Nattawut Sutkesorn, nicknamed “Ice”, is a third-year student at Bangna Commercial college, majoring in Marketing. During his second year, he and his friend started experimenting with a cookie business in an online sales course. By joining the ‘Aspiring Hospitality Workers of Tomorrow’ project, Ice aimed to expand his knowledge further and eventually lighten his family’s economic burden. Ice said that his family was severely affected by the spread of COVID-19. At the beginning of the pandemic, with the responsibility of being the family’s breadwinner, his mother had to work as a Bangkok Municipality street sweeper. She had been in the position for less than a year; then, she became infected with COVID-19, yet she still had debt to pay off. Recognizing the current family financial situation, Ice, as the family’s eldest child, decided to focus on his online business with a friend. His online shop mainly sells molten lava soft cookies with a choice from around ten different fillings; they are eager to win customers’ hearts with convenient, delicious, and hygienic products.
The ‘Aspiring Hospitality Workers of Tomorrow’ project supported by the Citi Foundation, and implemented by the Kenan Foundation Asia and the Department of Skill Development, is building essential 21st-century skills, entrepreneurship, and online marketing literacy for youth in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. Through the Kenan Micro and SME Academy, the project activities include training on Kenan’s entrepreneurship and 21st century kills, and professional online marketing training from Facebook Thailand and LINE Official Account. Ice shared his impression from the training workshops, “teachers are approachable. Their lectures are concise, clear, and easy to digest. I have learned a bunch about online business, as well as reaching additional sales channels.” After joining the workshop, Ice has added fudge cake to the list of store products and opened a Line Official Account. In addition to that, he has applied the acquired concepts to improve his business and adjust it to be more attractive to new customers while maintaining the old customers. One of his key strategies is to create appealing promotions. Practicing techniques learned from the workshops, Ice and his friend have increased their profit by approximately 15%.
In the future, Ice is looking for other products that meet the new trends in the market, such as healthy food. Through Facebook, he has noticed that many people are trying to lose weight, giving him reason to believe that the health trend is booming.
Finally, Ice has a message to the organizers saying that he would like the partner organizations to continue conducting training workshops for young and old generations to grow their businesses. The collaboration among Citi Foundation, Kenan Foundation Asia, and the Department of Skill Development, in the ‘Aspiring Hospitality Workers of Tomorrow’ project, has lifted and supported young entrepreneurs to develop their businesses and successfully transfer knowledge of business from a textbook into practice in order to thrive in the 21st century.