Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Comment on social enterprise in the Philippines

Social Enterprise is a growing movement worldwide that is almost unknown in the United States. It proposes a new, fourth way to solve the world's ills. Instead of a government program, a non-profit charity or a for profit business, social enterprise tries to fix social problems while operating a sustainable business.

From this commentary that we found at the Philippines' Business World, Antonio G. M. La Viña and Tieza Mica Santos state the case for social enterprise and a success story in the Philippines.

Social entrepreneurship is a model of a value-driven and innovative human activity that involves the marriage of social innovations and business and entrepreneurial skills. Social entrepreneurs address pressing social problems in sustainable and socially relevant ways and measure their success in terms of social impact rather than monetary gains. Over the years, social entrepreneurship has not received as much attention as business entrepreneurship and is not as well understood. However, more than business activities, social entrepreneurship has shown a dramatic impact on the quality of people’s lives.

Today, social entrepreneurs are emerging in many parts of the world, both in developed and developing nations. In the United Kingdom, for instance, social enterprises are emerging at a faster rate than conventional, commercial ventures. In Europe alone, more than 3.5 million jobs are provided by social enterprises, according to the 2004 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report.

Social enterprises build local capacity, thereby transforming the cultural context. By providing tools and resources to enhance productivity, social enterprises transform the economic circumstances of its members. The empowering approach gives voice to the marginalized and increases their political influence.

Many social entrepreneurs are able to think out of the box and develop strategies to address issues that others fail to see. They have a better grasp and understanding of the social context in their focus communities; that is why they are able to work with greater flexibility and resourcefulness, uninhibited by the biases, bureaucracies, and cultures that influence traditional institutions and organizations. Social entrepreneurs are challenged by difficulties, see opportunities in problems, and are able to craft policies and systems that fit the need of the social context. They are able to fashion solutions for the greater benefit of the community rather than their own. They prioritize people and the common good; they consider what is realistic, sustainable, and, most importantly, what is ethical and just.

Social Entrepreneurship in the Philippines

In the Philippines, social entrepreneurship is gaining prominent visibility in both profit and non-profit sectors. Many have shown interest in the initiative; there is now an increasing number of social enterprises emerging in the business and social development sector. There are social enterprises that are gaining profit, while at the same time serving the benefit of some communities; there are others that are purely non-profit in nature. Social enterprises in the Philippines are managed by individuals or groups of young people as well as those with an established record. All of them have seen opportunities in problems and have realized that the old systems do not offer something new to improve the human condition in the country.

Among the most prominent and successful social enterprises in the country is Gawad Kalinga (GK), which has not only transformed the communities it serves through community programs and house-building projects, but has also facilitated the creation of a Filipino society that rekindles the deteriorating values of service and love for the country and fellow Filipinos.

In fact, we have sort of fallen in love with the concept of social business. It started with reading Muhammad Yunus' book "Creating a World Without Poverty." earlier this year.

We would like to invite any of you who run or work for a social business or enterprise to guess blog here on the Poverty News Blog. If interested please leave a comment below with a way to contact you.

This is our last post before the Christmas holiday. We wish all of our readers a happy and safe one, please use the time to strengthen the bonds with your family and friends. We will post again on Boxing day!

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