Conference Proceedings

Conference Speakers


Dr Atchaka Sibunruang    

H.E. Dr Atchaka Sibunruang, Minister of Science and Technology

Her Excellency Atchaka Sibunruang was appointed as Minister of Science and Technology earlier this year. Prior to this role, she was the Minister of Industry, the Chairman of General Environmental Conservation Plc., the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, and the Director-General, Department of Industrial Promotion, Ministry of Industry.

She also served on numerous boards including: Board of Export – Import Bank of Thailand; Board of Thailand Automotive Institute; Board of Electrical and Electronics Institute; Board of Iron and Steel Institute of Thailand; Board of Thailand Textile Institute; Board of National Food Institute; Advisor of Board of Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion.
Caterina Meloni    

Caterina Meloni, Founder of Connecting Founders

Caterina brings over 15 years of international experience working for private sector and development finance institutions on women’s economic empowerment, inclusive finance, and entrepreneurship development. She has worked for leading funders, such as the World Bank, IFC, EBRD, DFID, as well as development consultancies to implement projects on the ground. From microfinance and then SME finance, she found her niche and passion as she began focusing on gender finance and women-owned SMEs in 2008.

In 2015 she founded Connecting Founders, a Bangkok-based organization focused on supporting and promoting women-owned businesses in Southeast Asia. As part of this work, she launched and runs the Women in Business Southeast Asia series, a business platform that provides learning and networking opportunities for young women entrepreneurs and professionals through training and mentoring by accomplished founders and businesswomen. Follow her work on
Dr David Achtzehn    

Dr David Achtzehn

Dr David Achtzehn is a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Bangkok University. He is responsible for organising the WECB2015 and the WECB2017. Having lived in the UK and Thailand, he himself acts as a bridge between the two countries and will help participants to build long-term research networks. For any questions regarding the organisation of the conference please email Dr. Achtzehn at
Elizabeth Andrews    

Elizabeth Andrews, Leadership Development Manager at Wedu Global

Elizabeth Andrews is the Leadership Development Manager (LDM) at Wedu, a startup, social enterprise based in Bangkok that provides leadership development and mentoring for women across Asia. As the LDM, Elizabeth is responsible for developing and scaling Wedu’s leadership development program and impact evaluation systems, as well as designing and piloting new leadership services and products. Previously, Elizabeth worked as the Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist for the VVLead Fellowship Program at Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international NGO that provides leadership and technical training to women leaders around the globe. Elizabeth received her Master’s degree in International Economic Affairs from the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University in Washington, DC and has conducted and published research on global women’s leadership networks and economic empowerment programs. Her research and work have taken her across South America, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Friederike Welter    

Prof Friederike Welter, President of the IfM Bonn

Prof Friederike Welter is a leading academic on the topic of women’s entrepreneurship. She has authored and edited more than 20 publications on this topic, including “Context, Process and Gender in Entrepreneurship: Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research” in 2015 and “A gender-aware framework for women's entrepreneurship” in 2009. She is currently the President of the IfM Bonn (Institute SME research), and Professor for SME Management and Entrepreneurship at the University of Siegen, Germany. She is also Associate Editor of Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice and former President of the European Council of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ECSB).
Georgina Hemmingway    

Georgina Hemmingway, CEO of Footprint Cafes

Georgina is an alumna of Cambridge Judge Business School and Founder of Footprint Cafes. Footprint Cafes is a triple bottom line social enterprise that measures its success on ‘People, Planet, Profit’. Launched in 2016 the social enterprise hopes to become the first global brand of social enterprise cafes donating 100% of net profits back to local communities while providing excellent employment conditions for its employees and caring for our planet through sustainable practices. The first Footprint Café was established in Siem Reap, Cambodia, in November 2016 with plans to launch in Laos later this year. Georgina is passionate about Cambodia and the growth of social enterprise in the region as a means of empowering local communities.
Jane Kalaya Kovidvisith    

Jane Kalaya Kovidvisith, Co-founder of FabCafe Bangkok

Jane originally set up FabLab at Thammasat University in 2008 with the aim “to use technology – digital fabrication – to improve the way of constructing buildings in Thailand. Architecture is a man’s world but technology can make it easier for women to work in this industry.” FabLab was originally funded by the Thai government, but run into financial difficulty after seven years. Jane and her colleagues from MIT revised the business model and diversifying their revenue streams, leverage more partnerships to cut down investments costs, and re-opened the initiative under the brand of FabCafe. Today there are eight FabCafes around the world, organizing workshops for adults and kids as young as three. As Jane puts it: “we are a network of friends in different countries passionate about technology and using available technology to improve everyday life.
Janine Swail    

Dr Janine Swail, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland

Janine Swail is a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Auckland University Business School. As a mid-career researcher in the field of gender and entrepreneurship she has published in both entrepreneurship journals as well as applying her research on women’s entrepreneurship to teaching case text books. She is a co-editor of both the Routledge Masters Series in Entrepreneurship as well as the Routledge Studies Series in Entrepreneurship and a former Associate Editor of the International Journal of Entrepreneurship, Behaviour and Research (2009-2012). Janine’s research interests are in nascent entrepreneurship, and in particular how women navigate the entrepreneurial process and develop legitimacy for their emerging businesses. Before moving to New Zealand Janine held Assistant Professorship (lecturer) positions at University of Nottingham and the University of Newcastle.
Dr Jelena Aleksic    

Jelena Aleksic, Co-founder & CEO at GeneAdviser

Dr Jelena Aleksic is a Geneticist turned Entrepreneur, working to make clinical genetic testing more accessible. She completed her PhD at Cambridge University in Genomics and Computational Biology, followed by a postdoc position researching the Epigenetics of a rare genetic disorder, Dubowitz Syndrome. Having learned about the challenges in diagnosing rare diseases, she co-founded GeneAdviser, an online marketplace for clinical genetic tests, to make it easier for doctors to find and order tests for their patients. The company recent secured £350K of private equity funding. She is also a director of TReND in Africa, a charity supporting scientific research in Africa.
Kate Jackson    

Kate Jackson, Strategic Communications Consultant at Andragogy

Kate is an Institute of Leadership & Management accredited training provider and the Director, Lead Consultant and Trainer at Andragogy, a company she founded on the principles of adult learning and for the long-life learning sector. Kate has both proven corporate and social development experience, having worked for KPMG Thailand, Pfizer and Centara Hotel & Resorts, before gaining clients such as Colgate Palmolive, Jaymart & David Yurman amongst others. Most recently Kate has been selected by Airbus to be their Asia Pacific regional training partner. She provides certified Train the Trainer courses, leadership & communications coaching and customised programmes. Kate has been based in Thailand for 16 years and holds a BA Hons in Youth Work & Non-formal Education, Masters in Education, DTLLLS (Diploma in Teaching in Long-life Learning Sector, UK).
Kelly Payakvichien    

Kelly Payakvichien, Head Of Brand & Community, HUBBA Coworking Space & Community

Having lived in New York City, Boston, Paris & Bangkok, Kelly has a truly international perspective of entrepreneurship development. She is currently the head of branding at HUBBA, one of Thailand’s most successful co-working spaces. The Hubba community has over 12000 members and 100 in-house start-ups, spread across their three locations in central Bangkok.
Kelly’s strength lay in creative brand development and connecting with people, social and digital marketing, public relations, sales, and client satisfaction
Kim Chonsatitwatana    

Kim Chongsatitwatana, Managing Director, Nanmeebooks

After joining her family publishing business, Kim started Nanmeebooks Innovation Institute in hope to scout different ways to learn from around the world, localise the different tools to suit the Thai context, the work with schools and families to promote lifelong reading and learning. Today, as the Managing Director of Nanmeebooks, Kim and her team work with their partners to groom Thai children to be Active Citizens through their books and learning services including camps, trainings, curriculum design, learning centers, tutor schools, and online tutoring services. Kim is also a secretary and board member for The Little Scientists House, Thailand (under the patronage of H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Foundation), board member for International Board on Books for Young People Foundation (Thailand section), and writes about learning for Thai newspaper. Kim believes in the saying “You are what you read” and enjoys being in the outdoors.
Kamonwan Wipulakorn    

Kamonwan Wipulakorn, President at The Erawan Group Plc

Erawan Group Public Co Ltd is Thailand’s leading hotel investment company with a portfolio that includes the Grand Hyatt, the JW Marriott, the Holiday Inn, the Mercure, the ibis and its own brand, the Hop Inn. Under her leadership as president, the company is currently managing over 6000 hotel rooms in Thailand with occupancy rates of 80%. Kamonwan is also positioning the company for aggressive international expansion. The group opening its first Hop Inn in the Philippines at the end of last year and aims to grow the portfolio to 90 hotels with 10,000 rooms by 2020. For 2017 revenues are expected to grow by 15% to 6.4 billion baht (US$179 million). Kamonwan is an inspiring female role model and the Women Entrepreneurship Conference is proud to present her as a keynote speaker.
Dr Koson Sapprasert    

Dr. Koson Sapprasert, Head of Innovation at SCB

Dr Koson Sapprasert is the Head of Innovation at SCB and former Director of Research at BUSEM. He has been a major contributor to the DIME network (Dynamics of Institution and Markets in Europe) and was a Co-organiser of the IPP project (which led to the book Innovation, Path Dependency and Policy: the case of Norway, 2009, Oxford University Press). He has also published his research in four start academic journals, including Research policy and Science & Public Policy.
As Head of Innovation he is responsible for advancing SCB into the new age of digital banking. Koson will moderate the panel on “Access to finance and markets” at the WECB 2017.
Paola Cuneo    

Paola Cuneo, Founder of the Sirius programme and former General Manager at BT

The Sirius Programme is a UK government initiative to help talented international graduates set up and grow their business in the UK. As its founder, Paola has spent the past three years supporting young entrepreneurs, from idea generation through to capitalisation. So far Sirius businesses have raised £18M in equity investment, for a current valuation of over £60M. Paola is a MIT alumnus and has been a long standing mentor on the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme.
Prior to her work as a programme director, coach and network facilitator, Paola worked as a General Manager at British Telecom for 13 years and as Head of EMEA at London & Partners for further three.
Sarah Huang    

Sarah Huang, Head of Tech & Innovation, Burda International GmbH

Sarah Huang is currently the Head of Tech & Innovation at Burda International GmbH. She has over ten year expertise in Thailand’s tech industry as an investor and innovator and was the co-founder and CEO of WhatsNew, an investment company specialising in tech companies with women audiences (portfolio includes,,, and
Prior she was worked as a principle at Santora Nakama, a project leader at Ardent Capital and a General Manager at Exa Digital Solutions. She attained her education from RMIT, Bangkok School of Management and MIT.
Dr Shima Barakat    

Dr. Shima Barakat, Head of Entrepreneurial Learning Programmes and Engagement and the Director of EnterpriseWISE, University of Cambridge

Shima is Head of Entrepreneurial Learning Programmes and Engagement and the Director of EnterpriseWISE. She has 20 years of international experience as an entrepreneur/founder, board member including as chair, academic researcher, and entrepreneurial educator. She has designed, resourced and delivered the well-recognised programme EnterpriseWISE focusing on entrepreneurial women in science and engineering (WISE). Dr Barakat is an accomplished researcher in the fields of enterprise, gender and sustainability, and our key partner in the UK.
Suprinya Kunta    

Suprinya Kunta, Co-founder of BangkokVanguards

Suprinya (Gift) is the co-founder of Bangkok Vanguards, a travel agency that prides itself on its community centric approach and off-the-beaten-track tours. Her most recent projects include co-creation and hostel space called Innspire Bkk, which aim to “provide a creative space for travellers and Bangkokians to make good things happen”. As a Social Entrepreneurship Graduate from Hult her focus has always been on sustainable business models and lasting impact. Suprinya is also a mentor at the KMUTT Knowledge Exchange for Innovation Center (KX).
Plern Suraphongchai    

Plern (Tee) Suraphongchai, Partner, Venturra

Tee is currently a Partner at Venturra, an early stage US$150M fund investing in SEA. She was previously at Ardent Capital, where she spent two years as Head of Ardent Ventures. Earlier in her career, Tee worked for Central Retail Corporation, Lehman Brothers New York, as well as launched Little Beast, an award-winning Bangkok-based restaurant. She received her MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and her BA from Brown University.
Phichaya Pairojsathaporn    

Phichaya Pairojsathaporn, Managing Director at

Phichaya is the Managing Director of, a mortgage comparison site that helps customers find the best deals when refinancing their debt. She has eight years of experience in finance and investment decision making, having previously worked as an International Investment Product Strategist at SCB Asset Management. Phichaya holds an MBA from Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration and a BBA from Chulalongkorn University.
Pratanporn Phornprapha    

Pratarnporn Phornprapha, Managing Director, Siam@Siam Design Hotels & Resorts

Managing director Pratarnporn Phornprapha is in the third generation of her high-profile family, with her father Pornpinit as company president and chief executive. She is overseeing the day-to-day operations their portfolio, which includes two hotels, Siam@Siam Design Hotel Bangkok and Siam@Siam Design Hotel Pattaya. Both hotels are reported to run well, with revenues of more than 582 million baht in 2016. Pratarnporn recently announced that Siam@Siam Design Hotels & Resorts plans to spend three billion baht to develop two new hotels in by 2019, strengthening their brand in both domestic and international markets.
Roongchat Boonyarat    

Roongchat (Jang) Boonyarat, Director & Chief Operating Officer, Malee

Jang has been working at Malee Sampran PLC (MALEE) since 2010 as a second generation, starting as a trainee before taking the post as Head of Branded Business Unit, EVP Sales and Marketing, and finally COO in 2016. Since joining the Company, annual revenues at Malee have doubled from three billion baht to six billion baht. Her vision is to not only expand Malee beyond fruits into health and well-being categories, but also to expand Malee beyond Thailand. Her challenge is in preparing the multi-generational team of 1,400 people to be ready to move the Company to the next level.
In 2014, Jang was recognized by Forbes Asia’s Power Businesswomen as a ‘woman to watch’ as the young generation leading business through major changes.
Suchart Traipopsakul    

Ass Prof Suchart Traipopsakul, STEP Thailand Team Leader at BUSEM

Founded in 2005 by Babson College, STEP (Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices) is a research initiative that explores the entrepreneurial process within business families and generates solutions that have immediate application for family leaders.
Assistant Professor Suchart Traipopsakul is heading the Thai research team of this international collaboration. He has been at Bangkok University since three years and optained his PhD from Chulalongkorn University.
Dr Ulrike Guelich    

Dr Ulrike Guelich, GEM Thailand Team Leader at BUSEM

Dr Ulrike Guelich sits on the Board of Directors of the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association (GERA) and is the leading researcher of The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Project in Thailand. With twenty-five years of business experience as a female entrepreneur she embodies a viaduct between theory and practice. Ulrike was founding owner of a handicraft business in Germany; lead a family-run manufacturing business in the 4th generation and was head of an IT start-up as supplier to the automotive industry. She is the brains behind the theme of this conference and has spent much of the past five years researching and promoting female entrepreneurship in Thailand.
Waewkanee Assoratgoon    

Waewkanee Assoratgoon - General Manager, KFC

With 20 years of professional experience working with leading global companies including Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Kao, Waewkanee joined the Yum Restaurants in 2001. Under her as General Manager, KFC managed to achieve consistent growth through nationwide reach, currently operating 560 stores across Thailand and employing more than 13,000 associates.
Assoratgoon has been serving on the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand’s Board of Governors for two successive terms from 2013 to 2016.
Assoratgoon graduated from Yokohama National University in Japan with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and obtained her Master’s degree in International Marketing from California State University, San Diego, California.


organizers and sponsors