Entrepreneurs to share how Southeast Asia
is responding to climate change


Waste processing, natural cotton, ethical tourism and “slow fish” – leading Southeast Asian entrepreneurs focused on sustainable business will cover these topics and more during a visit to New Zealand next week.

The eight entrepreneurs from five countries are visiting through the ASEAN Young Business Leaders Initiative, a programme managed by the Asia New Zealand Foundation for the New Zealand Government.

The entrepreneurs will travel to Auckland, Queenstown and Wellington and share how businesses in Southeast Asia are tackling environmental issues and innovating in response to climate change in the region. They will meet New Zealand businesses known for their sustainability practices, including Ecostore, Wilding and Co, Little Yellow Bird and Ziptrek Ecotours.

The entrepreneurs are:

  • Adi Reza (Indonesia), co-founder and CEO of biotech compay Mycotech, which has invented a sustainable building material from agri-waste, which has been commercialised.
  • Ha Lam (Vietnam), co-founder and COO of Triip.me, a sharing platform that connects tourists who want to experience local culture with those offering specially designed tours focused on local cultural experiences. Ha Lam was named a Forbes Asia “30 under 30” in 2017.
  • Mary Adelyn (Dhang) Tecson (Philippines), co-founder of Fishers and Changemakers, a social enterprise that partners with fishing communities in the Philippines, aiming to eradicate poverty in the sector while also protecting the sea
  • Okka Phyo Maung (Myanmar), co-founder and CMO of Recyglo, Myanmar’s first and only recycle-tech company. Recyglo also provides a platform for people to sell and buy waste.
  • Passawee (Patsy) Kodaka (Thailand) founder and managing director of Folkcharm, which works with organic cotton farmers in northern Thailand. The cotton is hand-spun and hand-woven into garments and dyed with plant-based dyes.
  • Pattraporn (Dao) Yamla-or (Thailand), managing director of Sal Forest, Thailand’s first sustainable business accelerator and a data-driven research company.
  • Rafael Dionisio (Philippines), co-founder and community director of Make a Difference (MAD) Travel – which provides community-based, sustainable agri-adventure tourism and works closely with Filipino indigenous groups – and the Circle Hostel, a chain of hotels focused on surfers.
  • Uyen Le (Vietnam), head of marketing at Viet Trang, a leading artisanal and sustainable handicraft company that works predominantly with female artisans from rural areas to protect natural resources and preserve traditional craftwork.

 The Asia New Zealand Foundation is a partner of the Aotearoa Social Enterprise Forum in Wellington on Friday 19 October; Pattraporn (Dao) Yamla-or is one of the speakers at that event.

 The entrepreneurs will also join members of the Asia New Zealand Foundation’s Leadership Network at the Foundation’s Sustainability Hui from 19-21 October.

 Asia New Zealand Foundation leadership and entrepreneurship programme manager Adam McConnochie says the group’s visit provides an opportunity for New Zealand business leaders to learn developments in the region.

“Southeast Asia has seen booming economic growth, but a range of social and environmental challenges have accompanied that. It is also one of the regions of the world that is most vulnerable to climate change.

 “These entrepreneurs are coming up with really impressive and innovative ways to tackle some of these issues, and several have received international awards for their work. They can provide plenty of inspiration for New Zealand start-ups focused on sustainable business models – and also present an opportunity for New Zealand business to learn how to better engage in the region.”

The visiting entrepreneurs are available to interview.

For more information:

Rebecca Inoue-Palmer

Acting director strategic communications and media, Asia New Zealand Foundation

(04) 470 8701

[email protected]