When Atipbodee Khemaprasit founded SmartVC, his vision was to create a solution that helps make commuting easier and less time-consuming in bustling Bangkok.
“I’ve personally experienced the difficulty in travelling around Bangkok due to the lack of transport information. That’s why we created BKK Connect, a standardised public transportation map to help people commute more safely and efficiently,” said the 24-year-old entrepreneur.
Atipbodee is not alone in the social enterprise scene in Thailand. A new generation of social entrepreneurs are taking a business-oriented approach to address concerns or social issues that are close to their hearts. Many of them have a great desire to pick up new technology skills, such as website development, and raise their capabilities to keep up with the demands of the digital age.
Microsoft recently teamed up with the nonprofit ChangeFusion and its partner Good Factory to conduct a hands-on workshop focusing on web development based on the WordPress blog platform. Over the course of five days, the workshop equipped the 30 participants with the basic coding skills and e-commerce knowledge they need to realise the full potential of their ideas.
At the end of the training sessions, each participant was able to build their own website to promote their business and services. In the case of Atipbodee’s startup, for instance, the SmartVC team was able to make their website more attractive and easier for commuters to navigate.
“Learning to code is like learning to play a sport or musical instrument. It takes a lot of practice,” said Siriporn Pajharawat, Developer Experience and Platform Evangelism Director for Microsoft Thailand. “As our lives become more immersed in technology, it is important for today’s social enterprises to learn how to create attractive websites to drive innovation and bring a positive impact to Thailand.”
Workshop participant Chonlapat Jarunpong also found the workshop to be beneficial. Keen to pursue her interest in psychology, Chonlapat strives to put the web publishing skills she picked up into practice. Creating an online platform dubbed the "Happiness Project", she wants to share relevant information for Thai people to realise the importance of happiness and psychological wellbeing.
“It is fascinating to see how people from different walks of life can quickly band together to learn and work towards achieving their dreams. The trainers and workshop instructors were great inspirations, and they helped me see the digital world in a different light,” she said.