Women business owners and entrepreneurs from across Thailand joined ITU Telecom World to benefit from training sessions to use online platforms to help grow their businesses online. This half-day event on November 16, 2017 featured hands-on mentoring for 27 women entrepreneurs leading startups or small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Thailand.
The session was led by EQUALS – a joint International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and UN Women initiative – as well as the Thaitrade.com programme Smart Online SMEs, Growth Hacking Asia, and the International Trade Centre ‘SheTrades’ initiative. Funds from the Mozilla Foundation allowed the Research Center of Communication and Development Knowledge Management (CCDKM) to arrange travel and translation for their network of ‘Smart Women’ entrepreneurs from across the country so these women could benefit from learning and networking opportunities at ITU Telecom World.
Speaking to the session, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ITU’s Chief of Strategic Planning and Membership noted that, “SME growth is a key factor to increased GDP in Thailand and across the world, and it is proven that women-run businesses tend to do better, fail less and lead to economic improvements for families and society as a whole. As female entrepreneurs, you are embarking on a journey of self-reliance and are creating new opportunities for yourselves and your communities.”
At this special training session, demonstrations of technological tools helped these women-owned businesses extend their reach through online promotion.
Small group sessions provided digital skills to sell products and services online. Thaitrade.com’s Director of Digital Commerce Market Office, Arada Fuangtong, ran a session to help product sellers connect to their online retailing website. Growth Hacking Asia’s CEO Anna Rehermann ran a session for women to learn about the challenges and opportunities for marketing their products in Thailand and South East Asia.
CCDKM, a GEM-TECH Awards 2015 Winner, is an organization committed to bridging the digital divide and increasing the social and economic impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) at the grassroots level in Thailand. Speaking at the event, their founder Dr. Kamolrat Intaratat said “Thank you to ITU and the Mozilla foundation for allowing us to bring women from around our country to really gain skills related to their business.”
The International Trade Centre displayed their catalog of resources from their SheTrades initiative aiming to connect one million women entrepreneurs to market by 2020. The platform is a unique tool for women entrepreneurs around the world to address many gender-specific barriers to trade and brings together thousands of women-owned businesses to showcase their products in sectors ranging from agriculture to information technology.
At the session, Sirinut Chimplee, founder of Sirinut Betta Farm, said, “I met friends, made new relationships and maybe some new partners for my business. I have a website with 10,000 visitors and I hope it’s going up, thanks to today.”
Another participant, Pasinee Leelavit, a Thai business owner said, “I learned about ways for online selling my paper-mâché art. In the past, we didn’t have IT, the net and online trading, but now it is needed to help Thai traders.”
The 27 women left the day with new knowledge about digital opportunities for their businesses and a new network of support for their continued progress.
If you want to know more, you can view the Presentation Materials from the Mentorship Sessions below.
Theadora (@TheadoraMills) is the Communications Consultant for Gender Equality and Mainstreaming at ITU. She holds an M.A. in Communication and Culture from York and Ryerson University Joint Graduate Program. She is the Founder and Director of Canopy Communications, a communications and events consulting company based out of Canada. She has worked as the social media coordinator for Journalists for Human Rights and the Communications Coordinator at the Canadian Centre for Diversity. She was born in Ottawa, Canada and attended Wilfrid Laurier University for her B.A. in Communication Studies and Business.