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Sad Loss of Unilever Boss

It is with great sadness that the British Business Group in Lao PDR informs its members about the untimely and unexpected passing of Dickerson Manampan, the highly regarded Laos Country Manager of Unilever, and BBGL bronze sponsor. Though born in the Philippines, he had made his home in Cambodia, and after spending the last 5 years based here in Laos, Dickerson was known affectionately to his colleagues in Unilever as Big Bro’.  He was a highly respected and much loved colleague at Unilever and among friends and business associates alike in Laos for his wise, gentle but firm handling of all matters that he dealt with as employer and businessman. Dickerson leaves his wife, also from the Philippines and a medical doctor, and two children, one a student in the United Kingdom, to whom BBGL sends its heartfelt condolences.

Our Chairman, John Cockcroft, and Executive Secretary, Sengthavisay Xayphrakassa, represented the British Business Group in Lao PDR at the Chinese Foundation in Vientiane where they met Doy Concha, Unilever General Manager (Myanmar, Cambodia & Laos) and Sakun Ky, Unilever Head of Customer Development – Laos to whom BBGL committed its support to Unilever in Laos during this difficult time, and in the future.  

Advisory Board Member – Peter Livermore

Peter Livermore is a British film director who has been producing television documentaries and information films for 35 years. He is also specialised in communication and is author/photographer of several large coffee table books in Laos. He has filmed worldwide, including across much of Asia, and has been filming in Laos since 1989. Having created his own film production company in 1997, “SevenOrients”, he then established a company in Laos in 2016 named “Creative Seven Arts”.

Peter has been incessantly supporting Lao culture for over 35 years, through film and many other media, for example producing various music CDs of traditional Lao music. His preferred medium is the cultural documentary, blending a creative approach to the veracity and depth of information from the scientific community, creating strong working relationships with anthropologists, music-anthropologists and archaeologists.

LDWDC: A Vital Organisation Supporting Disabled Women in Laos

Vientiane, 25 July 2022 – The British Business Group was privileged to have the chance to visit the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre (LDWDC) on 23 July 2022 to learn firsthand about the significant contribution the Centre is making to the lives of women with disability nationwide.

The British Business Group – which is the local chamber of commerce for UK-focused businesses, trading partners and friends under the patronage of the British Embassy – has been a long-term supporter of LDWDC. The visit was organized to help raise awareness among British Business Group members about LDWDC and to explore future opportunities for collaboration.

LDWDC was established at its current location near the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Vientiane Capital by Madam Chanpheng Sivila in 2002. It currently supports 30-35 women every year with access to remedial medical treatment, physical therapy, prosthetics, health education, life skills alongside vocational training in I.T., dress-making, weaving and pottery.

Over the years LDWDC has assisted more than 1500 women with disabilities. After completing a structured program of training and support, LDWDC helps trainees secure employment with local companies or to establish their own business.  Follow-up surveys have confirmed that two-thirds of LDWDC graduates have gained more autonomy and are able to earn a living upon returning home.

Visitors from the British Business Group were given a warm welcome by Madam Chanpheng and her staff, who explained the history, purpose and focus of the Centre. “We want to promote inclusion and show everyone that women with disability can contribute to their family and society” she explained, before leading a tour of the facilities to see the breadth of activities on offer.

The Centre offers taster-sessions on a range of handicraft activities including weaving, pottery, paper making and upcycling. It is an educational and fun way to spend a few hours or full day. For more information on arranging a visit, see the LDWDC (http://laodisabledwomen.com), Facebook or phone 021 812282

Advisory Board Member – Souphachanh Khansyla

Souphachanh Khansyla (May) is the Chief Operating Officer at ANZ Banking Group, Lao branch.

May is an experienced International Banker with a demonstrated history of 15 years working with ANZ across Operations, Relationship Coverage, Research & Analysis and Transaction Banking with a primary focus on Institutional Clients including Financial Institutions. As a Chief Operating Officer, May works very closely with businesses to deliver seamless services to their customers.

May is also a champion promoting Gender Equality in her workplace. May was invited by the UN to participate as one of the Panelists at the Women’s Empowerment Principles Annual Event held on 15/16 Mar 2016 in New York, speaking on ‘The Generation of Change Agents” to promote Gender Equality. May is also a mentor / supporter for other Lao women (outside ANZ Laos) who want to advance their career in leadership roles.

Within the BBGL, May is an Advisory Board Member supporting the Management & Finance sub-committees.

On a personal note, she is an opened minded individual with strong growth mindset, who has always been fully committed throughout her career and is a strong working mother of three children.

Executive Board Member – Daniel Marcus

Daniel Marcus established his fabric hand weaving business in Lao PDR in 2011. He was one of very few people to be issued with a 100% foreign ownership license for handicraft products.  The company originally called Soie de Lune was rebranded in Laos as Studio Silapa. The workshop, based in Vientiane Capital, hand weaves fabrics for export. In addition to weaving fabric, Marcus with his business partner Ms. Paipon Saiyedath, established a fabric dyeing business, one of the only professional dye shops in the country.

They also provide on-site training for both weaving and dyeing and their mission is to create business opportunities for artisans in Laos, to enable them to make a living from their artistic endeavours and to preserve Lao patrimony.  Previously, Marcus worked in Telecoms for France Telecom / Orange in Paris. He now resides in London, UK and continues to support the BBGL remotely.