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Social Enterprise in Bangkok Image courtesy of www.nollengroup.com

Social enterprise in Bangkok –  8 booming socially responsible enterprises in the capital of Thailand

 
Social Enterprise in Bangkok is booming, especially the ‘start-up’ social enterprise (SE) scene is flourishing. A new batch of young entrepreneurs is looking to create businesses that are not only creating maximum profit for individuals, but their endeavors also address social problems and generate income for those who need it most.

1. 141 (One for One) — toys for underprivileged children

 

Social enterprise in Bangkok - 8 booming socially responsible enterprises in the capital of ThailandImage courtesy of 141 Social Enterprise Facebook

141 through Slow Play produces specially-designed wooden furniture, home accessories, and toys made from Rubber tree wood residue for underprivileged children in order to promote physical and mental growth.
Based on Waldorf education, toys that are simply made with fewer details such as a plain wooden car or “unfinished” toys allow children to use their imaginations. Through Slow Play toys, children’s physical growth and mental health are developed due to its special designs.
For each Slow Play product, 141 donates one toy for underprivileged children in remote nursery care units in Thailand. It provides over 15,000 pieces of educational toys per year and current production is being expanded through machine and manpower investment.
141 also plans to set up workshops to increase sales and to reach more families and volunteers in order to build a Slow Play culture in the society.
While it helps underprivileged children in remote areas using Waldorf educational concepts, 141’s furniture and toy production also helps the environment by helping reduce carbon emissions from the usual practice of burning expired rubber trees making it one of the greenest social enterprises in Bangkok.
 

2. a-chieve — free online career guides for the youth

 

Social Enterprise in Bangkok Image courtesy of changefusion.org

a-chieve is a free in-depth online guidance and information on various careers that can help high school students choose the type of profession they wish to pursue. Funded by advertising and sponsorship, the website includes career guidebooks and workshops that give the student a feeling of the actual experience of various occupations in real workplaces.
More than 330 students have joined a-chieve’s workshops. Students who joined the workshops received enough information and experiences that helped them decide to select their majors in college. Once they have selected their majors, the students usually do their best and focus more on their studies.
a-chieve sees a society where everyone is doing what they love most and thereby being able to be the best in what they do.
a-chieve tops our list of educational social enterprises in Bangkok.
 

3. Sputnik Tales Studio — animation training for social problems

 

Social Enterprise in Bangkok Image courtesy of Sputnik Tales: Studio Facebook page

Sputnik Tales uses animation to communicate social problems in fun and creative ways in order to simplify complex issues for anyone to understand. The company hires students so that their prices are 40% lesser than other animation companies. They also provide training for young animators and organizes exhibitions through the sponsorship of either the public or private sectors.
The company has finished 10 projects and earned around 600,000 Baht for the first year.

4. OpenDream — Creation of apps for better livelihood

 

Social Enterprise in Bangkok Image courtesy of OpenDream Facebook

OpenDream uses IT to design internet-based apps and mobile apps that can help improve livelihood and aid in solving social problems. It uses digital technology to offer solutions to problems that plague society such as issues of health, education, and living conditions. With the use of data, OpenDream creates digital tools such as for tracking disease outbreaks in remote areas or create games that present disaster preparedness, or to promote safe sex.
The company works with other organizations from both at home and abroad, such as the Google Foundation, Oxfam GB Foundation, Skoll Global Threats Fund or universities in order to boost performance, extend its reach and sustainability.
OpenDream projects include:

  • Thai Folk Doctor Foundation, the most popular health-related website in Thailand which has more than 6,000 health articles.
  • Along with ChangeFusion, OpenDream developed InfoAid, a web app that provides flood data for the public. This was used during the big floods in 2011.
  • Also along with ChangeFusion, the Google Foundation, DTAC, INSTEDD, OpenDream is also developing a mobile-based disease surveillance system which was used in helping combat the 2009 flu outbreaks in Thailand and Laos. This project won the Thailand ICT Excellence Awards in 2011.
  • Along with Oxfam, OpenDream developed the Pink Mobile System to support low-income women in Cambodia and Indonesia.

 

5. New Heaven Reef Conservation Program (NHRCP) — marine conservation and environmental protection

 
Social Enterprise in Bangkok

Image courtesy of New Heaven Reef Conservation Program Facebook

New Heaven Reef Conservation Program (NHRCP) is an international diving school that conducts training on marine ecology including research on oceanography in Koh Tao, Surat Thani. The group’s objective, which began in 1995 is primarily for the protection of the marine resources around the island along with social projects in partnership with other groups.
New Heaven had hosted NGOs and universities who wanted to study or implement projects on the island. But the main partner of New Heaven is the Thai Royal Navy and Khun Jintana, known locally as queen of the giant clams. Through these groups the organization is able to gain important knowledge about coral reef ecology and marine conservation. Projects undertaken by the collaboration are: mooring buoy installation; coral restoration; and crown of thorns research.
In 2005 New Heaven linked with other diving schools through the Koh Tao Dive Operators club in order to promote awareness including the construction of a small Biorock project in Taa Cha Bay. They continued to take over the maintenance of the Taa Chaa Biorock even after the partnerships dissolved.
Other projects undertaken by New Heaven along with its partners are: monitoring of reef and water quality; kids swimming/diving program for kids; digital mapping of the island, vegetable oil recycling including biodiesel production; marine education for instructors; and much more.
ACHIEVEMENTS:

  • NHCRP has restored and built habitats for coral reefs around the bay
  • In 2012, NHRCP made 20 artificial reefs and 100 small habitats to rejuvenate unhealthy corals.
  • NHRCP has taught more than 100 students in 2012
  • NHRCP also built awareness among local community and other scuba diving businesses in Koh Tao and some part on Koh Phangan.

6. LocalAlike.com — community based tourism

 

12644703_893451820752974_8620926143284458877_nImage courtesy of Lokal Alike Facebook page

LocalAlike.com is an online marketplace where one can find authentic travel tours specially designed to be enjoyable and where one can truly experience local communities across Southeast Asia.
The tours include local food trips, immersion into the cultures, adventurous treks, bicycle rides around town, and other experiences one doesn’t find in traditional tour companies.
Local Alike will match you with local communities and tour operators instead of a single tour guide. Known as a community based tourism, the program allows local residents and businesses to create the best experiences for the traveler that promotes environmental, social and cultural sustainability.
This type of tourism is owned and run by the community for purpose of enabling visitors to learn first hand about a community’s local way of life.
Local Alike also has a free online solution for locals to use in managing their tourism business.

7. Ok-pai-darn — using movie-making to comment on social issues

 
love-not-yet-poster2

Image courtesy of changefusion.org

Ok-pai-darn is a group of short filmmakers working with youths and NGOs to produce feature films that tackle social issues. The group believes that films are an effective tool to communicate issues about social behavior. Ok-pai-darn’s long-term goal is to set up a training institute for the filmmaking that will be centered on social awareness.
There have been at least 200,000 people who saw the first movie on teenage pregnancy, “Love-not-Yet.” NGOs or civil society organisations can tap Ok-pai-darn to create films for them to communicate social/environmental issues.
The group wishes to inspire independent filmmakers to think about society in their work and to give young filmmakers opportunities to work with them.

8. Grassroots Innovation Network (GIN) — organic farming

 

Social Enterprise in Bangkok Image courtesy of changefusion.org

Grassroots Innovation Network (GIN) helps Thai farmers who suffer financially due to the practice of industrial agriculture. They earn income by selling organic starter kits and organic crops such as rice and fertilisers.
The group is a sustainable organic farming network that provides knowledge and guidance to its member farmers including the lending of starter kits to them such as seeds, organic fertiliser, water dripping system, etc. Once the farmers have harvested their crops, they can then repay the cost of the starter kits for the use of new members. This helps expand the network.
Farmers can also use some of the organic products for their families or they can sell them for additional income.
Because the cost of organic farming is cheaper compared to the old method of chemical farming, the income of GIN’s member farmers have increased by 13% and their profits have increased by 133%.
Because organic products fetch higher prices in the market, the farmers are able to earn more. Another advantage is that they are also supplied healthier organic products such as Hom-Nin rice and Sin-Lek rice that are higher in nutrition.
Another advantage is that GIN is able to help protect the environment because organic farming protects soil surface. As GIN’s network expands, it predicts that by 2017, organic farms will increase to up to 3,796 acres of land.

Helpful articles and blog posts on Bangkok’s social enterprises

We only recommend writers and blogs that we read regularly and believe will deliver substantial value to our readers. The following is our top picks of articles we think are worth reading for more reviews and information on some of Bangkok’s amazing social enterprises!

Looking to volunteer in Bangkok? Or someone you know who wish to travel to Bangkok and not just immerse himself in the culture but also reach out a helping hand? Check out our recommendations: Volunteer in Bangkok – 10 Great Options
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Do you have an awesome link to a relevant well written article that should be included here? If so, hit us up on Twitter by following and messaging us the link. Looking for the best budget stays in Bangkok? Check out our guide to Bangkok for further information.
 

About the Author

Mad Monkey is Southeast Asia’s leading hostel operator — born in Cambodia with more properties in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Laos, and the Philippines. We pride ourselves in creating meaningful and sustainable travel experiences for our guests, whilst promoting socially responsible tourism.

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