Glimpse towards Southeast Asia and you’ll find a dynamic and diverse scene of social entrepreneurs. In Thailand the strength of the operating social entrepreneurs lies within the fast response to the societal needs in the Thai society and it addresses issues such as empowerment of high school students, protection of coral reefs in tourist crowded spots or free technology for social good.
BE Magazine was established by the young social entrepreneur Alan Archapiraj with the mission to provide work for the homeless and is sold throughout Bangkok. Inspired by the Big Issue in the UK Alan set out to build the first social enterprise in the publishing sector in Thailand and has done so by modelling an economic model that combines for-profit business while supporting his social enterprise. BE Magazine has attracted the elite among Thai artists, joining in the cause of empowering underprivileged to become self-sufficient. Alan is a driven entrepreneur and passionate about developing the potential for expanding social enterprises in Thailand.
A-chieve was born in 2011 by four economics graduate students from Bangkok. Tai Topathomwong, Win Jitpraneechai, Earth Sirasupparoekchai and Phing Baisirikun have for several years been working with youth empowerment. When they ran the first pilot project to connect high school students with professionals through short-term internships the positive feedback convinced them to build a social enterprise. A-chieve’s vision is to provide inspiration and opportunities for high school students to choose their education and occupation with passion rather then to feel under-stimulated by making wrong career choices. A-chieve’s economic model is based on a cross-subvention system providing scholarships for talented students to attend their workshops and programs.
Thai social entrepreneurs are on the rise and different sectors are involved in the building process of nourishing future social entrepreneurs. There are several initiatives that promote the growth of social entrepreneurship in the country; The Thai Social Enterprise Office is a governmental program that took off in 2010, while ChangeFusion has fostered social innovation since 2001. Yet again, this short outline does not justify the overall sphere of social entrepreneurship in Thailand. The emerging force is attracting attention and what is still ahead is being created as these very words are being written.