything by self. It would save you money and would provide complete insight about the corporate process ofopening a business in Thailand. However, it would also expose you to the complete spectacle and the headaches of commencing business in the Southeast Asia.
Every startup starts with an idea, so this is the place for pitchingthe business idea and applying for the BOI privilege. To reduce the risk of disappointment and get going, bring the elevator pitch and know your business idea both forwards and backwards.

The staff generally speaks English and would let you know if the business idea is appropriate for any BOI privileges. If they like the idea, thereís an official form which is required to be filled out. Ifoneís business ideais solid, one would probably have a few ideas about the approximate cost, staff requirements and also, the projected revenue. This is specifically the information which needs to be filled in the application form, but thereís no need to worry, the staff would help in getting them correct. It is advisable to prepare a draft before filling the same.

The Interview Session

Once the application is submitted, there would be a ten-day gap before one can come back and do the interview session with the senior staff members. It might be overwhelming formost of the people, but this is just a presentation of the business idea, i.e. the presentation which one would do for the investors. It is advisable tohave a PowerPoint presentation with a few slides that should include:

  • Problem Statement
  • The product/solution
  • Target customers/markets
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Customer acquisition
  • Competitive advantage
  • Marketing Strategies
  • Revenue model
  • Projected expenses
  • Management team

The detailed plan of the projected revenue and the startup cost would be submitted with the BOI application, so this section need not be that detailed in the presentation, but it is advisable to be completely prepared for queries with respect to the business idea.

Project evaluation

The staff members would let the applicant know in case they perceive a value in the business idea presented during the interview. Once the BOI promotion is granted, one can go for the next step: incorporation of the company.

BOI Certificate

The BOI certificate cannot be obtained before incorporating a company, but once the incorporation process is done and 25 percent of the registered capital is transferred from abroad to the companyís bank account, one could apply for the BOI certificate.

Department of Business Development Ė DBD

Equipped with the BOI-approved business idea, itís time for setting up the company. Incorporation of the startup takes place at the DBD office (Department of Business Development).

One needs to prepare the lengthy application form which is entirely in Thai language. But there is no need to worry, as there would be bunch of shops outside,offering services serving this purpose alone.

There are few things one should keep in mind:

  • One needs to register a company name before initiating the application process
  • One needs a proper office
  • One needs a design for the company stamp
  • All company directors should be available for signing the application papers
  • All the shareholders of the company are required to sign the printed copy of their passports
  • All the shareholders of the company are required to submit their passport and address information
  • One needs to invest 25 percent of the registered capital from abroad

Reserving the name of the company

Before deciding to visit the DBD office, one needs to reserve his/her company name. It could be done online on DBDís website;however, it should be noted that the registration process for the account is in Thai. The person who registers would be the primary contact person for the entire incorporation process.

Once one gets his/her company name approved, one would need a copy of the same and would need a visit to the head office of DBD.

Submission of Application

It might take an entire day for filling in all the papers required for getting the company registered and approved. This is a slow process. Itís advisable to come prepared, since there are several documents which are required to be filled in.
Once the company is registered and approved, itís time for the second visit to the BOI office, where one needs to apply and then pick up the BOI certificate.

BOI promoted status

It is the last step in the incorporation process, however, it is important to note that before applying for the BOI promoted status, the company should be granted the BOI certificate from Board of Investment. It is the last part which is easy, however,one still needs to travel to DBDís head office for the second time. One must bring all the BOI documents and the graphical drawn map of the companyís office location.All directors of the company need to be present to sign the documents, and the submission usually takes around 7 to 30 days for approval.

There are several factors which might go into the decision on whether to start a business in Thailand and set up your own company. Startup consulting firms could help you in several ways. For the part of setting up a company in Thailand, you could get in touch with the startup consultants in Thailand for the formal process of getting your company registered, getting the tax ID status, dealing with visa and your work permit related matters.So, in case youíre looking to start a business, or expanding your existing business activities, or in case youíre an investor looking for newer opportunities in Southeast Asia, Thailand has lot to offer both professionally and personally.


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