From the Nation:

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), Impact Investment Exchange Asia, and Thammasat University are jointly organising the Impact Forum for Social Change, Global Social Venture Competition, and Social Entrepreneurship Symposium, starting tomorrow at the Landmark Hotel in Bangkok.

More than 100 social entrepreneurs and representatives of governments, the business community, development agencies and research institutions will participate in the activities. Also involved are so-called impact investment groups – those seeking both financial and social returns.

According to the ADB, social enterprises offer huge potential for tackling socio-economic problems, such as lack of access to healthcare, education, housing, and micro-enterprise financing. Thailand boasts an emerging pool of dynamic social enterprises, and an even greater number of social entrepreneurs looking to start up new initiatives.

While many social entrepreneurs and enterprises are ready to boost their positive social impact, they require improved access to growth capital, capacity building, and market-relevant skills.

“Impact investors … are addressing the need for capital by committing resources to businesses considered socially and environmentally responsible,” the Manila-based bank said.

On the sidelines of this symposium, Thammasat University is also hosting its fourth annual Global Social Venture Competition – Southeast Asia. University students from seven countries have teamed up to join the competition and 10 finalists, including four Thai teams, will showcase their plans today.

Two Thai teams are from Thammasat’s IMBA (International Master of Business Administration) programme. One team, named “Smile Floss”, deals with the first organic silk floss in Asean to support local silk producers. DeepScan offers an innovative endoscope that can be used to detect cancer at the early stage and target low-income people.

I-AM, from Thammasat’s IBMP (Integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programme), collects harmful by-products of the leather industry and turns them into leather board.

Indhan, the team from the Asian Institute of Technology, is a biogas system provider, aiming to reduce dependence on external energy among rural households in Nepal.