I was really depressed listening to an ex-biz person who was lecturing many prominent people on the demise of social enterprises in Thailand… and I could not really counter his argument as there is no chance to even speak.
His argument goes
(1) In his long life, there aren’t any Thai social enterprise that make profit.
(2) Social enterprise investment, therefore, will only result in net loss, big or small.
(3) In the past, Thai SME and EXIM banks, among many other institutions, gave massive loans to social enterprises, they turn out to be total NPL, he is also a board of one of such institution, dealing with such mess he didn’t even want to touch about it.
(4) Even those successful social enterprise cases around the world are so unique that they aren’t even replicable into Thai or any other country context.
I hope I could just forget about these massive attacks on social enterprise, but I really can’t, I’m both too emotionally related to the issue, and the person sits on various boards that we will run into in trying to spread social enterprise movement in Thailand.
In fact, I found his argument quite challenging and important to be addressed with properly, so such narrow minded and confusing argument will not see the light of days, ever again.
This, of course, might be just a definition problem, where wrong definition leads to so many errors. But the person actually understood basic definition and still made those claims.
We’re thinking about writing a newspaper article on this or come up with short paper on this. We really need help on finding solid data to disprove those arguments; such as performance data on Thai social enterprises, replicable success models globally, exact amount of loan given to social enterprises from these big Thai financial institutions (or more precisely how they are not giving out any loan). If you have some, please share it with me and anyone who believe in social enterprise in Thailand. If you want to co-write about this, or create an informal event to talk about this (with solid data), let’s do it.
Of course, I’m not a total fanatic about social enterprise, it will not solve all the world problems, but it is important issue and should not to be dismissed so easily.