Alliance Pushes Social Entrepreneurship Bill

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - An alliance of farmers, workers, community enterprises, business associations and fair trade groups is pushing for the approval of a measure designed to institutionalize social entrepreneurship (SE) nationwide. "It is about time that we push for a bill that deals with poverty on a sustainable approach," Dean Tony La Vina of the Ateneo School of Government (ASOG) said during a stakeholders' meeting to launch the campaign. The participants organized the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Coalition after tackling the proposed Social Enterprise Bill that they want President Aquino to support. ASOG co-convened the PRESENT Coalition with the Foundation for a Sustainable Society (FSSI.) Social Entrepreneurship covers social mission-driven wealth creating organizations that serve the poor as primary stakeholders with at least double or triple bottom lines. Bottom lines refer to other missions, other than profits, that respond to social and ecological values that benefit society. Italy, United Kingdom and South Korea have legislated measures on SE. SE began in the US in the 1970s as a response to economic downturns and cutbacks in federal funding. On the other hand, Europe has turned to SE as a major measure in reaction to the welfare states crisis in the 1980s. "As a field of study, SE had been studied for 20 years. SE entails innovations designed to explicitly improve societal well-being," Lisa Dacanay of the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA) said. SEs in the country are comprised of about 30,000 people involved in cooperatives, community-based enterprises, microfinance institutions, small- and medium-scale industries. They range from industries that promote organic products and agriculture-based commodities like coffee, peanuts, rice, muscovado sugar and innovative products as bamboo delicacies, specially-made furnitures and handwoven products, citronella oil, geotextiles, charcoal briquettes (from coconut shells), herbal medicines and other products. …