Frank Chiu: Sustainable solutions to poverty

Rappler.com
Posted on 10/21/2013 1:09 PM  | Updated 11/25/2013 1:37 AM

Is it possible to overcome poverty in the Philippines? Social Entrepreneur Frank Chiu believes it is possible by creating social enterprises.

Frank is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm, a farm village in Bulacan that incubates agri-based social enterprises and provides livelihood for the local communities.

Frank says social entrepreneurship is a new platform for inclusive growth.

“In my generation, we only had 2 choices: First, you go corporate, which I took for the last 4 years, and second, there’s the other world called non-profit. What we’re trying to do right now is to blend the two - to learn from the two worlds and get the best from both worlds. Basically doing business the right way,” he adds.

Watch a profile video of Frank and the other finalists in the Social Entrepreneur category below.



Doing good business

Frank says GK Enchanted Farm and the social enterprises that come out of it are different from other businesses. Their main goals are to do good and trigger social change.

“It’s not just a charitable business. It should be a profitable business for the business and for the people. Doing good makes good business sense in that if you help more people, you bring them out of poverty and increase the market base. When you increase the market base, you have more buyers for your products,” he says.

Frank adds when more sales are generated, more good is done. This, he says, creates a positive cycle of profit in the community.

Inclusive growth

Frank believes everyone should be part of the solution. In GK Enchanted Farm, he brings in ‘middle entrepreneurs’ - people with the expertise and education - to work together and partner with farmers.

The entrepreneurs create new and innovative products out of the raw materials grown by farmers.

“It increases the livelihood of the farmers. It creates a business out of it and more importantly, it eventually creates a globally recognized brand. The productivity ranges from creating more income generating activities for the farmers to offering viable career options for entrepreneurs,” Frank says.

He also emphasizes the role of the youth in helping solve poverty through social enterprises.

Paradigm shift

Frank admits that the goal of Gawad Kalinga and the GK Enchanted Farm is grand in its vision. Their goal is to end poverty for 5 million Filipino families by 2024. But he believes they’ll achieve it by looking at poverty from a new perspective.

“The economic models right now say that it’s impossible to end poverty. We always challenge that. We always try to come up with innovative models. If it’s not technological innovations, we look at social innovation. How do you create more profit, create more equity for the poor?” Frank says.

His definition of doing more is pushing for change that others say is impossible.

“Doing more really is challenging the status quo. We call it learning, unlearning, and relearning. You try to learn how to really help the poor and end poverty. It’s always that cause and questioning: how do we push the envelope, how do we really end poverty here in the Philippines?” he says. - Rappler.com

Follow the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm on Twitter: @gkefarm

Get to know other finalists by clicking their names below:
Mark Ruiz Joseph Sarreal

These figures reflect the result of the public voting phase held from October 24 to November 24, 2013.

The final score for each finalist will be computed from the ff:

Public Vote - 40%
Panel Vote - 60%
Total - 100%

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