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Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised the 6th APEC Media Focus Group in Chiang Mai to exchange views on promoting Sustainable MSMEs and women empowerment in business

On 26 August 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration, Chiang Mai University co-hosted the 6th APEC Media Focus Group (AMF) on “Sustainable MSMEs, Women and Business” at the Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration, Chiang Mai University. The event was moderated by Mr. Natapanu Nopakun, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Information and was well attended by over 100 participants from various sectors of Chiang Mai. These included Mr. Vorayan Bunarat, Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai, entrepreneurs, press members, academics, and students.


The Forum commenced with a keynote address from Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs and APEC 2022 SOM Chair, who highlighted Chiang Mai as the regional and national hub for development as well as a main driver of the post-pandemic recovery. Prof. Dr. Pongruk Sribanditmongkol, M.D., President of Chiang Mai University, focused his welcoming remarks on how the university has integrated the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into strategic policy to foster sustainable long-term growth and promote Chiang Mai as City of Innovations.

In the first session “Sustainability with MSMEs”, Mr. Cherdchai Chaivaivid, Director-General of the Department of International Economic Affairs and APEC Senior Official of Thailand, explained how the development of Chiang Mai was linked to the APEC aspirations. In this regard, Mr. Chaivaivid pointed out the opportunities for Chiang Mai, especially for MSMEs, women and youth, cross-border business facilitation, and socio-economic-environmental development in a balanced, sustainable manner through the BCG Economy model.


Mr. Akom Suwanganta, President of Chiang Mai SME Federation, mentioned key challenges of MSMEs, namely, economic downturn, Covid-19, conflicts in different regions, social inequality, and climate change. Mr. Suwanganta also proposed ways to support MSMEs at the provincial, regional, and national levels in line with Thailand’s APEC theme and SDGs.

Associate Prof. Dr. Pitiwat Wattanachai, Deputy Director of Science and Technology Park (STeP), Chiang Mai University, presented an approach to promote MSMEs through the BCG Economy model. Miss Atikant Sutthiwong, Innovation Counsellor, National Innovation Agency (Public Organization), discussed ways to promote innovation and creativity. Miss Naruemon Taksaudom from Hillkoff Co., Ltd, representing agricultural entrepreneurs, shared her coffee brand success story and exemplary sustainable business practices that attached importance to the environment and the way of life of indigenous people in northern Thailand.


In the second session on “Women and Business,” Dr. Sasipatch Chaisiribodin, School of Public Administration, Chiang Mai University described the current roles of women in business through various case studies. Ms. Chawanat Sinthikiow from Sabun Nga Wellness Group shared experiences in her internationally-renowned Lanna spa business. And Mrs. Kesirin Klinfoong, or “Mae Ning Phu Doi” from Por-D-Kum (Perfect Bite) also shared the success story of her local-to-global bakery, whose pineapple cookies were served to APEC delegates in meetings hosted by Thailand.


On this occasion, PS Thani along with Mr. Prajon Prachsakul, Governor of Chiang Mai, participated in the opening ceremony of the “APEC2022 on tour: Chiang Mai” at Central Festival Chiang Mai, which aimed to raise awareness of Thailand’s APEC host year. There were over 100 participants, including representatives from the public sector, private sector, community enterprises, and local media. The exhibition is being held during 26-31 August 2022.


Record of the 6th APEC Media Focus Group can be accessed through MFA Facebook