We’re pleased to announce our pilot Immersion Programme in the Philippines is open for applications.

#JoinUs in June to volunteer with social impact organisations who are aiming to tackle core social issues through food, crafts, education, health, eco tourism, and agriculture.

We’re looking for 6 adventurous career changers or career breakers who want to take six weeks out their life to help us launch the Immersion Programme in the incredibly beautiful but still socially developing Philippines.

A survey taken in 2007 established that there were 30,000 social enterprises in the country, a huge number for which the majority were cooperative or associations of some form. Few of these operate at scale, though there are some notable exceptions.

The Philippines is therefore exciting for social enterprise – it already models how a “revolution” can take place through their poverty eradication bill, which is being established to alleviate poverty through social entrepreneurship. Their idea is “to work with social enterprises” to accomplish the Millennium Development Goals.

PRESENT bill is designed to make Social Enterprises much more viable than before – it is still in negotiation but if passed will significantly improve the climate.

Chose Social lists over 80 social enterprises in the Philippines. It’s founders Gelaine Santiago and Jerome Gagnon – Voyer, both live in Canada, but she is of Filipino decent. The site also has a shop selling Filipino goods.

Maria Angela Flores, who leads the British Council’s social enterprise programme in the Philippines, said, “it seems that the overwhelming majority of formal social enterprises in the country are product or commodity-based. This suggests that there are vast opportunities for social entrepreneurs to address unmet demand by moving into new sectors such as health and education.”

Barriers to social enterprise development

Few social enterprises are sufficiently large or scalable to absorb significant amounts of capital, and they struggle to reach minimum investor thresholds. The geography of the Philippines creates particular problems for achieving economies of scale to attract finance and for replicating and scaling success.

Moreover, there is a skills gap in terms of knowledge of the commercial side of social enterprise operations – business development and management, accounting and legal and fiscal processes as well as marketing, logistics and distribution.

Examples of social enterprises and key players

  • Hapinoy: develops a network of micro retailers in the Philippines through a holistic program of micro financing, training, market access and support. ASEI managed the Hapinoy Botika Project, introducing OTC medicine to the 3,000 Hapinoy Stores.
  • Mark Ruiz: The corporate sector was where this young social entrepreneur first started, working his way up in a multinational company to be part of the senior management only to leave it all behind to be his own boss. Armed with a degree from Ateneo de Manila and the passion to contribute, Mark started Hapinoy, a social business enterprise focused on microenterprise development. A portmanteau of the words ‘happy’ and ‘Pinoy’, the organisation strives to create prosperity in communities by setting up ‘sari-sari’ or small neighbourhood convenience stores in local homes to be run by homemakers in Philippines. Empowering women throughout the country, Hapinoy also teaches them the basics of micro financing.
  • Rags to Riches: Sells artisan produces from Filipino women
  • Bambike: Sells bamboo framed bicycles and accessories.

APPLY HERE – First round applications deadline 28th February. Places will go on a first come first serve basis to suitable applicants. Programme Fee £1680.00. More information can be found on our website.