Thailand has built a supportive infrastructure for social enterprise that is seen as a model in Asia. The sector has its own representative body; enjoys the support of political, civil society and business leaders; and generates mainstream media coverage.
Much of this is inspired by UK experience and the British Council is seen as a leading strategic partner. Through our Social Enterprise programme we have engaged with influential Thai policy makers and stakeholders, and served as a primary conduit of UK expertise and partnership on social enterprise policy, social investment and social enterprise in higher education.
Policy and Government Engagement
In 2010, the British Council convened a UK-Thailand policy dialogue as well as supporting the resulting dialogue in Thailand. This led to the creation of the Thai Social Enterprise Office (TSEO), the government agency for promoting social enterprise in Thailand, as well as a five-year Social Enterprise National Master Plan.
In 2014, the British Council invited the Chairman and Executive Vice President of the Thai Stock Exchange, the General Secretary of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and business leaders of listed companies to learn about UK innovations in the field of social investment. Thailand has since launched its first social mutual fund, B-KIND, and is exploring the potential for a Social Investment Bank.
In February 2015, the British Council invited Sir Ronald Cohen, Chair of the G8 Social Impact Investment Taskforce, to speak at the Stock Exchange of Thailand and to take part in a social investment roundtable at the British ambassador’s residence (incl the Deputy Prime Minister). Thailand plans a National Taskforce on Social Impact Investment, in collaboration with the G8 Taskforce.
In April 2015, the Deputy Prime Minister visited the UK to learn from examples of high impact social enterprises delivering public services; social investment initiatives; and policies to promote social enterprise. His government is finalising a landmark Social Enterprise Promotion Act and setting up a National Taskforce on Social Impact Investment which will collaborate with the Global Taskforce set up by David Cameron and chaired by Sir Ronald Cohen.
Capacity Building for Social Entrepreneurs
Our programme in collaboration with UnLtd, TSEO and Change Fusion taught aspiring and practising social entrepreneurs how to craft effective pitches, write strong business plans, leverage social media, add value to products and services, and raise funds.
The British Council in Thailand is one of 10 countries engaged in a new global initiative, ‘The Business and Investment Readiness’ programme. This programme will match UK expertise with local intermediaries to better assist promising social enterprises strengthen their organisational capacity and put in place plans for future growth, increased impact and access to social investment. It intends to result in a pipeline of high potential social enterprises for the growing number of venture philanthropists and social investors seeking deal flow, and in doing so enable social enterprises to grow.
The British Council is also forging links between UK and Thai Higher Education Institutions through social enterprise. Thai universities are showing a strong commitment to developing social entrepreneurship within their institutions as an alternative approach to benefiting communities and engaging with students.
This year, the British Council has launched the Thai-UK University Curriculum Development “Buddy Programme”, a partnership programme that supports collaboration between UK and Thai academic institutions. The primary purpose is to build the social enterprise ecosystem in education and strengthen policy and practice of embedding social enterprise in the curricula of higher education institutions in Thailand and the United Kingdom.