“Impact NOW” Brings Sustainable Thai Innovations to a Global Audience

Benjamin Rujopakarn

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand (MFA), in partnership with the National Innovation Agency (Public Organization) (NIA) and British Council Thailand, has organized “Impact NOW,” a sustainable enterprise showcase and multi-chamber networking event on September 14th, 2022 at the Montien Hotel Surawong Bangkok. Find Folk, a sustainable destination management consultancy, took home the inaugural Impact NOW “Best in Show” Award 2022.

The MFA created the Impact NOW event to connect Thailand’s sustainable enterprises and the wider social impact ecosystem to the foreign business community. The event saw over 180 attendees, consisting of members of 14 foreign chambers of commerce & trade associations, members of the diplomatic corps, and representatives from the Thai government.

Spotlighting social entrepreneurship in Thailand

Mr. Sappawat Kantamara from Find Folk, Ms. Suthasiny Sudprasert from Happy Grocers, Mr. Amorpol Huvanandana from moreloop, and Ms. Methawee Thatsanasateankit from Vulcan Coalition during the pitches at Impact NOW
Clockwise from top left: Mr. Sappawat Kantamara (Strategic Marketing and Sustainability Manager, Find Folk), Ms. Suthasiny Sudprasert (Co-CEO & Co-founder, Happy Grocers), Mr. Amorpol Huvanandana (CEO & Co-founder, moreloop), and Ms. Methawee Thatsanasateankit (CEO, Vulcan Coalition).

Impact NOW featured four sustainable enterprises—Find Folk, Happy Grocers, moreloop, and Vulcan Coalition—shortlisted from candidates who participated in grant programs and pitching contests organized by the NIA.

The four companies were invited to showcase their sustainable business models through the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Attendees then voted for one enterprise to receive the Impact NOW “Best in Show” Award 2022, recognizing the company that best exemplified the change they want to see in Thailand.

Find Folk, the winner of the Impact NOW Best in Show award 2022 with Mr. Tanee Sangrat and Mr. Satha Vanalabhpatana
From left to right: Mr. Satha Vanalabhpatana (Director, Corporate Strategy and Risk Management, AMATA Corporation PLC), Mr. Tanee Sangrat (Director-General, Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Mr. Sappawat Kantamara (Strategic Marketing and Sustainability Manager, Find Folk), and Mr. Jakkapong Chinkrathok (CEO & Founder, Find Folk).

Find Folk’s Strategic Marketing and Sustainability Manager Mr. Sappawat Kantamara said his team is very grateful for having been voted for the award and that Find Folk is dedicated to its ambition of realizing sustainability on every platform and in every action.

Crises fuel sustainability development efforts

As the world lurches from crisis to crisis, sustainable, resilient development is very much on the mind of global leaders and policymakers.

Impact NOW comes on the heels of the Global South-South Development Expo 2022 held from September 12th–14th, 2022 at the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok. The event was also organized during Thailand’s host year for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which the country has used to advocate its Bio-Circular-Green Economic Model, which is reportedly gaining traction among APEC member economies, especially those that see similar applications in their respective agricultural sectors.

Mr. Satha Vanalabhpatana, Dr. Georg Weingartner, Ms. Alina Gaumann, Ms. Helga Stellmacher, Dr. Vilawan Mangklatanakul, Dr. Pun Arj Chairatana, ML Radeethep Devakula, ML Radeethep Devakula, Mr. Alan McCabe, Mr. Pawel Mokrzycki, Mr. Casper Sermsuksan, Ms. Chayaporn Kumtean, Mr. Viboon Supakarapongkul, and Mr. Robert Woodrich
Front row: Mr. Satha Vanalabhpatana (Director, Corporate Strategy and Risk Management, AMATA Corporation PLC), Dr. Georg Weingartner (Commercial Counsellor, Embassy of Austria in Thailand), Ms. Alina Gäumann (Deputy Head of the Political and Economic Section, Embassy of Switzerland in Thailand), Ms. Helga Stellmacher (Country Director, British Council Thailand), Dr. Vilawan Mangklatanakul (Deputy Permanent Secretary, MFA), Dr. Pun-Arj Chairatana (Executive Director, NIA), ML Radeethep Devakula (Director of Protocol & International Affairs, ThaiBev PLC), Mr. Alan McCabe (Investment Consultant, AMATA Corporation PLC), Mr. Pawel Mokrzycki (Attaché, Embassy of Poland in Thailand). Second row: Mr. Casper Sermsuksan (Executive Vice President, Global & Strategy, Thai Startup Trade Association), Ms. Chayaporn Kumtean (Wine & Spirits Manager, BB&B Co., Ltd.), Mr. Viboon Supakarapongkul (Vice Chairman, Thai Chamber of Commerce), and Mr. Robert Woodrich (Co-founder & CEO, PAPER & PAGE (Thailand) Co., Ltd.).

Referring to the sustainable enterprises featured at Impact NOW, MFA Deputy Permanent Secretary Dr. Vilawan Mangkalatanakul said, “They put policy aspirations into practice. Policies like the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, and the Bio-Circular-Green, or BCG Economy Model that we are advancing as APEC host economy this year.”

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) produced an SDG Investor Map for Thailand in July this year in partnership with the Securities Exchange Commission of Thailand and the Centre for Impact Investing and Practices (CIIP). The SDG Investor Map for Thailand identifies investment opportunity areas ideal for impact investment.

Several members of the diplomatic corps in attendance praised the goals of the event.

“It is very, very important to support any event that focuses on SDGs,” said Dr. Georg Weingartner, Commercial Counselor of the Embassy of Austria in Thailand. “I was very impressed today when I saw the presentations of the companies, of the startups; I was also very impressed with the solutions they could offer.”

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Benjamin Rujopakarn

Ben has worn several hats in broadcast television and radio news programs, culminating in his role as Head of Content at Bangkok-based digital marketing agency PAPER & PAGE (Thailand) Co., Ltd. and Editor-in-Chief of Thailand NOW. Though he has extensive experience in media communications, Ben holds degrees in marine science and molecular biology from UNSW and UT Dallas, respectively.

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