Thaipat Institute and ImagePlus to collaborate with Yunus Center AIT to build awareness and capacity

Friday, 19 February 2016, Centara Grand at Central World

 

Bangkok – Thaipat Institute and ImagePlus today announced their intent to work together with the Yunus Center at the Asian Institute of Technology to promote in Thailand the concept of social business pioneered by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus.

Discussions have begun to work towards a unique knowledge-sharing platform, to be called the “Thailand Social Business Initiative” that will promote awareness and enhance capacity among Thai institutions about ways to adapt the non-loss/ non-dividend model of Social Business to the Thai environment.  When established, the proposed initiative will employ the Awareness-Practice-Research (APR) program approach developed by the Yunus Center AIT, to disseminate pro-poor technologies and entrepreneurial approaches among counterparts within government, business and the non-governmental sectors.

The Yunus model of social business is designed to solve social problems through business solutions. Social businesses inspired by this model compete in the open market, pay fair wages to their founders and workers, and after recovering their initial investment and operating costs, divert earnings to widening their scope and impact.  Such social businesses now span a number of countries, with Yunus Centers in over 20 countries acting as thought leaders in their respective environments. Well-known investors in the Yunus social business model include a number of global brands, with Danone, Veolia, and Uniqlo being well-established.

Thaipat Institute director, Dr. Pipat Yodprudtikan said, “I’m confident that the Thai environment is ready for moving into the social business paradigm, given the country’s strong entrepreneurial culture, and social values, guided as they are by His Majesty’s Sufficiency philosophy”. Thaipat Institute’s experience of working with the Thai corporate sector confirms that companies are receptive to the idea of solving social problems common in their stakeholder groups through effectively promoting and supporting social businesses.

ImagePlus, who advise some of Thailand’s leading brands on social investments and CSR, have already worked to develop social investment ideas with a number of major Thai corporations, within Thailand and neighboring countries. ImagePlus Managing Director, Khun Pajaree Koonchaimang is excited about the possibilities.  “In our experience with CSR programs for leading Thai companies, there is a readiness to take CSR to the next level by creating programs that have more lasting social impact. I feel social business, done the right way, is that next level.  We are keen to leverage the global network that Yunus Center AIT has, to create the right models for Thailand”.

Both Thaipat Institute and ImagePlus discussed their idea of adapting the social business model for Thailand with Professor Muhammad Yunus last November, when he visited Bangkok for the OneYoungWorld Summit. This initiative aims to give practical shape to the discussions.  The Yunus Center AIT was formed as a collaboration between the Asian Institute of Technology and Professor Yunus in 2009, and works to build awareness and help develop capacity for social business among academia, policymakers, and market actors.

Once modalities are finalized, Yunus Center AIT will contribute knowledge-support to the proposed initiative. “We are delighted to be asked by Thaipat Institute and ImagePlus, both of whom we have worked with over the past years in running workshops and trainings. Our mandate encourages such collaborations”, said Dr. Faiz Shah, who currently oversees Yunus Center AIT.

With the Yunus Centers network providing knowledge materials and learning opportunities, ImagePlus and Thaipat Institute will work towards building partnerships with important agents who will benefit from and harness capacity building and awareness to encourage the non-loss, non-dividend model in the country.

Once established, the Thailand Social Business Initiative will conduct its APR program which will focus on social business advocacy and awareness building; enabling social business flagship projects to showcase to future entrepreneurs; and researching, documenting, and translating knowledge on this emerging sector to adapt it into the Thai context and language.

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