Economic Empowerment Fellows Program

By Ms. Orn-anong SAENYAKUL
Marketing DirectorAbeno Coffee Doichang
Chaing Rai, Thailand

The Economic Empowerment Fellows Program has given me a great experience that I will always remember and appreciate. I thank them for bringing me to the United States to learn about economics, marketing, culture, communication, strategy, and planning. I have learned so much in this program. This was a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas about business and give me the knowledge to help my indigenous peoples in preserving their culture.

First, we went to the University of Montana for one week. We learned about business marketing, planning, and strategy. It helped us understand the business culture of the United States. Now we can do business better. When we go back to our countries, we will share this information with our indigenous community,

The second week, we went to host families in Ronan and Whitefish. My host families taught me about American culture. Billie Lee, my host family in Ronan, worked for Lake County Community Development. She taught me so much about business development and proposal writing. I also learned about Native study at the Salish Kootenai College. I was very interested in the Salish Kootenai College because we do not have schools for indigenous peoples in Thailand. I would like to establish a cultural exchange so that indigenous people from Thailand could study at the Salish Kootenai College.

After Ronan, I went to Whitefish where I stayed with Scott and Barbara Brandt. They work for Montana Coffee Traders, They taught me about the processes of coffee production. They also taught me how to promote and market my coffee. It was very useful for me to see the whole process. I will send them samples of my coffee in the future.

I would like for our people to come here and volunteer for Montana Coffee Traders other coffee business so that they can learn about the process and business from bean to a steaming cup of coffee set before a satisfied customer. I would like them to come our country as well to exchange ideas.

I also went to to the indigenous Browning community. It was very beautiful to be out in nature there. Scott Brandt brings food from the food bank to this community every two weeks.

Indigenous Women Coffee Thailand. I hope to be successful soon in making my ideas happen,

My vision for my company has been expanded. I had ideas when I arrived but I see that there is even more that I can do to empower woman in this business.

Already my knowledge of the coffee business has expanded and I know it will continue to grow during my time in the United States. I am making good contacts with the business people and they have been generous in sharing their knowledge and expertise, The people at the Mansfield Center have set me up with fantastic business people to meet and I wish to thank them.

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