Chompoo, Golf and Teen from Chetupon Commercial College (Team ‘Kham Thai’) are an unlikely trio.
Golf’s dream is to pursue a degree in Culinary Arts and Marketing. His underlying motivation is to “make his parents proud” – as they never had the opportunity to attend college. Golf is also quite tech savvy, starting his own online business at the age of 15.
His counterparts, Chompoo and Teen, are without parallel. Chompoo loves to read – and further dreams of climbing the corporate ladder, while starting her own business in the real estate industry. Teen, on the other hand, aspires to serve his country as a policeman and spend a lot of time riding his motorbike.
These 3 highly individualistic students were among the 500+ others who participated in the Citi Foundation-funded ‘Micro and SME Academy for Digital Youth’ program in order to learn about the necessary skills to become digital entrepreneurs.
In 2022, the Kenan Foundation Asia led workshops on ‘Business Skills’ and ‘Digital Marketing’, where vocational students generated business plans based on the Business Model Canvas (BMC). They further developed their plans under close consultation from experts from Kenan and the private sector. The selected students then entered a pitching competition to win prizes for initial funding of their business ideas. The youth also learned digital marketing skills from experts on Facebook, Line, Google and Shopee.
Despite their differences, these 3 individuals displayed exceptional levels of teamwork, creativity, and preparation – outshining the other 12 competing teams, and securing victory at the pitching competition.
Their team, ‘Kham Thai’, Miang Kham (traditional Thai snack wrapped in leaves) flavored crackers stated that – “this is new and very exciting for us, being able to present our business plan in front of judges and a lot of people. This was our first time doing this, and we were also very happy to see all the fresh ideas from our fellow vocational students.”
“We will utilize the prize funds towards developing our recipe. Currently, our product is not perfect – therefore, we will continue our research and development, in order to align it with our consumer preferences.”
Within 3 weeks of the pitching competition, the team came back with new packaging and a stick-and-dip product concept which is convenient and enjoyable – and an important milestone for their business. They are now finalizing their materials design and preparing to proceed with commercialization.
The success of the Citi Foundation ‘Micro and SME Academy for Digital Youth’ program in building entrepreneurial skills is evident in Team Kham Thai – but the program’s success goes beyond this scope as it helped to bring each member one step closer to achieving their dreams. Teen is now using YouTube to study for his police entrance exam. Chompoo is utilizing Facebook posts to advertise her family’s land to rent, and Golf is confident that the business knowledge acquired will help better his chances with college applications.
Furthermore, the program gave these students a boost in confidence – Teen stated that “his confidence level increased from 50% to 80%” after the program. While Chompoo learned a lot about public speaking, mannerisms, and how to be “confident and relaxed at the same time”.
Team Kham Thai had expressed the various ways in which the Citi Foundation ‘Micro and SME Academy for Digital Youth’ program has positively impacted their lives. They also “would like to encourage everyone to start their own business. With your ideas and your own hands, you can accomplish your goals just as we did.” Ultimately, these 3 students only represent a small fraction of the 500+ participants – allow yourself to imagine the extraordinary impacts the program had on the rest of the participants.