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Last week, the new UK Ambassador Asif Ahmad hosted the Go Negosyo community of entrepreneurs at his residence to launch the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). It is a joint project between the UK embassy and the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship â€“ Go Negosyo. GEW, which will take place around the third week of November, seeks to celebrate and promote entrepreneurship in the world (now over 120 countries), by encouraging more activities that help entrepreneurs such as fora, training, mentorship, expos. We have partnered with leading institutions like Philippine Franchise Association(PFA) headed by Samie Lim, Robert Trota, Yvette Pardo Orbeta and Bing Limjoco; the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc.(AFFI) headed by Butz Bartolome, Tess Ngan Tian, Tix Laurel and Richie Cuna. Actually, to me hundreds of business models can fall under the inclusive business model via franchising and distribution as well as sourcing of their key raw materials.
In his talk during the GEW launch, Ambassador Ahmad quoted me saying that entrepreneurship is key to solving poverty. I mentioned to him that it is a privilege that the British embassy chose us as their partner in the first GEW celebration in our country, as we share a common goal in promoting entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurship knowhow, as the greatest equalizer in fighting poverty. I mentioned that our corporate partners all these years like the PLDT SME Nation which has launched the Bossing Search, has helped create the awareness by recognizing the inspiring entrepreneurs as the new icons. Promoting entrepreneur ambassadors is also being done by Smart, Meralco, BPI Family, LBC, RFM and DHL have likewise adopted entrepreneurship development as their key advocacies. We continue to get support from the entrepreneursâ€™ community, as their way of giving their share to help change the lives of many Filipinos.
A number of entrepreneurs also have started moving towards corporate social innovation by moving their business towards Inclusive Businesses (IB). What do we mean by this. We recently met Markus Dietrich, co-founder and director of Asian Social Enterprise Incubator (ASEI). He is a German consultant based in the country who is very much involved in research works on IB, and his research actually confirmed that there is an increasing awareness and effort to transform the operations of many companies into an IB. Marcus sees that there is growing awareness on the benefits of IB operations in our society, and more importantly, companies have realized that integrating a socially-oriented activity in their supply chain, like the sourcing of ube from a number of farmer cooperatives in Davao for our Selecta Ube ice cream, or chicken production from organized chicken growers to supply the chicken of Bounty fresh of Tennyson Chen, or groups of onion farmers supplying Jollibee requirement, or even Henry Lim Bon Liongâ€™s SL Agritech supplying hybrid rice seeds to farmers to increase the yields, can all be mutually beneficial to both the farmers and the big companies. What is happening is that these operations are done in big volume benefitting a bigger number of beneficiaries.
We are excited about our involvement in this emerging field as we intend to raise awareness and hopefully greater involvement of bigger companies to transform into IBâ€™s. It is also highly possible that many companies are already doing an IB but they probably have not yet recognized that they are one, simply because it is still an emerging trend. Another example is Ben Luison of Generics who has created over 1,600 stores owned by different people selling generic drugs at much lower cost that benefit the mass-based communities. Puregold owner Lucio Co and its president Leonardo Dayao created Aling Puring to help sari sari stores. Go Negosyo is now working with them on how to scale up the micro businesses to help more stores grow. Hapee toothpaste of Cecilio Pedro is another story of an inclusive business and Dylan Wilk of Human Nature who both include marginalized sectors and communities as part of their business models, either as suppliers or workers.
The efforts of many social entrepreneurs like Mark Ruiz and Sen. Bam Aquino of Hapinoy, Reese Fernandez of R2R, Jim Ayala of Solar lights, Nanette Po of Hope bottled water, Illac Diaz for innovative lightings and construction materials, Chit Juan for coffee farming and Echostore fair trade have somehow trail blazed this social Negosyo models. Many have scaled up but some are still in the process of scaling-up. But it is the heart and passion of these social entrepreneurs that inspired many to integrate socially-oriented activities in their business models. It would be great if big businesses start looking on how they can move into an inclusive business and bring into the fold of its existing eco system the many social entrepreneurs so they can push the movement faster. This makes it a more sustainable socially-oriented system that becomes mutually beneficial to stakeholders while helping improve the lives in many communities. In a way, it is like helping people help themselves when a big business integrates marginalized groups as part of its business models or value chain.
Those who find interest on Inclusive Business are welcome to join us on Dec. 2 as we mount the first Go Negosyo Inclusive Forum. We have partnered with Marcus as our program advisor and he will help us moderate the discussions in the forum. This Forum shall be part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week and we have invited the prime players in IB, from different industries to share their best practices within their respective ecosystems as suppliers, distributors, and customers. We have also invited Senator Bam Aquino, who has been a leading proponent of social entrepreneurship.
Transforming into an IB will definitely make our Negosyo journey more meaningful. Lets talk more about this and create more activities that will encourage the development of IBs in the country to benefit many more Filipino stakeholders.