Laura is a recent law and politics graduate. She is currently working for an NGO in Northern Thailand, after which she plans to travel through Eastern Europe and South America, sampling as many coffee shops as possible, before returning to New Zealand to take up a job with a law firm in Wellington.

Surveying Thailand’s Emerging Crowdfunding Scene

by Laura MacKay

It could easily be argued that non-digital crowdfunding has been practised in Thailand for centuries; dana or ‘giving’ is a key component of the Buddhist religion and Thai culture itself. Any early riser in Thailand will have witnessed the daily alms ritual of monks, who collect their meal for the day from Thai shopkeepers and street vendors. Thai‘s also regularly contribute to the upkeep of the numerous temples, whose golden pagodas grace the skyline of every Thai city. The landscape of Thai crowdfunding reflects this spirit of giving in the large number and success of rewards-based crowdfunding platforms such as Taejai, Dreammaker, Asiola and MeeFund. However, despite the desperate need for alternative forms of raising capital in Thailand, and the recent enactment of regulations which permit equity crowdfunding, Thailand is yet to see a registered equity-based crowdfunding platform emerge.

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Bhutan for Life; preserving the last Shangri-La

By Laura Mackay

Famous for measuring national wellbeing in terms of gross national happiness rather than GDP, and for its breathtaking mountains and valleys dotted with orange monks, it comes as no surprise that Bhutan has been labelled the ‘last Shangri-La.’ Moreover, since its decision to embrace the rest of the world, Bhutan has lived up to its moniker in more ways that one. The launch of Bhutan for Life, in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), involves a realistic and practical acknowledgment of the importance of maintaining Bhutan’s pristine environment but Bhutan’s current financial inability to do so. Bhutan has calculated it needs approximately US$40 million over the next fifteen years in order to implement an effective conservation strategy, which is money it simply does not have. Rather than entering a competitive market for foreign aid, Bhutan for Life has instead utilised an innovative Kickstarter-like model modified for both the need for long-term funding and the anticipation of a growing economy.

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