Sinag Business Challenge: Giving The Spotlight To Social Entrepreneurs

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Sinag Business Challenge: Giving The Spotlight To Social Entrepreneurs

 

When I started making this blog, I asked myself “why am I blogging for HIV and LGBT?” Little did I know that such question will be my anchor to keep me focused on my advocacy and to strive harder to make an impact. Conversely, the “why” part of doing things is also the same reason why social enterprises stay and will have more than just profit, impact.

 

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Carlo Delantar, serial and social entrepreneur and co-founder of Altum and Waves4Water, giving inspiration to the social entrepreneurs in Pampanga.

 

 

I always hear the term “social enterprise” but I always have the difficulty of fully understanding it. Fortunately, I met with some of the social entrepreneurs and learned from them first-hand information about their own social enterprise. With the BPI Sinag Business Challenge with PEF (Peace And Equity Foundation) in collaboration with Impact Hub Manila, social entrepreneurs from North Luzon were able to pitch their social enterprise and even give ideas to those would-be social enterpreneurs on what they can do on their own.

 

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According to PEF, a social enterprise is a business with a social mission. This has been supported with how BPI Sinag defines social enterprise as a business that is driven by a social mission or a purpose. The mission may be economic, social, cultural or environmental. In many instances, the mission and the business are fused inextricably. And in Pampanga alone, for the Northern Luzon search for the said competition, I have seen that there are plenty of social enterprises that are thriving and striving to fully realize their social mission and at the same time to earn as a business.

 

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Representative from PEF discussing the guidelines for BPI Sinag Business Challenge.

 

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Representative from BPI discussing what they’re looking for a social entreprise and how BPI can help them.

 

Of all the SMEs vying to be part of Sinag Accelerate, there are two social entrepreneurs who caught my attention. And here are their stories.

 

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Soft opening of Negosyo Center Pampanga with DTI Regional Director Judith Angles (left) and board member Tonton Torres (right).

 

During the soft opening of Salilungan’s GoNegosyo, I already noticed this graceful lady with a unusual paper bag which I mistook to a bag. But when she introduced herself, I was even more amazed that the paper bag was made up of water lilies and she employs housewives to help them earn for their families.

 

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Ms. Gloria Pamorada Millare with her bag made up of water lilies.

 

She is Ms. Gloria Pamorada Millare, owner of Fernandina Water Lily Handicraft. As a social entrepreneur, she made use of the availability of water lilies for the products that she is selling. She believes that the abundance of water lilies can help for it to be used into better things like bags and belts. More so, being a public official opened her eyes to the needs of her people especially housewives in earning extra money for their family’s needs.

 

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Bag made from water lilies. (Fernandina Water Lily Handicraft//09077645880)

 

One of the best things about the handicrafts that she makes like paper bags is that it can withstand wears and tears in the long run. Thus, unlike the usual paper bags that we are used to using everyday, the water lily bag can last for up to a year. And yes, they are also eliminating the need in cutting more trees to make usual paper products like paper bags and in turn save the environment by using other alternatives like water lilies. Hence, making it eco-friendly.

 

On the other hand, my heart was more than touched with another social entrepreneur’s story behind her enterprise, the water bonsai. Ms. Benilda Alafriz, with her Ugat Water Bonsai, makes use of the “aquaponics” to her social enterprise.

 

Aquaponics refers to any system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity. In a aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by Nitrifying bacteria into nitrates and nitrites, which are utilized by the plants as nutrients, and the water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system.

–  Wikipedia

 

The idea came into mind when she attended a seminar about aquaponics and made it into a business. As a social enterprise, she employs Deadf and Mute students together with her son as one of them. As a mother of a Deaf and Mute, she believes that these people are indeed talented and they can offer more not by speaking but making things that can speak more on their behalf.

 

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Ms. Alafriz with her water bonsai. (09208822382)

 

Through this project, as well, Ms. Alafriz aims to give a voice to the all the PWDs especially for the Deaf and Mute community that more laws must be passed on. She reiterated that most of the benefits for PWDs in the Philippines are only for short term only.

 

In addition, Ms. Alafriz is now helping 2 schools for children with special needs with her social enterprise. And she is still thinking of more ways to help more and to tap government officials to help in her advocacy.

 

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Some of the SMEs and the people behind Sinag Business Challenge.

 

Indeed, all have the capacity to do things to make the Philippines a better place to live in and be in. And we all can take part in nation building with the social mission that is closest to our heart. Obviously, we can still do more things in a world that has still plenty of things to be done. Now ask yourself why are you doing the things you are currently doing right now and you are half way there.

 

For the photo coverage, click here.

 

If you are a social entrepreneur and would like to follow their footsteps, then application for BPI Sinag Business Challenge 2016 has been extended. You may now send your application until July 15, 2016. Click here.

 

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Sinag Business Challenge: Giving The Spotlight To Social Entrepreneurs

Joemar Belleza
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Joemar Belleza

Blogger-In-Chief at Bakla Po Ako, Confirmed!
Joemar is the Blogger-In-Chief of BaklaPoAko.Com. He is currently a graduate student in University of the Philippines Open University. He also studied at Maquillage Professionnel School of Makeup Artistry and School of Fashion and the Arts (SoFA). He is a bold advocate of education, environment and LGBT issues. An earner, dreamer and a lover. Before he was once a dream-sprouting seed. Now he's a tree in his renaissance and will always be evergreen. Hear him speak with his intelligent guide for gay news of the Philippines and worldwide, Bakla Po Ako. Confirmed!.Follow him on Twitter @belleza_joemar. Gay it forward!
Joemar Belleza
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About Joemar Belleza 313 Articles
Joemar is the Blogger-In-Chief of BaklaPoAko.Com. He is currently a graduate student in University of the Philippines Open University. He also studied at Maquillage Professionnel School of Makeup Artistry and School of Fashion and the Arts (SoFA). He is a bold advocate of education, environment and LGBT issues. An earner, dreamer and a lover. Before he was once a dream-sprouting seed. Now he's a tree in his renaissance and will always be evergreen. Hear him speak with his intelligent guide for gay news of the Philippines and worldwide, Bakla Po Ako. Confirmed!. Follow him on Twitter @belleza_joemar. Gay it forward!

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