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It is amazing to see the idealistic and passionate youth of today engrossed in this growing phenomenon called social entrepreneurship. For the past eight years, as Go Negosyo pursues its passion of building a country of enterprising Filipinos, we have adopted along the way the beauty of social entrepreneurship, since we see that it is not only an enterprise for profit, but an enterprise that also helps solve a social issue, or benefits a particular underprivileged sector or community. In a way, we have treated Go Negosyo as a social enterprise that provides competency-building and mindset change for those who want to beat poverty or become successful. Like many social enterprises in the US, UK and other developed economies, many are enabler-institutions that provide training to marginalized groups, and like them we get to sustain our operations through corporate partnerships and revenues generated from paid seminars we also conduct. These revenues help us provide free seminars, mentoring fora and summits in many parts of the country.
We have also witnessed how social entrepreneurship can become more sustainable and scale up, and this is mainly through corporate social innovations where we link a social enterprise to a bigger corporation that will serve as a regular market for its product. This is what we call corporate social innovation, which in effect, encourages bigger corporations to integrate, say in its supply chain, the sourcing of materials from a particular community or cooperative, making it part of a sustainable business model. In our Selecta ice cream, we have started to develop certain farmer-communities in Davao as our regular source of ube for our ice cream. Entrepreneur awardee Jim Ayala is a good social enterprise example: he established strong links with partners to provide Hybrid Social Solutionsâ€™ solar lanterns that fuel development in remote rural communities.
Sen. Cynthia Villar has also developed several social enterprises, like the famous products from water lilies that used to clog the Las PiÃ±as river, or the coco coir that comes from a huge pile of buko waste in Las PiÃ±as. She then trains several communities to make the coco coir, which she markets initially to the Vista Land projects and other property developers.
I also remember that when we were starting with our Go Negosyo advocacy, we were doing some forums and seminars in some Gawad Kalinga communities. As we featured in previous columns, our partnership with GK has gone a long way. We often discuss with GK founder Tony Meloto that they have been very effective in providing â€œkabahayanâ€ while Go Negosyo centers on â€œkabuhayan.â€ It is good to see that somehow our paths have crossed as we now see GK increasing its involvement in developing social entrepreneurship. They have even built the GK Enchanted Farm and transformed it into the Enchanted Farm Village University, to focus on being an enabler in providing social enterprise models, training and incubation of these enterprises.
The Enchanted Farm attracts many young, energetic people who come from more privileged and well-off backgrounds and who graduated from top schools. I am sure they are drawn into the world of social entrepreneurship as it gives them a different sense of fulfillment, not limited to material benefits but more on making a difference in our society, particularly doing their share in helping the bottom of the pyramid. They share their bright business ideas for the benefit of our kababayans like the Hapinoy of now Senator Bam Aquino and Mark Ruiz, the Rags2Riches of Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, and the Human Nature of Dylan and Anna Meloto Wilk and Camille Meloto, which alleviate poverty by teaching the community how to have a sustainable and innovative livelihood. In other words, like Go Negosyo, they also empower the marginalized sector on â€œhow to fishâ€ rather than just giving them the fish.
With Bamâ€™s background in the National Youth Commission, he immediately saw the potential of Markâ€™s idea to assist the micro-entrepreneurs. The two saw the sari-sari store aggregation as a new way of solving poverty in the Philippines. That is when Hapinoy was born, to help level up and brand the common sari-sari stores of the nanays.
On the other hand, Fernandez-Ruiz and her partners, including fashion icons like Rajo Laurel and Amina Alunan-Aranaz, started Rags2Riches to support the Payatas women and upcycle tons of scrap cloth to produce fashionable and marketable bags, wallets and wine containers that command competitive prices.
The Gandang Kalikasan Inc. (Human Nature) of Anna Meloto-Wilk, with the support and help of her husband Dylan and sister Camille, proves that in having a business, entrepreneurs can be pro-poor, pro-environment, and pro-Philippines all at the same time. Their personal care products are made from Philippine raw materials being planted in GK communities.
We enjoin everyone to see, feel, and get exposed to the meaningful world of social entrepreneurship. Join us in the Social Business Summit 2013, which will start tomorrow until Oct. 5 at the Enchanted Farm Village University in Angat, Bulacan, also considered the â€œSilicon Valley of Social Entrepreneurshipâ€ in the Philippines. I will join tomorrow as a speaker together with the key convenor, GK chairman Tony Meloto, and co-convenor Senator Bam, as well as Jim Ayala and other speakers and presentors invited.
The summit will have several sessions on social entrepreneurship, its market potential, trends in Asia, and provide support services to local and foreign social entrepreneurs, internship, taxation, access to funding, labor incentives and many more. There will also be a GK Expo and Countryside Fair, a concert by top artists, tour of the Enchanted Farm Village University, cultural shows, and fashion shows.
I am very sure that it will be an inspiring and educational visit as we get to witness several social enterprise models that may be the right business for us. For instance, we can see some of the following social businesses that were incubated in the Enchanted Village, such as:
The GoldenducK salted eggs and other duck products of Mario Alvaro â€œAlvieâ€ Benitez and his team are the new face of the duck industry in the country.
Frenchman Fabien Courteille loves the Philippines and its kids so much that it pushed him to start the social enterprise Plush and Play. Their vegetable and fruit stuffed toys, which are named after Filipino icons like Manny Pakwan and Buko Martin, are meant to entertain kids, encourage them to have a healthy diet, and to see a friend in every fruit and vegetable.
Inspired by the stories of the nanays serving steaming-hot traditional brews of indigenous leaves, Ron Dizon, Xilca Alvarez-Protacio, and Shanon Khadka formed the team for Bayani Brew. They leveled up the traditional brews of the GK nanays, which, aside from being tasty, are naturally good for the health.
Philo Chua is the genius guy behind the sweet social enterprise of artisan chocolate, Theo and Philo. It is the first bean-to-bar chocolate in the Philippines that uses local cacao to make premium chocolate.
I will be having a special feature on these social businesses in my next Business Life column.
They are just some of the inspiring examples of social enterprise models that everyone can consider as we think of what good business we can get into â€” perhaps a business that does good.