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Social Entrepreneur: Business for the whole village

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Young Akha hilltribe businessperson brings his whole village & community along with him on his venture into the world of business. 



Young social entrepreneur Mr Lee inspects some coffee beans near his village Mae Jantai in Chiang Rai. The 26-year-old, the first from his village to attend university, is providing his community fresh opportunities

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Economics

Tribalism has its perks 

Lee Ayu Chuepa is doing well by doing good with his village-grown Akha Ama Coffee
14/08/2012
Malinee Shamrock

In recent years, small businesses, especially coffee and bakery shops, have been popping up on many corners and plazas in Chiang Mai, Thailand's northern capital.

The desire for a cup of coffee and a snack seems to be an ever-increasing trend among upwardly mobile Thais and the plethora of expats rushing to relocate to villages surrounding this large and culturally significant city.

Amid the proliferation there is Akha Ama Coffee, owned and run by Lee Ayu Chuepa, a young-looking 26-year-old Akha tribesman who is full of passion for raising income and the quality of life for his tribal fellows..

...Born and raised in the northern mountain village of Mae Jantai in Chiang Rai province, his journey began when he told his parents that he wanted to further his studies.

At a temple in Lamphun, he learned to speak Thai and some English. He later attended university, a feat no one else in his village had ever achieved.

He did an internship at Child's Dream Foundation, then became a full-time staffer for three years... 

...He started to think about what his own village had to offer. What was an international product? What was long-lasting

"Coffee, I realised, is a stable commodity and my village was already growing it. But the problem was that we received very little benefit from it. We had knowledge but we were not business-savvy," said Mr Lee.

The brand Akha Ama (literally "Akha Mother") emerged in 2010, partly supported by a social entrepreneurship grant.

A year after, Mr Lee broadened his idea to tribal fellows to improve their cultivation methods using modern technology. He found that by educating the village coffee growers to produce a quality product, he could raise the selling price - and the revenue gained by the farmers would rise in turn.

Once a quality coffee bean became available, Mr Lee entered an evaluation event in London called the World Cup Tasters Championship in 2010. As a result of the exposure, he received certification for the only Thai coffee brand currently submitted. The selling price of the coffee beans has increased.

"Since I started, I've heard about the superiority of different overseas coffee brands," he said. "I thought good coffee doesn't have to be foreign. This is Thai coffee, grown in Thailand and roasted here to be drunk in Thailand.

And after our coffee was accepted and certified, the income of village people increased by more than 60%. 

The Akha Ama coffee shop sells 100-160 cups a day. For the coffee packages, average trade is 400 kilogrammes a month.

Despite the well-known reputation of Akha Ama coffee, Mr Lee does not want to franchise the business, mainly out of concern for quality control.

"We cannot afford to do the franchise due to the difficulty of management, the lack of staff and, of course, the quality of the coffee's flavour," he said.

It's not an easy task to control all the staff and produce a coffee menu that has exactly the same taste.

Akha Ama coffee packages can be purchased at leading stores in Chiang Mai such as Rimping Supermarket and Kasem or by express mail throughout Thailand.

Mr Lee has no plans to rest. He has talked of increasing the number of branches in another province.

We plan to expand our market to Bangkok. The issue now is not the quality of our coffee but the quantity, as the amount of our beans is quite limited," he said...

(Source: Bangkok Post, Economics, Tribalism has its perks, Lee Ayu Chuepa is doing well by doing good with his village-grown Akha Ama Coffee, 14/08/2012, Malinee Shamrock, link


Social Entrepreneurship Vocabulary

social entrepreneurship - "the recognition of a social problem and the uses of entrepreneurial principles to organise, create and manage a social venture to achieve a desired social change. While a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur also measures positive returns to society. Thus, the main aim of social entrepreneurship is to further broaden social, cultural, and environmental goals" (See Wikipedia)

social entrepreneur -
a businessperson who does social entrepreneurship (runs a business to benefit community, not just to make a profit)

community - local people, all the people who live in a local area or place ชุมชน

opportunities - situations in which it is possible to do what you want or need to do
fresh opportunities - new opportunities

perks - extra things a person receives in addition to their salary

doing well by doing good - meaning: be successful in life by helping other people
village-grown coffee - coffee grown in a village (by smallholder villagers, not large corporate plantations)

inspect - check, look at closely for problems
inspects some coffee beans  

smallholder - a small farmer, family run farm 
plantation -
a large farm owned by a company, that pays workers a wage for their work 

Lee Ayu Chuepa is doing well by doing good with his village-grown Akha Ama Coffee

bakery - a store that sells bread, cakes and other related products

corners -
street corners (meaning: a new store on the street)
plaza - shopping plaza, small shopping center or mall

pop up - appearing, coming into existence, being made or created
popping up on many corners and plazas in Chiang Mai

capital - the central most important city in a country (or here: in a region)
Chiang Mai, Thailand's northern capital

In recent years, small businesses, especially coffee and bakery shops, have been popping up on many corners and plazas in Chiang Mai, Thailand's northern capital.

trend - a new development in clothing, make-up, etc แนวโน้ม a gradual change or development that produces a particular result ทิศทาง แนวโน้ม
an ever-increasing trend - more and more people are doing it over time

mobile -
moving from one place to another; able to move from one place to another
upwardly mobile
- earning more money and having a higher position in society than your parents did (moving from a lower socio-economic group (e.g. the poor) to a higher one (e.g. the middle class or the rich)
upwardly mobile Thais


an ever-increasing trend among upwardly mobile Thais

plethora - many
expats - people who live for a long time outside their own country
the plethora of expats

relocate - move to another location ย้ายไปตั้งอีกที่หนึ่ง
rushing to relocate

the plethora of expats rushing to relocate

surrounding - all around a place บริเวณรอบๆ
surrounding the city
villages surrounding the city

significant - important สำคัญ
culturally significant city - a city with an important culture (or important for culture) 

villages surrounding this large and culturally significant city

desire- wanting something

The desire for a cup of coffee and a snack seems to be an ever-increasing trend among upwardly mobile Thais and the plethora of expats rushing to relocate to villages surrounding this large and culturally significant city.

amid - happening at the same time as...; in the middle of this process
proliferation - when a lot of something is created (or comes into being)
amid the proliferation - at the same time as these things are coming into existence ...

passion
- love; a strong enthusiasm or interest ความชื่นชม หลงใหล
full of passion for ... - full of love for ...  (loves doing this activity)

income - money that people receive from work or some other source, used for household consumption and savings
quality of life

tribe
(noun) - a form of social organization that comes before the state, seen nowadays in ethnic minorities and hilltribes such as the Akha, Lahu, Lisu, Sgaw Karen, Pwo, Mlabri, Sea Gypsies (See Wikipedia)
tribal
(adjective)

fellows -
people the same as you are
tribal fellows - tribal people like you are

raising the income and the quality of life for his tribal fellows..

full of passion for raising the income and the quality of life for his tribal fellows

further his studies
- to study more, go to school more, to learn more, to get more degrees or certificates, qualifications

Amid the proliferation there is Akha Ama Coffee, owned and run by Lee Ayu Chuepa, a young-looking 26-year-old Akha tribesman who is full of passion for raising income and the quality of life for his tribal fellows ...Born and raised in the northern mountain village of Mae Jantai in Chiang Rai province, his journey began when he told his parents that he wanted to further his studies.

international - ระหว่างประเทศ between countries

feat - achieving a difficult to achieve goal
a feat no one else achieved -
a difficult goal that only this one person achieved

intern - student intern, a student who works at a company to gain work experience
internship - the activity of being a student intern at a company  การฝึกงาน

full-time job - a job that requires 40+ hours of work each week
part-time job - a job that requires less than a full work day of work (example: 20 hours per week, half-time)

staff - workers, employees พนักงาน
staffer - Same as "staff"
full-time staffer - an employee at a company who has a full-time job

At a temple in Lamphun, he learned to speak Thai and some English. He later attended university, a feat no one else in his village had ever achieved. He did an internship at Child's Dream Foundation, then became a full-time staffer for three years... 

international
international product

long-lasting - continuing to exist or have an effect for a long time ที่กินเวลานาน

...He started to think about what his own village had to offer. What was an international product? What was long-lasting

realised - when what was planned is completed;   achieved ทำให้เป็นจริง
stable - firmly fixed, not likely to move or change a lot, not likely to fail คงที่ ไม่เปลี่ยนแปลง มั่นคง
stable commodity

benefit - to get help or an advantage from something ผลประโยชน์

savvy - knowing a lot about something, able to understand it, deal with situations and people and make good decisions
business-savvy - having practical knowledge of business (how to deal with situations and people)

"Coffee, I realised, is a stable commodity and my village was already growing it. But the problem was that we received very little benefit from it. We had knowledge but we were not business-savvy," said Mr Lee.

brand - a type of product made by a particular company ตรา, ยี่ห้อ
emerged - come into being; to come out of something; appeared ปรากฏออกมา ปรากฏให้เห็น โผล่ออกมา

entrepreneurship - the practice of starting and running businesses
social entrepreneurship

grant
- to officially give something to someone ให้

The brand Akha Ama (literally "Akha Mother") emerged in 2010, partly supported by a social entrepreneurship grant.

cultivation - growing plants
cultivation methods

improve - to make better ทำให้ดีขึ้น
improve their cultivation methods

revenue - income from taxes or business activities รายได้

A year after, Mr Lee broadened his idea to tribal fellows to improve their cultivation methods using modern technology. He found that by educating the village coffee growers to produce a quality product, he could raise the selling price - and the revenue gained by the farmers would rise in turn.

evaluation
exposure - not covered or protected from harm, runs a risk of being harmed
exposure - in a position where you might be harmed or suffer damage

certification - an official process that provides proof that certain standards have been met after tests and inspection, an official document (certificate) to prove that these standards have been met การรับรองคุณภาพ
certified - inspected officially and verified that the company follows the rules ผ่านการรับรองคุณภาพ
submitted - formally given to someone so that they can make a decision about it ยื่น ยื่นเอกสารเพื่อการพิจารณา

Once a quality coffee bean became available, Mr Lee entered an evaluation event in London called the World Cup Tasters Championship in 2010. As a result of the exposure, he received certification for the only Thai coffee brand currently submitted. The selling price of the coffee beans has increased.

superiority - better than others 
brands
- products with well-established names that people remember, that create a certain image and expectations about the product


"Since I started, I've heard about the superiority of different overseas coffee brands," he said. "I thought good coffee doesn't have to be foreign. This is Thai coffee, grown in Thailand and roasted here to be drunk in Thailand. And after our coffee was accepted and certified, the income of village people increased by more than 60%. 

trade - the buying and selling of goods การค้าขาย

well-known -
famous; many people know about it
reputation - the opinion people have about how good or bad someone or something is ชื่อเสียง ความนับหน้าถือตา  ที่เป็นที่รู้จัก

franchise
- a formal agreement for someone to sell a company's products or services in a particular place การขายระบบแฟรนไชนส์ คือมีสาขาของร้านค้า เช่น 7-eleven

concern
- a worry ความกังวล
quality control - making sure that the product produced meets quality standards

afford
- to have enough money and resources to be able to pay for something มีเงินพอจับจ่าย ซื้อหา มีเงิน/ทุนพอ สามารถทำได้
cannot afford to do X  -
we don't have what we need to do project X

lack
- does not have ขาดแคลน
lack of staff - have no workers (to do some job)

task - a piece of work that someone does หน้าที่ ภารกิจ
not an easy task to control

The Akha Ama coffee shop sells 100-160 cups a day. For the coffee packages, average trade is 400 kilogrammes a month. Despite the well-known reputation of Akha Ama coffee, Mr Lee does not want to franchise the business, mainly out of concern for quality control. "We cannot afford to do the franchise due to the difficulty of management, the lack of staff and, of course, the quality of the coffee's flavour," he said. It's not an easy task to control all the staff and produce a coffee menu that has exactly the same taste.

expand
- to become larger ขายตัวออกไป
expand our market to Bangkok

issue - an important subject that people are arguing about or discussing ประเด็น
the issue now is ....

Akha Ama coffee packages can be purchased at leading stores in Chiang Mai such as Rimping Supermarket and Kasem or by express mail throughout Thailand. Mr Lee has no plans to rest. He has talked of increasing the number of branches in another province. We plan to expand our market to Bangkok. The issue now is not the quality of our coffee but the quantity, as the amount of our beans is quite limited," he said...


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