Young people turn to solving social problems in the post-Covid era.
Wilert Puriwat, Dean of Chulalongkorn Business School, talks about his experience as the only Thai member of the Youth4South Entrepreneurship Competition jury, at the Global South-South Development Expo 2022 in Bangkok last month.
As growth seeks to become more sustainable, business practices are transforming and profits are no longer the main priority.
The development of a business model that seeks to solve social problems or help disadvantaged groups becomes an important pillar for the conduct of future activities.
The concept of social resolution entrepreneurship has been widely supported by international agencies to promote a path towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the framework of the United Nations.
This concept was highlighted during the Global South-South Development Expo 2022 (GSSD Expo 2022) organized by the government and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap) last month at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
The event was organized to support post-Covid recovery efforts, in particular to address extreme poverty, food insecurity, immunization inequalities and other global challenges through South-South cooperation and triangular.
The role of business in society
As part of the forum, the “Youth4South Entrepreneurship Competition” was organized to discover business models showing how young entrepreneurs could develop ideas that address social issues.
Wilert Puriwat, Dean of Chulalongkorn Business School, said the competition showed how doing business will shift from a profit-driven focus to one focused on social solutions.
“It’s a good opportunity for young Thai entrepreneurs to seize trends to develop their own businesses to solve social problems,” he said.
Professor Assoc Wilert said the competition also proved that doing business through social resolution is kind of a win-win solution as entrepreneurs can make money from the business model while solving their customers’ problems.
He cited a tomato canning business model as an example, saying an entrepreneur in Kenya worked with a local community to build a solar cell-powered cooling warehouse.
At the same time, they have created an app as a channel for buyers and sellers to set prices they deem appropriate, he said, saying this type of business model is a way to help preserve the quality of the product while eliminating the middleman who buys the product. at a lower price from farmers.
Professor Assoc Wilert said he was also impressed with the business model of a group of young entrepreneurs who developed an app to help children living with stress and depression.
It was an example of using technology and innovation to help solve social problems while promoting sustainability, he said.
To help young people succeed in social enterprises, Professor Assoc Wilert said universities and government need to play a bigger role in supporting university students.
He cited his university as an example. Chulalongkorn University has provided an experiential learning opportunity to its students through the Students in Free Enterprise (Sife) project, an international non-profit organization that works with university students around the world.
The project encouraged students to work closely with local communities to use appropriate business models to develop local products and marketing channels, so that local communities benefit.
Professor Assoc Wilert said his team of students won a prize at the Sustainability Expo competition at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center last month, with his team helping a group of lotus farmers in the central plains province of Nakhon Sawan .
The team helped farmers develop and store lotus seeds so they could be stored longer. They also showed how farmers could boost their business activities through methods such as marketing and better accounting.
“We have excellent seeds in the country,” Professor Assoc Wilert said of the students who won prizes.
“So many Thai students have won international awards. They have great talent and language skills, but the problem is that they don’t have connections to link their talent to solving social problems,” he said. -he declares.
Some farmers need their help to create business models that allow them to sell rice at a better price through innovation and technology.
“We want to see the younger generation help create this type of business model,” he said.
To grow, he said young Thai entrepreneurs should take the opportunity to participate in international business model competitions to help them open their minds more and learn more.
They will have the chance to make more connections and network with international entrepreneurs, said Professor Assoc Wilert, adding that it will help them accumulate experience and skills.
“My duty is to push our students to join the international [business model] competitions in the future,” he said.
“Giving something good to society should not only be done when a company has already been successful in doing business. It may be best for a company to first start doing business with a mindset of solving social problems,” he said.