Wanted: Social Entrepreneurs

Today’s Philippine revolutionary left has failed because it has not captured the people’s imagination to be self-reliant, self-respecting and empowered Filipinos who can take charge of themselves.  These leftist organizations often complain about every little thing without offering a concrete alternative.  It incubates a culture of dependency and of entitlement.  It does not empower the people it vowed to serve.  It has in its own dirty ways, impoverished the poor- making the poor poorer by not giving them respect, dignity and hope.

Fortunately, social activism is now transformed to a more palatable, more positive, genuinely pro-people and pro-environment mold.  This type of activism is called Social Entrepreneurship, and the activists the social entrepreneurs

A social entrepreneur recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial (meaning game-changing, novel, innovative and sometimes risky) principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change. Whereas a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur focuses on creating social capital. The aim of social entrepreneurship is to further social and environmental goals. 

“Social entrepreneurs identify resources where people only see problems. They view the villagers as the solution, not the passive beneficiary. They begin with the assumption of competence and unleash resources in the communities they’re serving.”

David Bornstein, author of How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas

If you believe you can make a difference in this world, then maybe social entrepreneuership is the way to go.  There are many ways to boost your social entreprenurial spirit and here is a shortlist of organizations that I currently find useful and interesting:

1. Foundation for Youth Social Entreprenuership.  FYSE hosts the Social Venture Academy, an international bootcamp on social entreprenuership that focuses on Asia.    Asian Social Venture Academy recruits the 200 brightest and most daring young leaders (ages 20-35 years old) from around Asia and globally to work alongside social entrepreneurs on their challenges and ventures during a powerful four-day social entrepreneurship education program.  This event will happen in Hongkong on 19-22 May 2011.  Registration fee is USD 350 not including meals and accommodation.  Deadline for application is on 15 February 2011.  If you find the registration fee prohibitive, then tap on your entreprenurial skills to raise the fund.  Here is a helpful link that can help you get started.  Remember:  social entrepreneurs do not believe in free lunch.  We need to earn our keep and not depend on dole outs or entitlements.

2.  Students In Free Enterprise.  SIFE is an international non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders.  It hosts the annual SIFE World Cup where SIFE teams from all over the world shares their project’s impact to their communities.  This year’s SIFE World Cup will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 3-5 October 2011.  If you are a student, a teacher or an entrepreneur and you want to work with your community, visit Pilipinas SIFE and learn how you can get involved.

3.  Lastly, I just signed up  for the 2011 Social Entrepreneur Empowerment Series. It has a fantastic lineup of bestselling authors, visionary leaders and conscious business experts, all sharing their key insights for FREE.  Their mission is to inspire and empower at least 20,000 social entrepreneurs with the mindset shifts and tangible business skills needed to make a truly remarkable positive impact in the world.

Honored

The Philippine Business for Social Progress – Enterprise Development Group held last Tuesday a forum  for SMEs (that’s small, micro and medium enterprises) on how to make their business operations more eco-friendly.  The same event also honored PBSP’s Volunteer Advisors (VA) under its Business Advisory Program.  I have been a VA for PBSP for some time already, making myself available for small enterprises that need support in the areas of Service Marketing, Customer Service,  Business Planning and Strategic Management.

As an aside, and for you to better appreciate why SMEs are important to the national economy, read today’s A View From Taft column in BusinessWorld written by Aida Velasco of DLSU.  In summary, “SMEs comprise more than 96.6% of all registered establishments in the Philippines (NSO, 2002). Ninety percent of business establishments are micro industries, and 59% are engaged in wholesale and retail businesses. Only 2,984 or 0.4% are classified as big businesss, and 43% are in the manufacturing sector”.  This figure alone tells us that the SMEs are the real engine of commerce, supplying big business and houselholds alike and employing a large number of people at the same time.  Unfortunately, the SMEs are also the least supported sector.  They lack skills, technical know how and capital among many other support mechanisms.

I am sharing below the speech I gave that afternoon, as a response to the recognition PBSP conferred to its volunteer advisors.  Taking inspiration from President Noynoy Aquino’s inaugural speech and SONA, I also prepared my speech in Filipino.  Here you go:

Bagsik ni Ondoy, Tapang ng mga VA, Tibay ng PBSP, at Syempre, Tagumpay ng mga Maliit na Namumunuhan

Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

Buong galak po naming tinatanggap ang karangalan na iginawad sa amin ngayon ng PBSP.  Sa ngalan ng mga kasamahan kong VA, maraming salamat po.

Noong una kong tinagpo ang mga kababaihan ng Women for Progress of Nagpayong Multi Purpose Cooperative (see previos post) para sa isang strategic planning session sa Intramuros, malakas na ang ulan noon.  Medyo nahuli sila ng dating kasi bumaha na sa ibang parte ng Kamaynilaan, at mahirap na din humanap ng masakyan patungong Manila.

Pagkaraan ng ilang linggo, para naman sa aming follow up session, nakatakda kaming magkita sa kanilang lugar sa Nagpayong, Pasig.  Lingid sa aming kaalaman, iyong araw na din yon pala ang nakatakdang pagdating ng mabagsik na si Ondoy.

Syempre pa, na-stranded kami sa daan- ako, si Weng at si Edwin ng PBSP.  Bago pa man lang kami makarating sa Nagpayong, nakatanggap na kami ng tawag mula sa coop na nagsabing huwag na kaming tumuloy.  Hanggang bewang na po daw ang tubig.  Kaya naman bigla din kaming nag U-turn.  Madami na kasi kaming nadaanang mga kalsada na lubog na sa baha.  Madami na din kaming alternate routes na sinubukan.  Nakikinig man kami sa radio noong mga panahon na iyon, pursigido pa din kaming makarating.  Sige lang…sabi namin…makakarating din tayo.

Hindi po kami nakarating sa Nagpayong.  Na-stranded kami sa kalye.  Naghanap ng malulusutang daan na hindi pa lumulubog.  Naipit sa trapik ng mga sasakyang ilang oras na ding nakatigil sa daan.  Hatinggabi na kami nakauwi, sina Weng inumaga na.

Si Ondoy ay matagal pa bago natin makalimutan.  Mas matagal sa apat na linggong pamamalagi ng bahang dulot ni Ondoy sa mga naninirahan sa Pasig.  Mas matagal kaysa sa mahigit 8 oras na walang tigil na pag ulan noong araw na iyon.  Mas matagal pa sa mga madilim at mahabang sandali ng paghihintay ng tulong habang natatakot at nangangamba ang mga nasalanta ng bagyo.

Sa tagal ng pananatili ng alaala ni Ondoy sa ating mga kamalayan, gamitin din natin ang panahong yan sa pagsisikap na maintindihan kung bakit may mga Ondoy o unos o bagyo sa ating buhay.

–         May bagyo para gisingin ang natutulog nating kakayahan para makilahok sa paghugis ng ating lipunan.  Di ba, madami ang nag volunteer, naki-alam, tumulong, nagpaka-bayani?

–         May bagyo para sabihin sa atin ng kalikasan na hindi na nya kayang buhatin pa ang mabigat nating mga basura at pagsasawalang bahala sa ating kapaligiran.  Kaya naman, ibinalik ng kalikasan ang mga basura natin…sa loob mismo ng ating mga tahanan.

–         May bagyo at pagbaha para mamulat tayo sa ating mga angking kakayahan, at upang lubos na maunawaan ang kahalagahan ng pagiging responsableng mamamayan.

–         May bagyo para tayo ay matuto.

Ang bagyo, tunay man o metapora sa mga suliranin sa buhay, ay kasangkapan lamang upang ipaalam sa atin ang mga kelangan nating malaman o matagal nang alam pero tila ay binabalewala. 

–         Na lahat tayo ay may angking kakayahang tumulong sa kapwa.  Kelangan lamang ay panatilihing buhay ang ispirit ng boluntarismo at pakikilahok – bilang propesyonal, bilang negosyante, bilang isang mamamayan. Lahat tayo ay humuhugis sa ating lipunan; nagpapanday sa ating kinabukasan.  Walang sisihan.  Pero wala din dapat lamangan. 

 –         Na lahat tayo ay may pananagutan sa kalikasan.  Kaya dapat tamang sakto lang ang paggamit sa enerhiya, tubig, kahoy, gasolina, papel, hangin, bakal at iba pang likas na yaman. 

 –         Na hindi na natin kelangan ng isa pang bagyo para alamin ulit ang aralin o lessons sa mga sakunang pwede naman talagang maiwasan.

Ganyan din sa buhay mangangalakal o negosyante o namumuhunan di ba?  Kelangan tapat sa mga suki at mamimili; kelangan responsable sa mga kalat o basura at gumagamit ng mga materyales na angkop at hindi nakakasakit sa kalikasan o sa lipunan.

Sa mga VA, ito ay hamon din para sa atin na rumisponde hindi lamang sa mga oras ng kagipitan.  Mas makatutulong tayo kung maging instrumento tayo ng wastong pagnenegosyo – handa, tapat, malinis at may silbi sa kapwa. 

Bilang pagtatapos, maraming salamat sa PBSP sa mga pagkakataong ibinigay nyo sa amin upang maging kapaki-pakinabang.  Sana ay madami pa tayong matutulungan.

Tag ulan na ulit.  Madalas na naman ang bagyo at ang pagbaha.  Sana ngayon ay mas handa na tayo.  Maraming salamat po.

Interested to volunteer as Business Advisor?  Click here.

Doing Nothing Can Save the Day

Five days to go before the term of our elected officials comes to an end.  No other place in the Philippines is under a heart-stopping suspense drama than South Cotabato.  No other elected official in today’s government, GMA included, is as anxious to end her term as Governor Daisy P. Avance-Fuentes.

South Cotabato has turned into a real life Pandora of the James Cameron film Avatar.  Only that, in this local version, the Na’vi are not in conflict with RDA Corporation.  As a matter of fact, the B’laans and other IPs in South Cotabato are solidly behind the mining project of Sagittarius Mines Inc.

So who are the bida in this local teleserye?

At the centerstage of course is the dear governor, whose hands hold the power of the pen which can make or break the June 9 passage into ordinance of the South Cotabato Environment Code by the provincial legislators.  Voting 9-1-2 (yes-no-abstain in that order), the provincial board members now awaits the governor’s signature to make the Environment Code a legitimate piece of legislation.

The governor of course can veto the Code, and send it back to SP for their ratification.  Once vetoed by the governor, the law directs the SP to ratify the ordinance by a majority vote, in effect overturning the veto power of the governor.  Such is the beauty of our representative democracy!

Whatever the governor chooses to do, she will surely be embroiled in a bigger and certainly, noisier controversy.  If she enacts the Code into law, she will get the ire of the national government officials and agencies for allowing the local legislators to trample upon an otherwise clear delineation of powers between and among the branches/ instrumentalities of governmnent.  

The most contested part of the Code is Section 22 where open pit mining method is banned in the province contrary to several national laws, chief of which is the Mining Act of 1995.   

Of course, big business and foreign governments will also be terribly disappointed.  The government has spent several million of Filipino taxpayer’s money to attract investors to do business in the Philippines, only to be messed up with such an inter-government fiasco.

Local residents and the Blaans, who have started started to experience commercial activities in their otherwise sleepy town will also be enraged for taking away from them a host of potential and the opportunity to improve their lot.

If however the governor chooses to veto the Code, she will get the wrath of a Catholic church scorned.  By Catholic church, this is mostly the  powerful clergy who relishes to display their power to command the students and teachers of their expensive schools to cut classes and mount a rally…else, get detained after class, get low grades or simply and the most convenient threat:  get burned in hell.

A friendly advice to the governor:  DO NOTHING.

Doing nothing is also a decision, and a less troublesome one.  We must remember that public policy is government’s action or inaction- whatever governments choose to do or not do (Read Thomas Dye, 1984).   In this context, doing nothing is bliss.

Macau and Me

It took me long to write about my trip to Macau.  Let us just say that I am still in shock of what I have seen there.  This state of denial might last longer so what better way to recover but to spill the beans, right here, right now.  Let the catharsis begin.

Macau is a special province of China, bestowed with autonomy in governance not seen in the mainland but almost similar with what Hong Kong enjoys.  Macau was the first and last European colony in China.  Portugal handed over Macau to the People’s Republic of China in 1999, with an understanding that Macau’s autonomy will be in full force for the next 50 years.

Macau has a total land area of 28.2 square kilometers, it is essentially urban; an area of land reclaimed from the sea measuring 5.2 sq km and known as Cotai now connects the islands of Coloane and Taipa; the island area is connected to the mainland peninsula by three bridges.  Population is at 559,846 as of July 2009, unemployment rate of 3%, $0 external debt, and in 2008, it posted the highest GDP growth rate in the world at 15%.  Macau is generally a service economy with 97.1% of its GDP comes from the services sector- hotels, restaurants, tourism, and gambling.

And gambling!  Macau has a long history of gambling operations.  In fact, it has been always said that it was the Macanese who first operated the gambling dens in the Philippines during 1970s.  In year 2001, the Macau government opened up its gaming industry to foreign operators or licensees that also ended up the monopoly long enjoyed by the gambling tycoon Stanley Ho.  By year 2006, gaming revenue in Macau surpassed that of Las Vegas.  At the same year, 75% of total government revenue can be attributed to gaming-related business.  If that was not fast track development, then what is it?  Knowing all these will knock your socks off.  Seeing all those things that happened and still happening in Macau, will get you into great depression.

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How come Macau successfully transformed itself so fast, so right?  How come our own version of Cotai Strip, the PAGCOR City, or Theme Park Manila or the Bagong Nayong Pilipino or its much-recent reincarnation, the Bagong Nayong Pilipino Manila Bay Integrated City is taking so much time to come into fruition?  If urban legend is to be believed, the idea to develop an integrated resort-casino along the Manila Bay was first brought up way back in the 1990s.  

Here’s the rub:  by end of 2009, one of Singapore’s two integrated resort-casinos will start operating.  By 2010, both Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World at Sentosa  would become the most favored tourist destination in Asia.  Believe it or not, the Singapore government only opened to the idea of hosting a casino-resort development some few years ago.  In December 2004, it called for a request-for-concept and accepted 19 bids from industry players.  Only two concepts were approved for implementation.    

From a strategic perspective, Singapore’s opening will totally wipe out any first-in-the-industry advantage that Philippine casinos has so much enjoyed but has also taken for granted.  A few years from now, Vietnam and Taiwan would be joining the ranks of Macau and Singapore in gaming-tourism development.  Where will the Philippines be?

Idea Camp Davao

Amidst the cynism and intellectual laziness that seemingly dominate  our generation today,  there are a few things that, thankfully, can still give us space for a refreshing mental masturbation, allowing us to explore the unimagined and create solutions to problems not yet known by ordinary mortals.  One of these few things is the Idea Camp Davao:  the unconference for people who want to make a differenceposter-20090811I am in no way connected to, or friends with the people who are behind this revolutionary initiative.  At least not yet.  But I am an avid observer and a silent supporter, ever since I’ve learned of their first Idea Camp few months ago.  

If I were based in Davao, this event would surely be a never-to-be-missed day on my calendar.  For those who are in Davao City, or nearby provinces, why not pitch a tent to this camp of ideas?  It could be the right orgasmic experience for you- intellectually speaking.

Taking the MBA Oath

Today’s Pinoy Kasi column of Michael Tan in the Philippine Daily Inquirer discussed a viral contagion of another kind:  the pursuit of ethical conduct in managing a business.  In simpler terms, management professionals particularly MBA graduates want to transform the field of management into a true profession, one in which MBAs are respected for their integrity, professionalism, and leadership.

The MBA Oath initiative was started by Harvard Business School’s graduating class of 2009.  The students asked why should not MBA graduates be similarly bounded by a professional code of conduct like the lawyers and medical doctors.  To them, more than maximizing shareholder’s value, the business leader-manager should also be concerned about the general welfare of the people by doing good business the right way. 

The initiative drew more supporters than the graduating students earlier expected.  From 100 of their classmates as the initial target, there are now more than 1,200 MBA graduates from around the world who took and signed the oath on-line.  In fact, the oath itself has now been translated to Spanish and German versions.  I’m thinking of doing the Filipino version soon!

When Michael Tan mentioned in his article that he has seen no one from a Philippine business school signed the oath yet, I immediately checked the MBA oath website and became the first Filipino to do so.  (Although I am not sure of this because the list only indicates the school graduated from and not the nationality).

Here’s the full text (short version) of the MBA Oath for your reading pleasure.  After reading the text myself, I felt that there is much that managers and leaders can do to make our world a better place. 

When will our public managers replicate this initiative?

THE MBA OATH

 As a manager, my purpose is to serve the greater good by bringing people and resources together to create value that no single individual can create alone. Therefore I will seek a course that enhances the value my enterprise can create for society over the long term. I recognize my decisions can have far-reaching consequences that affect the well-being of individuals inside and outside my enterprise, today and in the future. As I reconcile the interests of different constituencies, I will face choices that are not easy for me and others.

Therefore I promise:

  • I will act with utmost integrity and pursue my work in an ethical manner.
  • I will safeguard the interests of my shareholders, co-workers, customers and the society in which we operate.
  • I will manage my enterprise in good faith, guarding against decisions and behavior that advance my own narrow ambitions but harm the enterprise and the societies it serves.
  • I will understand and uphold, both in letter and in spirit, the laws and contracts governing my own conduct and that of my enterprise.
  • I will take responsibility for my actions, and I will represent the performance and risks of my enterprise accurately and honestly.
  • I will develop both myself and other managers under my supervision so that the profession continues to grow and contribute to the well-being of society.
  • I will strive to create sustainable economic, social, and environmental prosperity worldwide.
  • I will be accountable to my peers and they will be accountable to me for living by this oath.

This oath I make freely, and upon my honor.

r u E S or B I?

I’ve been reading a lot of Robert Kiyosaki these days and I feel enlightened. Like a child in his first Aha! moment, I was surprised by the profundity and power of this book and at the same time, annoyed at myself for not having read Kiyosaki’s books sooner.

51ohfre8lgl__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa240_sh20_ou01_1I spent almost four years in B-school but not one of my professors there ever mentioned or made Kiyosaki a required reading.  In fact, these types of books were classified as self-help and students were told to shy away from, like the plague, because self-helps, we were told, are just commercial ploys intended to capture the single-minded non-readers.

They were right about the single-minds but wrong about Kiyosaki.

The book’s power lies in its simplicity, honesty, matter-of-fact discussions, and use of stories, or allegories to drive home a point.  I was not at all bothered by those who criticizes Kiyosaki for the seemingly fictional characterization of his Rich Dad (no one can locate him and Kiyosaki is mum about his whereabouts) because, I guess the use of Rich Dad is a literally license.

Rich Dad Poor Dad, like his other books, is for those who want to be wealthy.  The first step to creating wealth is to find out where you are right now.  Kiyosaki thus introduces the Cashflow Quadrants:  the E for employment, S for small business and self-employment, B for big business and I for investments. 

He said that most people were/ are educated to become good employees who pay their taxes religiously (since income taxes are automatically deducted in company’s payroll), and eventually retire upon reaching the age of 65, hoping that their pension plans can pay for their lifestyle after retirement.  People in this quadrant are POOR.

The other poor people are those who have small businesses, the kind where owner is also the sole employee.  Poor people have one thing in common:  they lack passive income and they thrive in fear (fear of losing their jobs, fear of investing their money).

The other two quadrants are where the rich people are:  big business owners and investors.  Rich people are risk takers because they understand what they are doing.  They are not only educated in the traditional school sense but they have, most importantly invested much time in their financial education.  While poor people work for money, rich people let their money work for them. 

Unfortunately, our formal education system does not teach us these things.  Is there a grand conspiracy somewhere to make people stay poor?  I won’t allow myself to be a victim of that. In fact, I have given up my Saturday mornings for my financial education.  I’ve been attending the Cashflow games in Ortigas Center organized by the Create Abundance 2020 Business Community Continue reading