August 13, 2021 – Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University organized an online workshop via Google Meet on “Development of Business Plans for Community Products” under the University to Tambon or U2T Project for Ban Thaen Sub-district, Chonnabot District, Khon Kaen and Khok Snga Sub-district, Phon District, Khon Kaen. Participants included implementers of the Project and entrepreneurs in the area. This Project – Integrated Sub-district Socio-Economic Upgrading – is led by Asst. Prof. Arunee Promkhambut, Ph.D., of the Faculty of Agriculture. The workshop was principally run by Asst. Prof. Sukanda Nakhapaksin, Ph.D., with assistance from Khun Pirote Jullarat, CEO of Microbrain Co.Ltd., and Khun Jittiporn Jitphak, Producer of Agency Advertisement. The 35 participants were given suggestions on business plans that were based on the results of community information analysis and group meetings that provided information on outstanding products and people who wanted to develop their existing products or initiate new products. The entrepreneurs and project implementers had a chance to present their Business Model Canvas (BMC) and received suggestions from the experts who ran the workshop. The objectives of this workshop were to give knowledge in developing marketing communication, finding selling channels, and to promote identity creation for community products.
Asst. Prof. Sukanda Nakhapaksin, Ph.D., the expert who ran the workshop said from her viewpoint that Covid has not caused a slowdown in everything. There is the brightening core of many businesses. It is the matter of how we should do to develop our business to reach that core. Some business could grow because of Covid, for example the air-cleaning plants. Since at present, people have to work from home, home is everything to everyone. Staying home for more than 21 days can change the behaviors that we do during the 21 days to be our habits. There is demand for plants that can decorate our houses.
Asst. Prof. Sukanda added that marketing or business means that we have the supply, we have to locate the demand and find the balance point for the exchange of goods. We should know where our products go and can sell in the market.
Khun Pirote Jullarat, CEO of Microbrain Co.Ltd. explained that when a product has been developed until it reaches a standard and answers the market demand, the digital technology which can be simply used by the community will help the community as the producer become close to the targeted market. Presently, there are many platforms that facilitate operations at the local business levels. Entrepreneurs of the 2 sub-districts have the potential to develop themselves towards digital economy.
Khun Jittiporn Jitphak, Producer of Agency Advertisement explained that good story telling is important in upgrading the values of community products. Products that emerge from local wisdom are wanted in the market. However, what is still lacked is story telling. Therefore, these products are not able to compete and grow in the market. They cannot also be connected to their targeted consumers. Marketing requires developers to search, locate, and communicate the facts about the valuable wisdom, beautiful lifestyle, and the process used to create the products to the market. Initially, the team should compile a lot of data and pictures that cover all aspects to be ready for use in marketing work.
At the workshop, the participants presented the BMC of their community products for the experts to comment and so that the participants were able to understand the products, improve the weaknesses and promote the strengths along with adjusting the strategy in marketing communication so that the products will be more widely known, with the identity becoming more specific and associated to the changing ways of living and working under the present situation such as work from home.
Mr. Sakda Saisorn, a U2T implementer who joined the workshop said that the workshop made him know more about business plans and product development by adjusting the weaknesses and improving the strengths for the better. He also sees how to locate wider and clearer markets which are right to the target.
The Project responsible persons are grateful to Asst. Prof. Sukanda Nakhapaksin who ran the workshop, which, besides enhancing the skills for developing product plans for the community and those working for the U2T Project, also helped develop their entrepreneurial skills. It is expected that the workshop will benefit the participants and enable them to upgrade the community products in the long run.
News: Ornpreeya Kriengsri and Waraporn Sawatnathee, U2T Project implementers at Ban Thaen Sub-district, Chonnabot District, Khon Kaen
Photos: U2T Team, Ban Thaen Sub-district and Khok Snga Sub-district