South and Southeast Asia Regional Innovation Hub
The South and Southeast Asia region has seen remarkable economic growth in the past two decades, leading to a projected decrease of 13 million undernourished people between 2015 and 2024. However, this progress is not uniformly spread over the region; as of 2015, around 60 million people remained malnourished and poverty rates in several countries exceeded 40 percent. Meanwhile, food production often involves traditional or intensive energy and water uses that exacerbate climate change, depletion of natural resources and biodiversity loss. In order to address these issues, private enterprises have already developed a bevy of approaches and technologies for climate-friendly, water- and energy-efficient agricultural processes. These innovators, however, often have insufficient entrepreneurial capacities to successfully and sustainably scale up developed prototypes, access catalytic investment, integrate gender into their operations, or engage with policy and regulation environments.
The South and Southeast Asia Regional Innovation Hub (S/SEA RIH) supports the scaling-up of climate-friendly and environmentally sustainable, energy and/or water-efficient innovations in the water-energy-food (WE4F) nexus across the region, with a focus on women and the poor. Innovations include technologies, business and finance models and new modes of cooperation. Based in Bangkok, Thailand, the RIH supports innovators in 15 countries.
By 2024, we aim to:
- Identify and fund at least 40 total WE4F innovators across the region;
- Support innovators in reaching a minimum of 1 million smallholder farmers and other end users, including 250,000 women;
- Help farmers increase food production while increasing water and energy efficiencies;
- Increase investment to innovators by at least $20 million; and
- Enhance the enabling environment for WE4F innovations through advocacy and capacity building activities.
We aim to support the scaling up private sector innovations through the use of grants. To do this, we will issue regular, competitive calls for innovations that are open to companies that operate in at least two components of the WE4F nexus and work in any of the 16 countries. Those who onboard as a WE4F innovator receive a grant, technical assistance, investment facilitation and enabling environment support. We will also support select innovators from the Asia EDGE Ag-Energy Prize and predecessor programs Securing Water for Food and Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge.
We will identify WE4F innovators’ technical assistance needs and mobilize resources to provide relevant support. This includes assistance to improve business performance to increase investment potential, advise on product quality, market fit and regulatory compliance, incorporate environmental and social governance principles, and comply with grant agreement terms.
We will provide WE4F innovators with comprehensive investment facilitation services with the objective of thoroughly preparing them for and introducing them to third-party providers of risk capital. We will work to facilitate deal origination, investor due diligence, deal structuring and negotiation and, where appropriate and feasible, post-investment value creation and realization. Our team will also support the development of investment marketing materials and financial models, and coach innovator management teams.
Enabling environment activities are pivotal to scaling innovations, since they can ease business operations, attract private sector partners, and help facilitate access to innovations for end-users. We will work to improve enabling environments in national and regional frameworks that inhibit innovator growth, investment transactions and/or end-user access by promoting ease of doing business, stimulating market growth through incentives, recognizing and rewarding product quality, and strengthening partnerships with governments and industry associations.
One of the main advantages of the global structure of WE4F is that lessons learned can be shared around the world, success stories can be adapted and replicated in different contexts, and knowledge exchanges and study tours can easily be organized. The S/SE Asia Hub will work closely with other WE4F Hubs and our partners to share lessons learned based on innovator experiences and create and operate global knowledge platforms for the benefit of the wider development community.
The Team in South and Southeast Asia
Radtasiri Wachirapunyanont has over ten years of experience in climate finance, water-energy-food nexus technologies, clean energy, sustainable agriculture, monitoring and evaluation, program management and partnership development in South and Southeast Asia. He has supported over ten ventures working in the clean energy-agriculture nexus.
Prior to WE4F, he served as Thailand Program Manager for New Energy Nexus where he led the creation of Thailand’s first energy startups ecosystem, including leading bootcamps, mentoring startups that work in clean energy, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, social inclusion and Internet of Things, and coordinating with government, investors, and international organizations. He also previously worked at USAID’s Green Invest Asia, the Asian Development Bank, USAID’s Low Emissions Asian Development (LEAD) program on climate resilience development, indicator development, knowledge management and capacity building.
Radtasiri holds a Master of Public Policy (Urban, Environmental and Sustainable Policy) from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Chulalongkorn University. Radtasiri is based in Bangkok, Thailand.
Sasmita has a decade of experience in policy research, impact investing and ESG evaluation of companies; her work has focused on integration of gender and social equity across projects. Sasmita is experienced in project management, research and engagement with ministries, donors, civil society and the private sector in India. In her previous assignments, she has managed consulting projects for donors and social enterprises, and led ESG research for global investors. Sasmita is based in New Delhi, India.
Supaporn “Prae” Phusatorn
Supaporn Phusatorn has over ten years working experience covering finance, administration and management in both private companies and INGOs.
She has two years working experience with USAID funded Malaria Project in Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, one year experience with UNEP (United Nations Environment Programs) Environment Assessment for Regional Resource Center in Asia and the Pacific (RRC.AP). She has managed finance and admin with various project donors including the USAID, World Bank, ADB, EU, MOEJ and KEI.
She also worked in private companies within several business sectors (i.e., medical equipment, automobile, green energy, oil and gas, etc.). She was a Senior Executive Assistant to CEO in Triton Green Energy working in the conversion of waste to energy business. Supaporn holds a Master of Business Administration in Business Strategy from Asian Institute of Technology, received His Majesty the King’s Scholarships from Royal Thai Government and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management (Honor) from Prince of Songkhla University. Supaporn is based in Bangkok, Thailand.
Kelley Gasper leads CrossBoundary’s investment advisory activities in Southeast Asia and has previous experience throughout Africa with the firm’s Bamako and Johannesburg teams. Prior to joining CrossBoundary, Kelley held an investment banking role on the New York leveraged finance desk of J.P. Morgan, where he also held a business development and strategy role focused on small business lending. Kelley is a former United States Marine officer with extensive international deployment experience. He holds Master of International Affairs and BA degrees, both from Columbia University. Kelley is based in Bangkok, Thailand.
Kunto Binawan has more than 20 years of professional experience in the private sector as well as development works, with extensive experience in the field of finance and business development, with specialization on corporate finance, microfinance, conservation finance, agribusiness development and sustainable business development. He holds a Master in Public Administration from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore and Master in Management from Prasetiya Mulya Business School, Jakarta, Indonesia. Kunto is based in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Ekanath Khatiwada joins DevWorks International as a Policy and Regulatory Advisor/Agricultural Markets, to manage the WE4F Asia Hub’s Enabling Environment Unit. Mr. Khatiwada is a development professional with an international profile, with more than 20 years of experience both in Africa (Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania) and Asia (Nepal, Myanmar Philippines, India Srilanka) regions. He is a MBA graduate from TU Nepal and MSc graduate from EBS/Heriot-Watt University UK on Strategic planning. Ekanath will be based in Nepal.
Pongsagorn (Art) Satjipanon works for Tetra Tech as a Country Coordinator for Thailand and other countries in Asia for the WE4F program. Pongsagorn is an international development professional with more than 10 years of experience, working for international development and private sectors in areas of sustainable development, private sector engagement, technical assistance and responsible and inclusive business.
Pongsagorn graduated with a Master in Commerce and Administration (with Merit), specializing in International Business and Asian Study from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He is based in Bangkok, Thailand.
Tran Thi Tuyet
Tran Thi Tuyet works a business advisor for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and cooperatives with more than 20 years of experience. She is a certified senior trainer and consultant to support businesses to become economically (Competency-based Economies through Formation of Entrepreneurs – CEFE), environmentally and socially beneficial (profitable social management- PSM, Good Housekeeping – GHK, Corporate Social Responsibility – CSR). Tuyet also held monitoring and evaluation, program management, advocacy and networking role in poverty reduction, agrobusiness, smart agriculture development projects. Tuyet holds a Master’s in Public Management and an Economics Master’s degree from University Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium and National Economics University, Vietnam. Tuyet is based in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Mukesh, holds a Chartered Accountant degree, one of most prestigious
qualification in finance. He carries with him almost two decades of experience in the
development sector especially in the field of Grants, Financial Management,
Budgeting & Monitoring, Auditing and operations. He comes with a unique
combination of professional qualification, USAID knowledge and development
sector work experience. He has worked on both sides of the table, with donor
agencies like USAID, American Red Cross on one hand and on the other hand he
has also worked in senior management level positions with several International
corporate/NGOs, like CEDPA, CORE International, FHI360, FUTURES Group,
CARE India & India HIV/AIDS Alliance.Mukesh is presently based in New
Mr. Vin Sokhal has extensive experience working with government bodies of the Kingdom of Cambodia, UN agencies, development agencies, donors, IOs, LNGOs,
and various international and domestic consulting firms. Mr. Sokhal has experience in various sectors such as integrated community development, livelihoods and economic improvement, organizational development and strengthening, agriculture market value chain, CCA/DRR, water governance (Farmer Water User Community-FWUC), and especially rural women economic empowerment. Recently, Mr. Sokhal was employed by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as a Food Value Chain Specialist for the Local and Regional Food Aid Procurement (LRP), and he is a former Agriculture and Livelihood Specialist for the World Bank funded Livelihood Enhancement and Association of the Poor (LEAP). Mr. Sokhal holds a Master of Science in Climate Change from the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), and a master’s degree in Development Management from Norton University (NU), and Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.
Ashwani works at Tetra Tech as India’s Country Coordinator for the WE4F program. Ashwani has 10+ years of experience in Programme/Project Management, Operations, Monitoring, Livelihood (Farm & Non-farm), Rural Development, WASH, Donor Management, Grant Management, Women Empowerment, Clean Energy, Sustainable agriculture, Capacity Building, Program Implementation, Enterprise Development, Budget Forecasting, Stakeholder Engagement General Administration and so on.
Prior to Tetra Tech, Ashwani worked as Head of Operation at Renew Oceans where he was responsible for end to end operations in India. He has previously worked with Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives (a TATA TRUST Initiative) as Operations lead-North East hub for Sustain+ programme where he established the programme and formed partnership with various grassroot NGOs as well as government departments. He also worked with organisations-Rise Against Hunger, Wipro Technologies, Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (an AKDN Organization) and Smaarftech Technologies in various capacities.
Ashwani holds Master of Arts (Social Work in Rural Development) from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and Master of Business Administration (Marketing & Finance) from Lalit Narayan Mithila University, Darbhanga. Ashwani is based in New Delhi, India.
Thiha has over 15 years of experience working with UN and NGO groups on monitoring, evaluation, and program management for a variety of activities in a variety of areas, including livelihood, health, human trafficking, peace, and development. He manages and oversees the day-to-day lead for implementing all MEL activities and processes, such as data collection, data verification, data reporting, and training, in his capacity as Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Specialist. He graduated from Assumption University (ABAC) in Thailand with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Yangon Institute of Economics in Myanmar with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). Thiha is based in Bangkok, Thailand.
Asmita Moon has over 5 years of experience in working with social enterprises.
She has 3 years of experience in working with energy startups and solutions. She has led Powered Accelerator program for women entrepreneurs in energy and has
worked with SELCO Foundation as Business Development Associate. She brings in
enabling ecosystem expertise for supporting social businesses in market research,
partnerships, business and financial models, and their other core elements.
Asmita has a MSc from London School of Economics and Political Science in
Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a Master of Social Entrepreneurship
from Karnatak University, Dharwad. She has done her B. Tech from National
Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal.
Printor was an investment banker with experience in advisory and capital markets covering REITs and infrastructure funds at Bangkok Bank.
He also held an investment banking role at AEC Securities in Bangkok, where he was involved in both mergers & acquisitions (M&A) and equity capital markets.
Printor has a Master’s in Finance from London Business School and a Bachelor of Accounting and Finance degree from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, and is a CFA Charterholder.
Yogeeta Sharma is a veteran of creating and managing marketing and PR campaigns to build relationships for organizations and individuals. She has 16 years of experience with organizations managing communication and marketing products with renewable energy, tourism and education as a central component: statements, developing communications strategies, developing web pages and managing social media, disseminating knowledge products, preparing flyers, and spreading other materials in order to enhance awareness about the programs. Some of the donors/clients she has supported include the United States Government (USAID, USEA), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation, GIZ, and ministries under the Government of India.
Yogeeta possesses a distinctive ability to connect with people across cultures and organizational levels due to her engaging presence and strong interpersonal communication skills. She has done Master’s in English Literature, Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing Management and Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication. She is based in New Delhi, India.
Summ Phann comes from Cambodia. Summ is exploring different working fields through internships to apply what she has been obtaining from her study. From the Industrial science and Management program at Thammasat university in Thailand, Summ has learned the importance of integrating business courses into a science major. She believes that learning technical skills and having the ability to design or create new innovations/products is only halfway to the road of success. The other half requires business knowledge or entrepreneur mindset to properly lead the design and adjustment of the product to successfully be accepted in the market. Despite majoring in Food Science and Technology, Summ is currently on another scholarship pursuing a one year professional course in UX/UI design. She is open to learning anything new and is trying to expand skills through volunteering work and internships.
Who We Are
The South and Southeast Asia Regional Innovation Hub (S/SEA RIH) is operated by three leading international organizations who have many years of experience advocating for inclusive and equitable economic growth, gender equality, sustainable agriculture, and the sustainable use of energy, water, and other natural resources in South Asia and Southeast Asia.
The S/SEA RIH implementation is led by Tetra Tech, a leading provider of high-end consulting and engineering services for more than 30 agricultural and economic growth projects worldwide. Tetra Tech has managed development projects on every continent, providing clear solutions to complex problems in water, environment, sustainable infrastructure, and renewable energy.
CrossBoundary is a mission-driven investment firm committed to unlocking the power of capital for sustainable growth and strong returns in underserved markets. CrossBoundary provides transaction and investment advisory services, having developed specialized expertise in unlocking investment across all sectors in underserved markets globally.
DevWorks International has deep experience in supporting food-water-energy nexus enterprises and a strong track record in fostering inclusive business and market-based solutions. DevWorks’ approach is grounded in private sector engagement and building local capacity for improved service delivery.