In the three decades since the term was coined by Bill Drayton, founder and CEO of non-profit giant Ashoka, social entrepreneurship has swept the globe, pulling into its orbit a number of Filipino trailblazers.
“For some entrepreneurs here[in the Philippines], the attitude is, since the government isn’t doing its job properly, we’ll [try to effect social change] ourselves,” says John Xavier Francia, a fresh Management graduate from the Ateneo de Manila University and proprietor of the KliniKalusugan, a soon-to-be-launched mobile clinic that will provide medical services to marginalized communities in the country.
In his speech at last year’s Go Negosyo Youth Entrepreneurship Summit, Tommy Hutchinson, founder and CEO of global social entrepreneur network i-genius, cited research that suggested that socially oriented ventures are more honestly run.
Just as importantly, Leona Fe Edelloran, founder and chairperson of the Women for Progress of Nagpayong Multi-Purpose Cooperative (WPNMPC), a venture that creates and exports bags woven out of wicker leaves and water lily stalks, stressed that such initiatives need not come from business degree holders. “[We need to] make people aware of the fact that they could, even without higher education, be self-supporting entrepreneurs and better their lives and [those] of their families.”
For bigger firms, social enterprises could serve as a self-sustaining alternative to run-of-the-mill, charity-based corporate social responsibility programs. “Dole-outs are all well and good but an investment in a social enterprise will go a longer way,” says Mr. Francia.
As trades with a philanthropic edge gain steam, top-tier schools in the country and abroad are also starting to foster a new generation of potential changemakers who can look past the bottom line. This includes the Ateneo de Manila University School of Government (ASOG) and its annual Future Leaders of Asia Forum (FLAF) on Social Entrepreneurship and Greenwich-YLEAD training program.
Harvard Law School’s new Public Service Venture Fund, which is set to launch in 2013, will be funneling $1 million worth of grants yearly to give a running start to graduates who are entering public service or spearheading their own organization.
Many such grassroots efforts have also sprung from Ashoka-Philippines, headed by former Department of Environment and Natural Resources chief Antonio La Vina: The startups that it chooses to support not only gains access to its vast connections of social entrepreneurs, but are given a monthly living allowance for the next three years as they develop their venture.- Victoria T. Vizcarra
Raul L. Locsin Building I
95 Balete Drive Extension,
New Manila, Quezon City,
Extensions: 706, 709-711
Direct Line: (632)535-9923
Fax No.: (632)535-9925
Email: New Media Group