Global Social Venture Competition – Southeast Asia Round

Monument of Pridi Phanomyong at Thammasat Univ...
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Every year Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand hosts the Global Social Venture Competition for the Southeast Asian region (GSVC-SEA).  This business plan competition is focused on promoting new social ventures and social entrepreneurs by providing a forum for these venures to get exposure and funding.

The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) was launched in 1999 by the Hass School of Business of the University of California at Berkeley, USA. It was the oldest and largest competition of its kind, to promote entrepreneurial start-up companies which offer measurable social or environmental benefits in addition to profits. These social impacts can be in the areas of health, education, environment, etc. By 2010, GSVC has grown to include over 500 teams worldwide, partnering with many of the world’s top business schools, including the Columbia Business School, the London Business School, and the Indian School of Business.

To enter the GSVC-SEA competition, a team which includes just one graduate business student or a person who graduated from within 2 years from any school submits a five-page executive summary of a proposed venture, which is scalable and offers quantifiable social and/or environmental benefits incorporated into


its mission and practices. Executive summaries must be submitted before 11 pm (Bangkok time), 15 January 2011 to qualify. Please see more detailed rules, regulations and past winners on the website

After the submission process, all entries will undergo the first judging round. Groups of professionals, academics and students gather in Bangkok to review and debate in small groups about the various social ventures submitting. Finally, 12 teams are selected to be the regional finalists who will then come to present their business plans in a two day event in Bangkok, Thailand in March 2011. Each team will be allowed 15 minutes to pitch their plan. Following their presentation, a panel of judges will engage the team in a series of questions regarding the technical, business and social impact aspects of their proposed venture. The top two winners of the business plan competition will be sent to the Global Social Venture Competiton Global Round (GSVC Global) to compete at the University of California, Berkely, USA. In addition, the social venture with the best social impact assessment will be showcased in the Global round.

Here’s a former GSVC-SEA winner who spoke at the 2010 GSVC-SEA Symposium: Lex Reyes talks about RuralLight at GSVC 2010 from Marielle Nadal on Vimeo.

NSTDA’s Investor Day

NSTDA to Offer a Place for Potential Investors to Buy Innovations NSTDA will hold the NSTDA Investors’ Day 2010 fair to exhibit research results, bridging “investors” and “inventors” with the idea to commercialize over 20 innovations and bringing them to the marketplace. The exhibition, which will be held on 16 September 2010 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, will be a platform for researchers to showcase their research results and receive votes from investors for their work. Dr. Thaweesak Koanantakool, president of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), said technology-based businesses are a key force behind inventions, and new innovations and technology, help to raise Thailand’s competitiveness against other countries and drive the country’s economic growth. These are the reasons why NSTDA plans to organize the NSTDA Investors’ Day fair to bridge industrial, investment and financial sectors with the science sector, paving the way for investments in technology-based businesses that will contribute to the economic growth and social development of the country. This fair will also provide an opportunity for NSTDA researchers to showcase their inventions to investors and exchange ideas with their peers, as well as to stay informed of the demands of the industrial sector to further their research and development. “There are five inventions by NSTDA researchers that have great potential and are market-ready;

1. The AquaRASD system – a closed water re-circulating system for housing aquatic animals that requires only one freshwater replacement per year

2. G-Rock – lightweight synthetic granules made from industrial waste that can be used to produce lightweight concrete blocks with high impact resistance and great insulation

3. CephSmile V.2 – a computer digital imaging system that generates ‘after’ pictures of patients after receiving orthodontic treatments and helps orthodontists plan treatments. This is an updated version of the software and can be made available as a web service

4. Easy Silk Care – a nano-treated emulsion that helps keep silk fabrics wrinkle-free, soft, smooth and easy to care for without having to dry-clean them.

5. K9 Diagnostic Kit-MDR1 – a diagnostic kit for testing pill allergies in canines.The kit will detect the “allergy gene” in canines in under 90 minutes, which is much faster than sending the tests to labs that normally takes 2 to 3 days at least.

The researchers who came up with these five innovations will be given five minutes each to present their work before allowing investors to cast their votes for the project they want to learn more about. The researcher with the most votes will be given an additional 25 minutes,” said Dr. Thaweesak. Activities at the NSTDA Investors’ Day will include; 1. A keynote address entitled “The Future of Thailand’s Science Sector in the Next 10 Years”, delivered by Dr. Veerachai Veerametheekul, Minister of Science and Technology, and a lecture on the subject of “10 Emerging Technologies to Watch” by Dr. Thaweesak Koanantakool, president of NSTDA 2. An exhibition of innovations, business negotiations and services offered by NSTDA’s partner firms. In addition to showcasing outstanding, ready-for-market innovations, the fair will also exhibit over 20 innovations by the four national research centers, which can be rapidly further developed for commercialization. The displays are presented under the theme “Better Food, Better Living and Better Energy”. Inventions that will be showcased at this fair include Nano Acne Treatment, In-Car Temperature Sensor and Thermal Alarm, Instant Plant Disease Test Kit and Intelligent Film that helps extend the shelf-life of fresh produce.

5 Free Thai iPhone Apps

1. BKK Transit

Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain and MRT Subway systems are not very extensive compared to London’s Tube or the Paris Metro, but this handy app can make it easier to find out where you want to go. BKK Transit lists the attractions at each stop, such as local markets. Even more useful is its Chao Praya Express boat route info.

2. iTraffic

The most useful app for battling Bangkok’s daily gridlock, this graphic-based program lets you see what the traffice situation looks like using a simple coloring code: green means “go” and red means “stop”. iTraffic is only available in Thai, but it’s still handy for showing to taxi drivers.


3. Major Movie

The helpful app makes it possible to get correct movie programs and showtimes for movies showing in any Major Cineplex movie theater. It has Thai/Eng languages and provides information about movies as well as where they are being shown. This app makes planning a night at the movies possible on the go.


4. Bangkok Post News

Even the Bangkok Post, Thailand’s largest English newspaper, has a dedicated iPhone app. To keep up with current events in Bangkok and the region, this app is worth the download.


5. Nation News

This new app from the Nation newspaper is packed with real-time news about Thailand. Keep up with the local news easily with this iphone app.


The consequences of “Greng jai” on Thailand’s Competitveness

This Bangkok Post Article from June 2009 has wonderful insight into some of the problems created because of the Thai concept of “greng jai.” The author discusses how asking questions, particularly if they are perceived as challenging, can be confounding and aggravating for Thai elders. As a result, many Thai students and employees have learned not to ask questions. As any teacher in Thailand knows, its so hard to get Thai students to ask questions and have an open discussion.

In the business world, this aspect of Thai culture has made Thailand less competitive in the global economy as many Thai businesses fail to evolve and progress. Thai-style management often results in having employees who don’t ask, don’t question and don’t confront. because they don’t want to be considered rude or aggressive. Everyone ends up waiting for the boss’ say since he is the one with the highest authority.

While “greng jai” is an embedded part of Thai culture, how can we overcome some of the negative consequences in the classroom and workplace that result from it. If not, we as a society and a country will not really go anywhere far. What happens so many times in Thailand, we will end up leisurely working towards an unknown destination while waiting for others to make the big decisions and think for us.

Source: Bangkok Post June 9, 2009

Article: That which nourishes Thailand may destroy Thailand

Thailand Banks are a Parade of Color

A professor of mine made an interesting comment in his lecture about Thai banks. He made the observation that Thailand’s banks could have their own parade because each bank has it’s own distinct color. Each bank is easily identified and distinguished from other banks simply by color. A rather astute observation and helpful in situations where you are searching for your bank’s ATM machine.

Here’s the run down in no particular order:

  • Bangkok Bank – Dark Blue
  • Siam Commercial Bank – Purple
  • Kasikorn Bank (formerly Thai Farmer Bank) – Green
  • Krungthai Bank – Blue
  • Bank of Ayudhya – Yellow
  • Tanachart Bank – Orange
  • Government Savings Bank – Pink
  • Siam City Bank – Red
  • Standard Chartered Bank – Blue and Green
  • TMB Bank – Red and Blue

Flexible, High-Paying Jobs for Women

I saw this article on Yahoo! today and after I read it I realized that I have considered each of these careers at some point or another. Each of these careers appeals to me for some reason and then I discover that another good point of these careers is that women are able to reach higher paying levels on these career paths when compared to others. I guess I’m just naturally attractive to anything that is more likely to result in more money.

Great Jobs that Profit Women: Five Flexible Careers with Man-Sized Paychecks

by Kate McIntyre

Even today in the 21st century, a significant pay gap exists between working men and women in the United States. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, in 2006 women earned approximately 25 percent less than men in the same occupational group with similar qualifications. This figure is especially distressing because it hasn’t changed appreciably in the last decade. The National Committee on Pay Equity estimates that this wage gap may not close until 2057.

What could explain this disparity? A December 2006 article in the New York Times cites two reasons: gender discrimination and women’s choices to work less than full-time or to stay at home to care for children. Though gender discrimination remains a lingering, insidious issue, women have more options than ever for flexible, lucrative employment. Here are five great jobs for women that are narrowing the gender wage gap.

1. Personal Financial Advisor

Personal financial advising provides independence, which is great for women. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), one-third of personal financial advisors are self-employed–they set their own hours and schedules and choose how many clients they advise. Also, women often have exceptional communication skills, essential when they explain complicated financial concepts to advisees. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or a related field along with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification to call yourself a CFP. CFP courses are available online. The BLS reports that personal financial advisor is one of the ten fastest growing occupations through 2016. Median earnings for financial advisors in 2006 were $66,590 per year.

2. Psychologist/Therapist

A career in psychology offers the opportunity to help people find solutions for their emotional issues. Areas of specialization include industrial, clinical, and school psychology. School psychologists work with educators, administrators, and parents to provide a nurturing learning environment for children. They may help students with learning disabilities, behavioral issues, or emotional problems. The schedule usually allows for the same time off as the students and teachers. Because 34 percent of psychologists are self-employed, this career offers flexibility as well. A doctoral degree is usually required to practice psychology at a school, but licensing requirements differ by state. Many family therapists practice with a master’s degree, and both the master’s and the doctorate can be earned online. The BLS reports a median income for 2006 of $61,290 for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists.

3. Entrepreneur

In 2007, women owned over half the businesses in the US. Part of what makes self-employment so enticing for women is the strong networking and support systems in place for women entrepreneurs, along with incredible flexibility. Entrepreneurs parlay their ideas into money-making reality, but a good idea isn’t enough. You’ll want to know business principles like bookkeeping, safety regulations, labor laws, and local licensing requirements. Entrepreneur training programs or business courses in entrepreneurship can give you an edge, as can a business administration degree with a focus in entrepreneurship. Earning potential is unlimited, if you’re the next Debbi Fields or Mary Kay. As far back as the turn of the Twentieth Century, Mme. C.J. Walker said of the millions she made on her Wonderful Hair Grower, “I got my start by giving myself a start.”

4. Education Administrator

Education administrators can work at all levels, from elementary school principals to college deans. They manage staffs of teachers and administrators and often serve as the public face of their institutions, so they must have superlative interpersonal skills. The field of education has always been attractive to women for its progressive human resources policies and the potential for time off during the summer. Most education administrator jobs require a master’s or doctorate degree in education. According to the BLS, administrators at elementary and secondary schools had median salaries of $77,740 in 2006, while post-secondary administrators made $73,990 with salaries ranging significantly higher in some positions and locations.

5. Human Resources Manager

Women have always been the human resources managers of their homes–making sure their family is functioning at its peak potential and that each member feels well cared-for and valued. Women’s communication skills and empathy often distinguish them in human resources, whether they are training staff or handling disbursement of compensation and benefits. If you are looking for more control over your schedule once your career is established, HR consulting can be a great option. Many bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in management offer an emphasis in human resource management. The BLS reports a 2006 median salary of $88,510 for human resources managers.

Some women may deal with personal pressures and societal expectations differently than men do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a satisfying, inspiring, and lucrative career. If you begin your career search with a clear idea of what your ideal job is–both now and years into the future–you may have to compromise less than you might have imagined to find a job with serious responsibilities and fair compensation. With some smart planning, you really can have it all.

Source: Yahoo!

Vanguard funds and ETFs are listed Forbes “Best Buys”

  • Vanguard California Long-Term Tax-Exempt Fund
  • Vanguard Energy Fund
  • Vanguard European Stock Index Fund
  • Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund
  • Vanguard Global Equity Fund
  • Vanguard GNMA Fund
  • Vanguard High-Yield Tax-Exempt Fund
  • Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities Fund
  • Vanguard Insured Long-Term Tax-Exempt Fund
  • Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond Index Fund
  • Vanguard Intermediate-Term Investment-Grade Fund
  • Vanguard Intermediate-Term Treasury Fund
  • Vanguard International Value Fund
  • Vanguard LifeStrategy® Income Fund
  • Vanguard Limited-Term Tax-Exempt Fund
  • Vanguard Long-Term Bond Index Fund
  • Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Fund
  • Vanguard Long-Term Tax-Exempt Fund
  • Vanguard Long-Term Treasury Fund
  • Vanguard Mid-Cap ETF
  • Vanguard New Jersey Long-Term Tax-Exempt Fund
  • Vanguard Pacific Stock Index Fund
  • Vanguard Pennsylvania Long-Term Tax-Exempt Fund
  • Vanguard REIT Index Fund
  • Vanguard Selected Value Fund
  • Vanguard Short-Term Bond Index Fund
  • Vanguard Short-Term Federal Fund
  • Vanguard Short-Term Tax-Exempt Fund
  • Vanguard Short-Term Treasury Fund
  • Vanguard Small-Cap ETF
  • Vanguard STAR® Fund
  • Vanguard Strategic Equity Fund
  • Vanguard Tax-Managed Capital Appreciation Fund
  • Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF
  • Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund
  • Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF
  • Vanguard Wellington™ Fund 

 I’ve been using Vanguard for over a year and I am satisfied with the service and how easy they make doing everything online. Since I’m in Thailand, being able to transfer funds and check my accounts any time of day or night via the Internet is important to me. Vanguard also makes saving money for the future very easy and their fees are more than reasonable. As it is, I feel even better knowing that a name such as Forbes also backs the Vanguard funds that I put my money int0.

Funds on the list “combine good risk-adjusted six-year returns and low expenses (loads, overhead, and portfolio trading costs),” Forbes’ editors wrote. Out of 113 funds on the list, Vanguard appearred the most often. They  were found in 17 different categories out of 24 categories.

Difference Between Gasohol 95 and Gasohol 91?


Gasohol is a mixture of gasoline and ethanol, hence the name which is a mixture of the two words. It is an alternative fuel to 100% gasoline and helps to reduce the consumption of expensive and nonrenewable gasoline.

Many countries use gasohol, such as Brazil, Canada and Thailand. Here in Thailand is has been on the market since 2001 and is being promoted to increase public use. There are even commercials on TV that speak of the good qualities of gasohol and reassures the public’s apprehensions about using gasohol. People are becoming more aware of gasohol and it’s usage has increased over the years, but many people still use regular gasoline over gasohol.

There is a very aggressive long term plan by the Thai government to change all benzene, or regular gasoline, pumps into gasohol. At this time, however, gasohol pumps are hard to find outside of Bangkok and major cities. Bangchak and PTT are more likely to carry gasohol than other gas stations, but in smaller cities it’s hard to find even one pump with gasohol. Also, Gasohol 95 is relatively more common than Gasohol 91.

95 versus 91

Gas stations may use different brand names to market the fuels, but generally they are coded in the same colors.

Regular 95 (benzene) = yellow

Regular 91 (benzene) = red

Gasohol 95 = orange

Gasohol 91 = green

Gasohol ranges from 2.5 bath  to 0.70 satang cheaper than regular gasoline at the same octane. All of the gasohol on the market in Thailand today is E10, meaning that it is a mixture of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline. The primary difference between gasohol 95 and gasohol 91 is that the 10% ethanol is mixed with 95 octane gasoline in the case of gasohol 95 and 91 octane gasoline in the case of gasohol 91.

The mixture of gasoline and ethanol does have disadvantages such as loss of power and fuel efficiency and possibly even damage to the fuel system. The reason for this difference is that ethyl alcohol, another name for ethanol, contains about half the amount of energy when compared to regular gasoline. Gasohol 95, with its higher octane, would enable a car to perform slightly better than gasohol 91.

In order to achieve comparable performance to regular gasoline when using gasohol, engines have to be modified to use a fuel pipe that has a section area twice as large and fuel injectors that are twice as fast. Most cars that were manufactured after 1995 can handle E10 gasohol, but newer cars are being made that can function using E20 gasohol, which is 20% ethanol and 80% gasoline.

In Thailand, using gasohol will….

these statistics were found on the Ford website:

  • replace octane imported from other countries.
  • provide alternative fuels produced from vegetables in our country.
  • saves limited natural gas supplies by using ethanol mixed with gasoline to reduce gas usage by 10%.
  • provide income to Thai farmers with a chance for a better quality of life by producing ethanol from locally grown vegetation.
  • reduces air pollution and green house gas emissions.
  • helps to spread investment and provides jobs in rural areas.


Thai Currency


The Thai unit of currency is the baht. Although the conversion rate changes daily, one US dollar is worth around 34-36 baht. You can also get a lot more for your dollar when travelling in Thailand as a plate of food at a local restaurant costs around 30-40 baht per dish and drinks are usually around 10-20 baht.

Paper Money and Coins

In Thailand, paper money is easily identified by its color. The green notes is the smallest value and is worth 20 baht. Less common is the blue 50 baht note. 100 baht notes are red and 500 baht notes are purple. The largest denomination is 1,000 baht and the notes is white and grey.  Each bill is marked with it’s value in Arabic and Thai numerals. Prominent on each bill is the portrait of the current king, King Bhumibol.

Each baht is divided further into 100 satang. This is similar to the way one dollar is divided into 100 cents. The tiny copper-colored coins are valued at 25 and 50 satang.  You’ll need to look closely to differentiate them. The 50 satang coin is slightly larger than the 25 satang coin. There are few of these coins in circulation and are primarily used in larger supermarkets and departments stores.

There are also silver-colored coins in denominations of 1, 2 and 5 baht. The 1 and 2 baht coins are very similar and you must be careful not to unwittingly use the less common 2 baht coin.  Also, some coin machines will not accept them. The 10 baht coin is the largest coin in circulation and is unique in its design in that it has a copper-colored center surrounded by a silver-colored ring. All coins also have the king’s portrait featured on the front side.