2020 was a challenging year beyond what many people have imagined. Businesses whether in any industry had to adjust their strategies and change the way they worked in order to survive in a never normal era where nothing will be the same. And with current situation that everyone has to be vigilant every minute, both government and private sectors must work together and help each other to overcome this crisis.
This was the reason why Banpu Public Company Limited was committed to working on supporting social enterprises in 2020 through the Banpu Champions for Change (BC4C) project, which has been operating for 10 years. This year, the project introduced the new activity format namely “UpImpact by Banpu Champions for Change” in collaboration with ChangeFusion, a non-profit organization under the Thai Rural Reconstruction Movement Foundation under Royal Patronage. With a belief that social enterprise is another driving force that helps create sustainability for the Thai economy, especially strengthening grassroots economy for its own growth, Banpu had selected 20 teams of social enterprises, both the ones that joined BC4C program and other SEs with potential to create positive social impact.
They joined the activity to enhance their business knowledge and skills through social entrepreneurship development training by gurus and experts under the principle of Up-Thinking → Up-Skilling → Up-Implementing, a process that would provide tangible knowledge and inspire participants. This would lead them to have a better thinking and planning skill for business development as well as skill development to increase capability and reach their goals while improving business plan with a mentoring system by advisors and assistance from a group of experts. The activity also contained 4 webinars for both social enterprises and the general public, covering a wide range of topics such as consumer insights, online marketing, online content creation, fund raising, and business scale expansion.
“UpImpact by Banpu Champions for Change” to Drive the Growth of Social Enterprises
Ms. Nilobon Pramarn, one of the participants from Banpu Champions for Change 5 program and a representative of Flow Folk, a social enterprise that helped revive the craft of rural communities by adding value to local resources, said, “By participating the “UpImpact by Banpu Champions for Change” activity, we have a clearer understanding of our business and we have seen a way to be more systematic which would allow us to be ready to expand the business and support other social enterprises. We provided consultancy and advice to Attaluck, one of the social enterprises participating in BC4C#9, to Den Pasak community in Mae Chan district, Chiang Rai province, as well as the Natom Organic Development Community Enterprise in Phrae province with knowledge in product development and branding for local products to bring growth to their communities.”
Ms. Sarisa Kanokthanyarat from Young Happy, a social enterprise that aims to create a community for senior citizens both in Thailand and abroad, said “After joining the “UpImpact by Banpu Champions for Change” activity and after we faced the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic, in the past year Young Happy has adapted ourselves to focus more on online activities. We currently have more than 100,000 members across all channels, including Facebook fanpage and applications. What we have developed further for our business include how we create edutainment activities for target groups who are elderly, such as online daily challenge activity. We tasked them with several missions. It can be a simple one like drinking 8 glasses of water each day or swinging arms regularly to get healthy and fight diseases and etc. We have learned so much about how to measure results and that was how our work became more systematic. We also had an idea to engage with social enterprise network to carry out new projects in the future.”
For Mr. Surasek Yuthiwat, a representative from Toolmorrow, a website that creates and produces content to improve the quality of life for children and youth and to create change in society, said, “For participating in this activity, entrepreneurs can see ways to expand their businesses by changing their target audience without starting over at the beginning step. Last year, Toolmorrow began organizing an online group sharing activity for both volunteered and enrolled parents, allowing them to share their experiences and learn from each other. That led to how they could adjust the ways they behave to their children. We also know more about building partnerships with both government agencies and private companies to let them support Toolmorrow in a more systematic manner, which, in the end, allowed us to see clearer about our core value and, as we have that, it will help us create benefits for more people in the society.”
Above are the benefits that participants have received but what about the intention of the organizer?
“2020 marked as the 10th anniversary of this project. Although, as we faced the COVID-19 pandemic last year, we had to adjust our activity and run it on online platform. For the webinars and workshops of “UpImpact by Banpu Champions for Change”, we hope to encourage social enterprises to gain some ideas from gurus and experts to help strengthen their business in this challenging time and equip themselves to be ready to deal with any situation which may cause further difficulties in the future. For the activities in the past year, it has been very fulfilling as we have seen significant changes in the participating 20 SE teams as they could return both economic and social benefits back to the local communities sustainably. This means they can create more jobs and earn more income for the communities, not to mention how they can develop local products with quality and make it accepted among international markets,” said Mrs. Udomlux Olarn, Head of Corporate Communications of Banpu Public Company Limited.
Mr. Sunit Shrestha, Managing Director of ChangeFusion, who shares the same goal in this mission said, “The UpImpact activity has been successful in terms of allowing participants to learn and to find ways to adapt and develop their businesses while moving forward in a way that benefits their own business as well as sharing benefits to the society. Facing huge challenge like COVID-19 was a wake-up call for everyone. It encouraged everyone to work together to find new ways to survive and grow business. Listening to great experiences and advices from business and social enterprise experts can also help entrepreneurs come up with new ideas, whether they are about communicating effectively through new channels or having a better understanding of their business. These lead to the development of internal management as well as enhancement of people’s potential in the organization to cope with challenges while building partnership within the social enterprise network that can be further developed into business cooperation in the future. All in all, it is clear to us that social enterprise is a sustainable business operation that contributes to the stability of community economy.”
To keep business continuity and people moving forward, cooperation from all sectors are the key enabler, just like the cooperation between Banpu and ChangeFusion as they stepped forward and arranged the “UpImpact by Banpu Champions for Change” activity in the past year. They aim to build on the success of social enterprises which certainly lead to the survival of communities across the country, especially during this challenging time. Banpu, as an organization that has prided itself with dedication to come up with a series of social responsibility activities, has pledged to continue its good activities through the Banpu Champions for Change program and is beginning to initiate a incubation program in 2021 for social entrepreneurs which is broadly beneficial to society afterwards.
For more information about “Banpu Champions for Change” program, please visit Banpu Champions for Change Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/banpuchampions/
About Banpu Public Company Limited
Banpu Public Company Limited is an international versatile energy provider in the Asia Pacific operating three core groups of businesses – energy resources, energy generation, and energy technology – in ten countries: Thailand, Indonesia, China, Australia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Singapore, Japan, the United States of America and Vietnam.