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Women’s entrepreneur guru speaks on growing your business

Nell Merlino spoke to the audience with a translator by her side to ensure that everyone understood the ideas she was transmitting.

Shana Kongmun
Nell Merlino, the founder of “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” and “Count Me In For Economic Independence” initiative in the United States spoke to businesswomen and men about the most important ways to grow your small business.

U.S. Consul Tom White was on hand to introduce Ms. Merlino and he pointed out that Thailand has 9.2 women for every 10 men starting and running their own business, one of only 7 countries globally with such an equal rate. He noted that with the upcoming economic integration of the AEC the new economic landscape will offer unique opportunities for those utilizing extra skills and knowledge.

Nell Merlino (third right), Tom White of the U.S. Embassy (1st right) and organizer Orarick Wong (1st left) are joined by local businesswomen before the start of the seminar.

Nell Merlino is on the U.S. Department of State committee on international economies, on the board of the American Entrepreneurs Organization and, he said, “leading the global movement to empower women entrepreneurs that will take women to new levels of independence and empowerment to then act as leaders in their own countries.”

Ms. Merlino then took the stage and talked about her project to bring daughters to work, pointing out that it shows girls the opportunities out there for them.

She then discussed the state of women owned businesses in the United States, pointing out that when she started her initiative there were 22 million women in business and only 250,000 of those with over one million dollars in revenues. She said women often make the mistake in thinking if they keep their business small they can then take care of the family and the business. She pointed out that if you have employees they can do the work, freeing you up for your family.

Ms. Merlino pointed out three key requirements for entrepreneurs, both women and men. Firstly, whatever the product or service is that you are selling needs to be new, better or different. She said it doesn’t need to be all three, but you must at least meet two of those requirements.
Secondly, you must stand out, you must be visible. Attending meetings and getting out there is vital. Network with local businesspeople, join the business community and use the resources it provides you.

Finally, you must determine what you are best at, as the owner/creative source, she said, you need to ask yourself, “What am I best at?” She added, “Because to know what you are best at helps you to figure out how to delegate” She point out that many businesses do not grow because they do not expand their capacity to work with other people. She said “You have to hire people how are best at things that you are not good at. Hire people smarter than you! There is a fear, especially among women, that they will take over the business but it is important to remember that it is your business, you are the boss. Bring in smart people and the whole business will be smart.”

Ms. Merlino then reminded the audience that it is vital to know one’s financial situation. You need to know how much money you need to grow and you have to go get it. She added that you need to look for larger markets as well. “No one will give you these things, you must go get them,” she said.

Nell Merlino’s audience heard about the importance of planning, of defining roles in the business, including family businesses, and the need to network with other business owners. Something men have done quite well for some time but that women, while increasingly better at it, still need to work on.

The inspirational talk was held at the Ibis Styles Hotel on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 from 9 a.m. and saw a nearly full audience of both women and men, students and entrepreneurs alongside established business owners. Organized by Orarick Sriwong and the U. S. Embassy the women of Chiang Mai learned new ideas and key components to starting and running their own business.

Finance Min boasts visible economic improvement over the past 6 month

The Ministry of Finance's Permanent Secretary Rangsan Sriworasart, claims his agency's 6-month performance report, scheduled to be released on Wednesday, would show the public visible improvement in Thailand's economy under its management, saying that the only recent matter of concern is the slowing growth of exports.

He said the government's stimulus package helped the recovery of local spending; citing the amount of Value Added Tax (VAT) collected during the first quarter of this year had increased by 1%. The figure consists of a 10.5% increase in domestic VAT on spending, Mr. Rangsan indicated, adding however that the VAT on imports was at a negative 11%, due to the lower global fuel price.

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary pointed out that local investment has also shown signs of recovery, with March cement sales growing 0.6%, adding that capital goods imports during the period also expanded 5.9%.

Mr. Rangsan said, although export growth figures to China, Japan and the European Union in February are still negative, the figures were positive for the U.S., ASEAN member countries and the CLMV nations, which are Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

He concluded that Thailand's overall economic outlook remains strong with a high volume of foreign exchange reserves. Permanent Secretary Rangsan also disclosed that last month's tourism sector grew 23%, while adding the international community still viewed the Kingdom as favorable for investment. (NNT)

BOI approved 460 projects, worth over THB100,000m in Jan-Feb 2015

The Board of Investment (BOI) approved 460 projects applying for investment promotional privileges during January to February 2015. These projects involve more than THB115,000 m in investment capital and have created 31,000 job opportunities, according to acting BOI Secretary-General Hirunya Suchinai.

The approved projects have begun their operations one after another, particularly those producing automobile parts and electronic equipment. Hirunya said those investments demonstrated investors’ confidence in Thailand’s potentials as industrial production base and proved the country's attractiveness to new investors.

Last week, she said, the BOI meeting chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha approved ten more projects worth around THB28,000m. They include, among others, an auto part factory, a Biomass power plant and international exhibition centers. (NNT)

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Update April 28, 2015

Women’s entrepreneur guru speaks on growing your business

Update April 21, 2015

Finance Min boasts visible economic improvement over the past 6 month

Update April 10, 2015

BOI approved 460 projects, worth over THB100,000m in Jan-Feb 2015