Bringing social change to the dinner table, one rice bowl at a time
Social entrepreneurship, or social change for that matter, is not something that happens overnight. Even Peetachai “Neil” Dejkraisak took 15 years to set up Siam Organic Co Ltd, in 2011, which develops and markets the speciality organic Jasberry rice.
“I wouldn’t say I intended to venture into social entrepreneurship, but I’ve always wanted to make a difference. It took me about 15 years to really start this (Siam Organic) and prior to that, I was thinking about tackling the various problems faced by the world,” Neil tells The Edge.
But eventually, he realised that transformation had to begin at home — Thailand, that is.
When Neil and Siam Organic co-founder Pornthida “Palmmy” Wongphatharakul were Master of Business Administration students in 2011, they discovered that Thai farmers were among the most underprivileged in the world, earning just 40 US cents per day — a problem faced by a staggering 17 million people at the time.
And it occurred to Neil that by venturing into social entrepreneurship, it would go beyond generating profits for shareholders; it would also have a long-lasting social impact.
Photo courtesy of Chhor Sokunthea.