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Social entrepreneurship stakeholders convene for sustainable communities
A public forum on social entrepreneurship was held at the Ching Tan Hall, Ateneo de Manila Loyola Heights campus, on May 23, 2012. The event was hosted by the Ateneo Center for Social Entrepreneurship (ACSEnt) in partnership with a multi-stakeholder group composed of the Poverty Reduction Through Social Entrepreneurship Coalition (or the PRESENT Coalition), the Philippine Social Enterprise Network (PhilSEN), the Foundation for a Sustainable Society (FSSI), World Fair Trade Organization-Asia (WFTO-Asia), and World Fair Trade Organization-Philippines. The forum focused on the theme “Building Sustainable Communities through Social Entrepreneurship.”


Government, social enterprise sector, and civil society represented


Congressman Teddy Casino, Chairman of the Small Business and Enterprise Development Committee of the House of Representatives, was the special guest of the event. Key representatives from the social enterprise sector and civil society sector actively involved in the PRESENT Coalition, including Jay Lacsamana, Executive Director of FSSI, Lu Gargarita, Executive Director of PhilSEN, and Ramona Ramos, Executive Director of WFTO-Asia were also present.

Cong. Teddy Casiño, Chairman of the Small Business and
Entrepreneurship Development Committee of the House of
Representatives, expressed his support for the SE Bill.

The forum participants were welcomed by Rodolfo P. Ang, dean of the John Gokongwei School of Management and board member of ACSEnt. Leland Joseph R. Dela Cruz, director of the Development Studies Program of the School of Social Sciences and also a board member of ACSEnt, served as the event’s moderator.

Overview of social entrepreneurship and fair trade


The first set of speakers provided a brief conceptual and historical overview of social entrepreneurship and fair trade. Lisa Dacanay, President of the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia and faculty member of the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG), gave an introductory talk on social entrepreneurship, providing an overview of the concept of and historical evolution of the sector. Virginia Sadorra, Executive Director of the Community Crafts Association of the Philippines, gave a presentation on Fair Trade and how Fair Trade and Social Entrepreneurship principles and practices complement each other in supporting communities.


The experience of being a social entrepreneur


The second set of speakers presented various social enterprise experiences. The presenters included Reese Fernandez, CEO of Rags2Riches, Richard Rejas, Executive Director of Katilingbanong Pamahandi sa Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (KPMFI), and Betty More of KATAKUS. Each of the speakers highlighted how their social enterprise empowered different marginalized communities.


Legislation on social entrepreneurship


The last set of speakers spoke about House Bill 6085, a bill on social entrepreneurship introduced by Congressman Erin Tañada. Earl Parreno, a research team member for the bill, gave a briefing on the salient provisions of the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship Act of 2012. These provisions include various incentives and access to loans for social enterprises.

Earl Parreno of the PRESENT Coalition discusses the basic provisions of the Social
Enterprise Bill.


In his remarks, Congressman Teddy Casino expressed his support for the bill which is currently being deliberated on by his committee. The committee is scheduled to hold hearings on the matter, including a public forum to be hosted by ISEA, the Ateneo School of Government, and FSSI which will be held at the Institute of Social Order on June 29, 2012.


Text by Tieza Santos, Assistant Director, Ateneo Center for Social Entrepreneurship (ACSEnt)
Photographs courtesy of ACSEnt