Women entrepreneurs who have revolutionised the business landscape of Thailand


The world of entrepreneurship needs greater participation from women. There have been multiple studies which sheds light on the prevalent gender gap, gender bias which has a direct impact on funding. Despite the challenges some women entrepreneurs have continued to march on, taking these challenges in their stride and climbing up the ladder of success. 

Take Asia for example. The 2015 HSBC survey stated that 40 percent of entrepreneurs in Asia were found to be women. Even a recent MasterCard study placed Philippines and Thailand in the top two positions when it comes to chances for advancement of women within the professional sphere.

So what accounts for the rise of women entrepreneurs in Thailand?

For a country which was ranked 75 in the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report, we look at Thai women tycoons who have been torchbearers for many aspiring women entrepreneurs.

Somruedee Chaimongkol, Banpu

In 2015, when Somruedee helmed the reigns of the energy company Banpu, headquartered in Bangkok, she became its first woman CEO. The Harvard Business School graduate also holds the distinction of being the company’s first female member of the Board of Directors. The 56-year-old was listed fourth on the Forbes Asia Power Women 2016 list. Banpu employs more than 4,000 workers and has its presence in Laos, China, Indonesia, and Australia.

Yuwadee Chirathivat, Central Department Store Group

Yuwadee, 63, is the CEO of one of the biggest names in the shopping mall industry in Thailand. The mother of three has been pushing the brand beyond Thailand, with Central stores now present in Vietnam, China, Malaysia, and even Rome.

Chadatip Chutrakul, Siam Piwat

Another heiress of the mall industry, Chadatip, 54, joined the family business in 1986. The youngest of three siblings, Chadatip was appointed as the CEO and handed over the reins to the Siam Piwat real estate empire in 2009.

Nalinee Paiboon, Giffarine Skyline Unity

With three decades of experience in the field of health and beauty products, Nalinee’s company now exports its products to 40 countries, including India, USA, and the UK. The 58-year-old Founder and President of Giffarine Skyline Unity started her career as an obstetrician.

Supaluck Umpujh, Mall Group/Emporium Group

With a net worth of $1.65 billion, Supaluck has been in the mall industry for about four decades. She serves as the Chairwoman of the Emporium Group and also holds the post of Vice-Chairwoman for the Mall Group. The eldest of six siblings, who all work for her, marshals a workforce of roughly 14,000 employees.

Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, WHA Corp.

In 2003, Jareeporn Anantaprayoon cofounded WHA Corp., a venture which looked to meet the country’s warehousing needs and develop distribution centres and factories. In 2015, the company acquired industrial land developer Hemaraj Land and became Thailand’s leading industrial land developer. She was awarded the Asian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, Thailand in 2016.

As Thailand grows to break the barriers of women in workspaces, these stalwarts can be taken as examples to emulate by every aspiring female entrepreneur. Do you know other Thai women who are necessary additions to this list? Let us know in the comments!


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