Women in business feted ahead of Apec summit

Women in business feted ahead of Apec summit

(from left) Suphajee Suthumpun, group chief executive of Dusit International; Sujinda Cherdchai, president of the Thai Bus Operators Association; Atcharin Pattanaphanchai, permanent secretary of the Digital Economy and Society Ministry, and Faseri Praphantha, president of social enterprise Rai Na Fah Endo Co, post for photos at the SCG forum on Women empowerment on Friday. (SCG photo)
(from left) Suphajee Suthumpun, group chief executive of Dusit International; Sujinda Cherdchai, president of the Thai Bus Operators Association; Atcharin Pattanaphanchai, permanent secretary of the Digital Economy and Society Ministry, and Faseri Praphantha, president of social enterprise Rai Na Fah Endo Co, post for photos at the SCG forum on Women empowerment on Friday. (SCG photo)

Women in business are demonstrating their strong will to develop companies and help Thailand drive its economy, a role high on the agenda at this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit.

On Friday, female business leaders shared their experience in running different businesses at a seminar titled "Women Empowerment" held by Siam Cement Group in the lead-up to the summit, scheduled for later this year in Bangkok.

The participants agreed leaders require vision and courage to drive their businesses through problems, which should eventually help Thailand build a stronger economy.

Faseri Praphantha, president of social enterprise Rai Na Fah Endo Co, stressed innovations are playing a more important role in the knowledge-based economy and many female executives are well aware of the need to make use of them.

A farmer from the northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani, Ms Faseri said she found a way to add value to a little-known local herb "kra bok" and make it a new source of revenue.

Her company also aims to support local farmers to help them earn a living.

Running a small business often requires a never-say-die attitude, said Ms Faseri.

"I previously grew rice on 50 rai of land and borrowed money from a bank to build rice mills. My plan collapsed because of flooding. I was suddenly in huge debt worth more than a million baht," she told the seminar.

Ms Faseri did not give up, believing there was an opportunity in the crisis. The failure led her to change the business plan and she started to develop value-added products, all the while building a strong brand for agricultural products.

Sujinda Cherdchai, president of the Thai Bus Operators Association, said she believes women can be good at work and personal life.

The 85-year-old recounted her experience with work-life balance running Cherdchai Tour Co, an interprovincial bus service provider, while having a family.

The two speakers were listed as examples of women's potential.

"Today, women have more opportunities to do important jobs on the global stage," said Apec Secretariat executive director Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria.



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