Citylife’s Editor Receives International Recognition
Since 1997, over 300 women from fifty countries have been inducted as honorees of the not-for-profit Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World organisation (LWEW). LWEW is a US-based organisation which raises the visibility of successful entrepreneurial women by increasing public awareness of the roles these women play on the global economy. Women such as Donna Karen, Anita Roddick and Jenny Craig are just a few of the high profile names represented by this group of extraordinary women whose businesses collectively generate more than 200 billion US dollars annually (more than the annual budget of the Thai government) and employ more than half a million people.
Each year a Gala and Celebratory Event is held in a different city — Vancouver, 2005, Bangkok 2006, Cape Town 2007 – and it is at these events that each year’s honorees are inducted. This past March, Thailand had the honour of hosting the first event in Asia, which saw fifteen women entrepreneurs from Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa and North America, whose companies had combined revenues of nine billion US dollars last year, join the exclusive group. Three Thai women were inducted: Patara Sila-On, Chairperson s&p Syndicate Public Co., Ltd., Thailand’s largest restaurant chain with over 230 restaurants, bakeries and coffee corners in Thailand and 19 other countries; Khunying Sasima Srivikorn, Chairperson of Golden Land Property Development Public Co., Ltd., Thailand’s leading real estate developers and Supaluck Umpujh, Vice Chairperson, The Mall Group, the most popular complex of shopping malls in Thailand.
In 2004, Chairperson of the organisation, Cheryl Womack (2002 honoree), President and CEO of US-based The Star Group, initiated a grant programme titled Take the Next Step which was offered for the first time in Sydney, that year’s host country. This grant of 15,000 US dollars is offered
annually to three entrepreneurial women resident in the host country in order to develop a legacy with the country as well as inspire business women of all ages and nationalities to reach their entrepreneurial potential. “It is an honour to be able to participate in this process and recognise deserving candidates who may one day be honorees within our organisation,” said Ms. Womack.
To become eligible one has to be female, over 21, provide documentation of legal citizenship, own at least 51% of one’s own company, provide at least three professional letters of recommendation, provide documentations that all tax obligations to the country have been paid, agree to allow LWEW to track all usage of grant money, agree to provide an annual update to LWEW for the next three years and provide statements and accounts which show at least three years of business operations with at least one being profitable. While three winners were selected from Sydney, none of the hundreds of applicants in Canada were eligible and the grant was therefore not offered last year.
On the last day of the week-long Gala and Ceremony Event in Bangkok, a forum for the ‘Acknowledging and Exchanging Experiences with Thai Business Women’ was held during which three Thai women were honoured with the prestigious grant. The first prize of 10,000 US dollars went to Manaya Kapwathanaworasuk (31) owner of Aiyara Arts & Crafts Co. Ltd. in Ayutthaya, a maker of handmade brass and bronze castings used in creating unique door handles featuring Thai inspired designs. She plans to use the grant money to introduce Thai art to the international business community through this decorative, yet functional, product. The second place grant of 2,500 US dollars went to Pirn Kemasingki, (32) owner of Trisila Company Limited, which publishes Citylife and the bi-monthly CityNow! Trisila
Company Limited also has an editorial department which supplies news and features on a contractual basis to Thai and international publications such as The Nation Multimedia Group. The company develops, designs and promotes websites offering programming, databasing and search engine optimisation to hundreds of Thai and international clients as well as offering a design house service for both print and online media. The grant money will be used to train and up-skill employees in such areas as sales, technology, design, management and customer service. The third grant was awarded to Monrat Sarapap (47) owner of Rai Khun Mon, which produces alternative organic and health foods indigenous to the rural farm region of Kanchanaburi. The grant money will be used to purchase new technology to enhance the company’s production capacity and to support farm education and training.
Each winner applied for the Take the Next Step grant by filling out a questionnaire designed by the LWEW. Each applicant was asked to describe the services their company provides, to identify their key competitor(s) and to explain what sets their business/product/service apart from others. The applicants were also asked for a detailed business plan showing how the $10,000 grant would help them to take their business to the next step.
“Women business owners in many parts of the world still face challenging cultural barriers,” said Cheryl Womack. “The three women chosen today demonstrate the spirit and determination needed to overcome these barriers and to succeed in today’s business environment. We salute these dedicated entrepreneurs as they ‘take the next step.’”
Next year’s event and gala ceremony will be held in Cape Town, South Africa. For more information please visit www.leadingwomen.org.