Chutika – founder of The Good Factory – a social enterprise which creates a space for solving social problems by matching together people working on social issues with those interested in technology and innovation.
Q1: What do you appreciate yourself in the business mainly for?
We are involved in many, many projects, ranging from teaching kids to do programming because we think that technology can empower. We partner with Microsoft, they hire us to teach kids in the most remote province in Thailand, just to give them technology. The most important project we did so far is a 9 months project with UNDP. Before I just did hackathons, we designed prototypes during one event and then everybody went home. But now we continue on with incubation programs to actually build prototypes and test them. The project is closing soon. It’s got a lot of media attention.
Q2: What is the biggest challenge for you now?
Two things. The first thing is about transitioning from working alone to be leader of an organization. Last year I worked myself, sometimes with another person, but this year I have ten people reporting to me. It’s a big step. Another challenge is to connect people from different sectors. In my team I have socially oriented people and those who work on technology. People who are on the social side often feel bad about charging money and people on the technical side, innovation side who tend to have a “let’s make money” attitude. Bringing people together and make them confident that there are great opportunities in solving social problems while making good business…. is still quite a new idea in Thailand. And doing social innovation is harder than regular business. I need to have people who are really committed. I try to build the society the way I want it to be, at least in my team.
Q3: What advice do you have for yourself in this situation?
I just need to do it, learn on the way and don’t give up. I think I’m really fortunate to have good timing and good support – I got three years funding. I’m also one of few people who are working in this area, so there is a lot to do. Shouldn’t be such a big problem to be profitable as a social enterprise. I have to really pick and choose and work hard, try my best.
Would you like to add something more?
Sometimes people, especially in Thailand, don’t talk to each other and don’t embrace one another’s point of view. I have different circles of friends, so for example those from the government say: NGO, they just want to make big noise so they will be able to get fund overseas and get rich. The private sector is selfish…. the government takes our money... I think people have to believe that others have good intentions even if they don’t do things the same ways. It’s difficult to solve social problems, I think it’s important to have people from different sectors to be able to solve problems together.
The questions were asked on our behalf by Anna and Andrea from How to (ex) change the world.
Bangkok, Thailand, 9th June 2016