Action Day: Women Entrepreneurs Share Success Stories from Thailand
July 6, 2022
“Running your company with integrity is the key to winning the trust of stakeholders and establishing a successful business practice in the long term”.
Khun Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, former Minister of Tourism and Sport of Thailand, chairperson of Kasikorn Bank (K-Bank) and Toshiba Thailand Ltd.
The nexus between gender and corruption is complex. While women's marginalization makes them more vulnerable to corruption, women's empowerment is a powerful tool to mitigate corruption as it complicates the social networks and mechanisms that allow the proliferation of unfair practices (APEC Policy Brief 2021). To strengthen transparency and accountability instruments in the business sector through empowered women's business networks, UNDP in partnership with the Federation of Business and Professional Women of Thailand (FBPWT) and with the support of the UK Government, the ASEAN Economic Reform Programme, organized the "Women Leadership in Business Integrity" initiative.
Since the first edition in 2021, the initiative has supported building women entrepreneurs' capacity on key business integrity pillars, contributing to creating an inclusive and transparent workplace in Thailand. While primarily Bangkok-based entrepreneurs attended the 2021 workshop, the new edition expanded to the sub-national level for a more extensive impact on the community.
Following workshop sessions in March and an Open Day in June, the Action Day which took place on 6 July 2022, marked the end of the programme with 60 participants from Nakhon Ratchasima and Nakhon Pathom provinces.
Dr Soipetch, Secretary General (International Affairs) FBPW Thailand, kicked off the event, followed by the opening remarks by Mrs Chansamorn Wattanavekin, former FBPWT President. With an inspirational speech, she celebrated the participants' commitment to improving governance standards in their companies, encouraging them to enforce integrity from the outset of their businesses as the key to long-term success. While acknowledging the challenges faced by companies in resuming activities after the long period of restrictions imposed by Covid-19, Mr Renaud Meyer, Resident Representative UNDP Thailand, emphasized the importance of integrity and transparency in times of crisis. At the same time, he underlined how FBPTW's extensive network could influence decision-makers to promote a better business environment and support the SDG localization efforts.
The Action Day focused on the programme evaluation and showcased four success stories narrated by entrepreneurs with the coordination of Ms Phatchanee Pliankoed, moderator and founder of Sujaritthai – ThaiHonesty.
For Ms Rawan Sanghirun, Branch Manager at Kiatnakin Phatra Bank, honesty and transparency are of the highest importance. She shared how she implemented the knowledge acquired during the workshop by becoming a role model to demonstrate the commitment of the bank's leadership to the "Happy Money" project. The initiative focused primarily on educating on financial planning and discipline, targeted students across Nakon Pathom province, raising awareness about unethical behaviours and spreading integrity principles in the community.
Marketing Manager at Patapeethong Group, Ms Rattana Angsirilawan's experience was similar to improving compliance and internal mechanisms. She focused on transferring the learning about the benefits of working with transparency with employees. With a new bottom-up communication approach, staff became more involved and aware of their responsibility, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and fewer internal conflicts.
Ms Savica Limpasuvanna, Engineering Consultant at Heran S. Sevee Group Co. Ltd., shared her struggle with the company's gift policy which could be a matter of concern if not well-managed. In the past months following the training, she implemented a new discount pricing strategy, applied to all suppliers and customers, fostering more transparent business practices.
The training provided Ms Sudaporn Suwatnodom, from Golden Farm Korat, with the vision to commit to more equality and integrity in her company. In order to reinforce the company's commitment to promoting an inclusive, safe and secure working environment for all workers, the board of directors decided to equalize the salaries and welfare conditions of foreign and Thai employees. Protecting the rights for equal pay and non-discrimination based on ethnicity contributed to raising transparency, well-being and sustainability in the company.
In conclusion, the second edition of the “Women Leadership in Business Integrity” program has produced a wide range of positive results in the companies from the provinces of Nakhon Pathom and Nakhon Ratchasima, impacting more than 500 employees by improving transparency and integrity in the work environment in which they operate.
Following the success stories, Khun Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, former Minister of Tourism and Sport of Thailand, chairperson of Kasikorn Bank (K-Bank) and Toshiba Thailand Ltd, gave an inspirational speech on her life experience as a prominent businesswoman. According to her: "If we want to establish a successful business practice, integrity and ethical behaviours must be rooted in the heart of the company. This will lead you to win the trust of stakeholders and investors who will support you during a time of crisis".
Representing BPW Nakhon Pathom, President Khun Natpraparn Junlamoon, expressed appreciation to UNDP for this valuable partnership and the support throughout the project, where gaining expertise on internal control procedures played an important for the participants. Khun Voranun Manawakul, BPW President Nakhon Ratchasima, acknowledged how passing knowledge to employees enhances sustainable business practices within the organizations.
In her closing remarks, Khun Chularat Issarangkul na Ayuddhaya, Vice-President, International Federation Business and Professional Women (IFBPW), congratulated the women leaders of FBPW for their energetic engagement and stories of working towards integrity in their various fields.
As a token of appreciation, Mr Darko Pavlovic, Project Manager, FairBiz UNDP, presented the participants with a virtual certificate. In the remarks, he thanked the UK Government, ASEAN Economic Reform Programme, for supporting the new edition of this initiative and praised the women entrepreneurs for their dedication and commitment and for becoming real business integrity champions. He expressed hope that the knowledge that participants have gained will act as a catalyst for change in their companies.