Event organiser and avid golfer
Les Walsh is an entrepreneurial executive from Canada who has made Asia his home for more than three decades, including the past 23 years in Thailand. With his wife Kulthilda, he has raised two sons here.
Although Les has enjoyed success in a diverse array of industries including trade and investment, retirement communities, product development, event management, marketing and music, he’s probably best known in Thailand for organising some of this country’s leading golf tournaments.
With this background, Les is a veritable fountain of knowledge on what it’s like and what it takes to run a business in Thailand.
‘‘Entrepreneurs here face unique challenges, not least of which is a financial system that is weighted against non-Thais trying to build a small to medium sized business,’’ he said. ‘‘The non-Thai is generally required to run a business from cash flow, backed up by his savings.
“Most of the business people I know run their own business or run the local operation of a brand name with whom they are affiliated after their own company appeared on the radar outside Thailand.
‘‘The common denominator is that most of them started from humble beginnings and all relied on each other for support, encouragement, information, contacts, intelligence and money from time to time. There is virtually nobody that I know who has been here for a reasonable period of time that has not at some point been flat on his ass and been bailed out by friends.
“Most are willing to lend a hand because they have all been there, and it has created a unique social/business ecosystem where your reputation is all-important. You are never not working, and bad behaviour is never an option, particularly when you think nobody’s watching,’’ said Les.
Many people know him from his musical activities and he’s an avid golfer. The charity golf events he organises include Father Joe’s, Rotary Bangkok South, Raja’s Fashions and many others. Obviously, the man likes to keep busy.
‘‘I’ve been involved in a number of wonderful and peculiar activities that have kept life here for the last 23 years very interesting,’’ said Les. ‘‘However, I can say with all honesty that I owe whatever success I have had to the support of my very close friends and my family.’’