Wednesday Scribbles : Thailand- Building the Ecosystem for Social Entrepreneurship

Notes from a changing world…
May 31st

“Let’s change for the better and make a difference. Giving is not to help people sustain their lives, but to help them grow, expand and add their own value.”

– Anand Panyarachun, Former Prime Minister of Thailand

Increasing inequality has stimulated Thailand’s interest in strengthening social enterprises to deliver inclusive development. The Thai government introduced the Social Enterprise Promotion Act, offering tax relief for corporations setting up social enterprises and incentives for social investment.
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Aware of the limited financing options for social entrepreneurs and the complexities of legal frameworks in the country, Change Fusion is working with the Stock Exchange of Thailand and policy makers to create mechanisms for long term change.
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500 Startups has set up a dedicated fund called 500 TukTuks, inspired by the country’s iconic mototaxis. After completing almost a year in the country, TukTuks II has been announced to invest in ‘Seed to Series A’ stage of funding.
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In 2016, Thailand was ranked the world’s 46th best destination for ease of doing business and 3rd in the ASEAN region. The country implemented three major reforms to improve the business climate in the country.
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The National Innovation Ministry of Thailand matches investors with near market technologies to promote commercialization of research discoveries and tech inventions. Thailand’s National Science, Technology and Innovation Master Plan 2012-2021 is paving the way.
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A digital hub project worth over half a billion dollars has been unveiled by True Corporation, supporting the country’s goal of making it a regional center for innovation. The hub will be called ‘True Digital Park’ and cater to tech companies, universities and R&D institutions.
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Siam Organic is a success story of social innovation transforming lives of small-scale farmers. The venture works with over 1000 farmers increasing their income from USD .40 per day to USD 5.8 per day.
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Gogoprint, a Bangkok-based online on-demand printing firm is using digital printing to counter the risk that the traditional printing industry is facing. Even though Thailand’s traditional printing market has plateaued, the online printing market is projected to grow by 30-50% by 2017.
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Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial affiliate formed a strategic partnership with Bangkok based digital payment company Ascend Money, tapping the multibillion dollar online and mobile payments market.
Digital payments are the Fintech sector’s largest segment with a total transaction value of USD 6,440.9 million in 2016. At present, the average transaction value per user in the digital payment segment is USD 331.40 and expected to grow.
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The Thai startup ecosystem is still a work in progress, although it has seen many important milestones in the last decade. The Thai government has rolled out initiatives, for example a US$570 million venture fund for young tech firms and startups to promote innovation and digital economy in the country.
(Disclaimer: All information quoted here is linked to the respective source articles)
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Sankalp Forum was initiated in India in 2009 by Intellecap to create a thriving ecosystem for business-led inclusive development. Over the past seven years, Sankalp has built one of the world’s largest impact enterprise focused platforms that have supported over 900 social enterprises with connections to over 400 investors, mentors, and business support providers. Over 40 social enterprises recognized by Sankalp have gone on to raise more than USD 120 Mn in funding. Sankalp engages Governments, corporations, influential platforms like the G8 and G20, media and civil society to drive a paradigm shift in inclusive development approaches.
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