ETDA Names ‘We are Kollective’ the Winner of ‘Hack for GROWTH’ for Pitching Influencer Marketing Program to Empower Thai Tourism Business

The Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) collaborated with partners in the public and private sectors to launch “Hack for GROWTH” pitching day program for 2023 to find the best future-forward innovations, solutions, systems and mobile applications that can empower businesses in the Thai tourism industry. The pitching day program attracted a large number of digital-driven teams from across the country before being narrowed down to 20 finalists. And the winner of this year’s “Hack for GROWTH” is the “We are Kollective” team that came up with an integrated influencer marketing program. They received a cash prize of 500,000 baht and an opportunity to further develop their future innovations. The award presentation took place at Grand Hall, 3rd floor, Western Section of True Digital Park, Bangkok.
Dr. Tyn Tawitaranond, Deputy Executive Director of the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA), said “the tourism industry has continuously been a key growth driver of the Thai economy. Even though the Thai tourism sector has been able to weather the pandemic crisis and records a growth momentum, the industry has to deal with consumer behavior shifts and ever changing perceptions of consumers, including the technological evolution. Only a few people have acknowledged that certain tourism business operators, particularly accommodation businesses, hotels, restaurants, travel agents, tour business operators and travel guides are struggling with limitations and challenges that hinder business growth and development. Those limitations and challenges facing the industry included the rising number of players and competitors in the market, difficulty in reaching out to target customers, missing revenue targets and the lack of knowledge and expertise in marketing, as well as how to utilize digital technologies at disposal to enhance efficiency in business performance and optimize sales revenue. Moreover, they are also dealing with a shortage of personnel with skills needed in particular fields to maximize business growth. Those challenges and difficulties have taken a toll on the industry, not to mention the lack of viable business development models, systems and management tools and solutions to improve internal management.
The ETDA has played a key role in promoting industry-wide adoption of digital technology and innovations in order to optimize efficient business operations and performance. Advanced technology will also help accelerate growth and development of the digital economy. Therefore, the ETDA partnered with relevant agencies and partners in the public and private sectors, including the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the National Innovation Agency (NIA), the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), the Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP), the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization), the Tourism Council of Thailand, the Federation of Thai SME, the Thai Startup Association, the Association of Domestic Travel (ADT), the Thai Tourism Promotion Association (TTPA), Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand (SME Bank), the Finlab powered by UOB, Amazon Web Services (Thailand) and Techsauce Media, to launch “Hack for GROWTH” under the concept “Make a Chance to Grow Together” to find viable innovations, solutions, systems and applications that help businesses effectively deal with key challenges and elevate the standards of the Thai tourism industry. The ideation program will also enable participants and partners to joint develop new innovations and solutions for future business development. All innovations and solutions will be further developed and improved for use in the real-world environment. Innovation developers and digital service providers dealt with challenging case studies during the pitching day program before coming up with new ideas and solutions that can help businesses deal with limitations and solve problems in the tourism sector with a focus on three key areas, comprising Revenue Growing; Recruiting Better; and Retaining People Growth. Revenue Growing is about how to enhance competitiveness and increase sales revenue. Recruiting Better is related to seeking capable manpower with essential skills needed in particular businesses. And Retaining People Growth focuses on maximizing efficient team management and retaining quality personnel.
“Hack for GROWTH” ideation stage commenced in May 2023 with a total of 40 digital solution development teams applied to pitch their ideas in innovation. They were narrowed down to 20 finalists, comprising AccRevo Team, AIGENT Team, Alto Team, AsiaOneClick Team, ATTRA Team, BOTNOI AI Recruiter Team, ChillPay Team, GoWithMe Team, HappyWork Team, InDistinct Team, Trantour Team, Nomad Connect Team, Oho Chat Team, PetnPlay Team, TalentED Team, Taste-Map Team, TripNiceDay Team, V Smart City Team, We are Kollective Team and We Chef food truck platform Team. They also participated in an intensive upskilling workshop in order to improve their skills, ideas and innovations in collaboration with experts from the public and private sector prior to the final pitching day on July 19. All finalists pitched their innovations, solutions, systems and applications before the judge panel at a specific timeframe provided. They also provided answers to all questions from the judges as the majority of questions were related to business development models, how to further develop them in phase, how to deal with problems and challenges facing tourism business operators, including how to work in collaboration with partners. All questions from the judges were important issues that all teams had to tackle so that the judges could thoroughly see the potential, competitiveness, and uniqueness of innovations and solutions of each team. The final pitching day actually presented each team with opportunities to demonstrate their potential, competencies and competitive advantage in developing digital innovations and solutions. It was truly beneficial to all people who were watching the pitching day live via the Zoom platform.
After wrapping up the pitching session by 20 finalists, all the judges jointly discussed the conclusion and unanimously made a decision to name the “We are Kollective” team the winner of this year’s Hack for GROWTH pitch day program. “We are Kollective” team pitched an integrated influencer marketing program to help businesses reach out to target customers using data-driven technology, which is practical and measurable. The team was also awarded 500,000 baht in cash prize, a trophy and a certificate. The first runner-up was the “No mad” team for developing a centralized platform where buyers and sellers can meet to discuss products and services. The key feature of the platform is that the owner of a resort or boutique hotel can choose to host an event at the resort and sell tickets on the platform. The “No mad” team received a cash prize of 250,000 baht, a trophy and a certificate. The second runner-up was the “Aigent” team for pitching a mobile application for purchasing E-Vouchers at special prices. The app allows buyers or travelers to decide and specify a tentative date and time for checking in, providing greater convenience to all discerning travelers as accommodation business operators can provide more details about terms and conditions of stay through the extranet system. They received 100,000 baht in cash prize, a trophy and a certificate. The Happy work team and Asia one click team won the most popular awards and they received 75,000 baht each and certificates. The Happy work team pitched a time tracker or clock-in clock-out platform with greater flexibility. It is fast, responsive, and provides real time monitoring and results, making leaves a lot easier without worrying about how many days left for annual leaves and validity. The platform also provides greater convenience in filing for reimbursement claims, allowing employees to check for reimbursements in real time. The Asia one click team presented an airline booking service and a new sales and distribution channel via an Application Programming Interface (API) and chat programming platform.

Moreover, the three winning teams are also entitled to receiving the AWS Credits from Amazon Web Services (AWS) as well as an opportunity to work closely with partners to further improve efficient performance and development of their digital innovations and solutions. Exclusively, the winner will be able to take part in the upcoming Techsauce Global Summit 2023 scheduled for the third quarter this year.
“Hack for GROWTH is not only just a key mechanism initiated to deal with limitations, difficulties and challenges facing tourism business operators, but also presents a good opportunity for like-minded people with the same shared goals and commitment to further developing digital-driven technologies and innovations of new digital service providers, including tech startups. Those future-focused innovations and solutions will become more viable in the real-world market, which is fundamental to developing a digital ecosystem, solutions and services that are beneficial to businesses throughout the supply chain in the tourism industry. All digital innovations and solutions developed under the pitching day program are expected to meet the needs of the industry and empower the tourism businesses to grow further. The ETDA hopes that all the award-winning teams and other participating teams will play a key role in empowering the country to be more ready for the future world. So, get ready for upcoming tech-inspired events and activities by the ETDA,” added Dr. Tyn Tawitaranond.