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 (S/SE) Asia Regional Innovation Hub 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 16 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 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 10+ 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. Radtasiri holds a Master of Public Policy (Urban, Environmental and Sustainable Policy) from the National University of Singapore, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Chulalongkorn University. Radtasiri is based in Bangkok, Thailand.
Raisa Chowdhury is leading the Technical Assistance unit of South/Southeast Asia Hub based out of Bangkok. Raisa has been working with micro, small and medium enterprise development for more than a decade in agriculture, water, sanitation, & hygiene and food and nutrition security to improve life and livelihoods of farmers in rural Bangladesh. Raisa holds a Master of Development Studies majoring in Environment and Development from Dhaka University, and Bachelor in Business Administration from East West University. Raisa 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.
Mr. Singhapoom has 30 years of experience in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and has provided monitoring, evaluation, reporting, and learning (MERL) support to USAID projects for over 11 years. He manages the M&E plan, monitors program activities and shares findings with program staff and stakeholders to inform the implementation strategy. Supol is based in Bangkok, Thailand.
Wanweena has a broad skill set with over 10 years of experience in communication, marketing and public relations, working with both private and nonprofit organizations. In her role as Communications and Knowledge Management Specialist, she helps to develop and implement the Regional Innovation Hub (RIH) communications strategy, leads outreach to innovators, potential grantees, stakeholders and the public through a 360-degree communication approach. She holds a master’s degree in Marketing from Chulalongkorn University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science (First Class Honors) with a specialization in International Affairs from Thammasat University. Wanweena is based in Bangkok, Thailand.
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.
Lukkhana Pimvaen has +20 years of office administration, accounting and payroll management. Lukkhana holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Suan Dusit Rejabhat University. Lukkhana is based in Bangkok, Thailand.
Caroline Chen is a member of CrossBoundary’s Bangkok-based South/Southeast Asia investment advisory team and has prior transaction advisory experience with the firm leading efforts in Haiti and sub-Saharan Africa. Caroline 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.
Yee Yee Maw
Yee Yee Maw joined DevWorks organization as a Country Coordinator for WE4F. She has concrete experience in value chain governance, market system development and natural resources management. Yee Yee Maw has nine years of experience supporting market systems development programs and providing business advisory services for agricultural small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Yee Yee is based in Yangon, Myanmar.
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.
Venus Sharma is India Country Coordinator for WE4F program. Prior to joining WE4F, she has provided technical assistance to Securing Water for Food innovators in Asia and Africa. In the last six years of her professional experience, she has undertaken diverse professional roles as an Acceleration Manager, a Researcher and a Consultant in the process enabling over 50 small and medium enterprises to scale their impact in low-income markets through financially sustainable models. Venus holds a Masters in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Management from University of Nottingham, UK. Venus is based in Bangalore, India.
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.
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.