ImpactXchange: Lessons from Pinoy social entrepreneurs

Alisa Delos Reyes
How can people transform advocacies and passions into concrete solutions? These Filipino social entrepreneurs share their experiences and stories.

INNOVATIVE. Social entrepreneurs across the Philippines come together to share their the passion behind each project. All photos from AJ Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines – How can social enteprises and business startups help solve the problems of Philippine society? How can people transform advocacies and passions into concrete solutions?

Sharing their experiences, advocacies and passions, Filipino social entrepreneurs on Friday, August 1, came together to discuss an array of social issues in the first ever ImpactXchange event in Makati City.

Social entrepreneurs discussed various topics such as environmental and socially responsible travel, the provision of psychosocial services for chronically ill children, and how to pull off crowd funding in the Philippines, among others. Each shared what sparked their passion for their work, and how the people and communities that they serve ultimately sustain this passion.

‘Innovative’

Paul Rivera, founder and CEO of Kalibrr, shared how his focus shifted from business process outsourcing to the creation of an online assessment tool for companies to use during the hiring process. Paul described his time as a recruiter for a call center that he had brought to the Philippines, “I would look at hundreds of résumés and they all looked the same.”

What shocked Rivera was how unprepared these applicants were to join the work force, despite their completion of a college degree. Some could only type 25 words per minute, some did not know how to write a professional e-mail, and some even struggled to communicate effectively in English. He recalled how many of these interviews ended in tears. He added that most applicants were fresh college graduates who felt defeated by the reality that their parents had spent a substantial amount of money on their education, only to find that 4 years of college did not prepare them to work in a call center. 

In response to these experiences, Paul and his team created an online tool to assess the exact skills needed to work in a given company; for instance, Facebook. This assessment tool is available online for free to individual users but is most commonly used by companies in place of a résumé.

Kalibrr also provides the Department of Education (DepEd) a unique means to reassess what both college and high school students should be learning to prepare them to work.

Many of the featured entrepreneurs had stories similar to Paul’s – they identified a need and sought to correct it in an innovative way.

Social entrepreneurs

Smarter Good hopes to make ImpactXchange a regular occurrence. It is an event recommended for people who are looking to get connected with other entrepreneurs or those that might be interested in starting their own projects.

Featured entrepreneurs included: Route +63, EF Café, Kaibrr, Spark Project, Kythe Foundation Inc., Youth at Venture, JoomaJam!, Kalayaan COED, Teach for the Philippines, and Good Food Co.

Below is a list of the featured social entrepreneurs, a brief description of their work, and a link to their website:

Route+63

Cheryl Si, Founder and CEO 

Promotes the Philippines and local initiatives through sustainable tourism by offering unique travel packages, such as the “Coastal Clean Up Day” in Anliao.
Enchanted Farm Cafe Nicolas Durand, Founder Serves as a healthy alternative to fast food options. They serve burgers that are 80% organic vegetables and 20% beef. All the produce comes from the Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan (a Gawad Kalinga site), creating a market for those living on and tending this farm.  The restaurant is located at 462 Unit 2A, Commonwealth Ave, Quezon City.
Spark Project Patch Dulay, Founder and CEO An online space to crowdfund innovative and passion-driven projects in the Philippines.
KYTHE Foundation, Inc. Maria Fatima Garcia-Lorenzo, Executive Director Kythe provides psychosocial and financial support to children facing chronic illness and their families in hospitals. Kythe is present in 13 hospitals, benefiting over 8,000 children.
Youth At Venture Erika Clavido, Executive Director Gives struggling out-of-school youth the opportunity to become social entrepreneurs through training and loan programs.
JoomaJam! Coco, Castro, Founder A compilation of educational children’s music written and produced by local artists. It’s available for free to public school students, and can be purchased online.
Kalayan COED Mark Lawrence Cruz, Head of Research and Programs Department A GK Kalayaan Village that started in 2005 to assist typhoon victims in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija. It has then expanded to a program ensuring that students complete a high school education.
Teach for the Philippines Clarissa Delgado, Co-Founder Recruits fresh graduates to serve as 2-year teaching fellows in public schools across Metro Manila.
Good Food Co. Charlene Tan, Founder Allows consumers to pay for farm operations up-front and in return, they receive fresh and organic produce on a regular basis. This also ensures that farmers receive a steady income throughout the year.

ImpactXchange also celebrated the second anniversary of the organizer Smarter Good.

Smarter Good is a social enterprise that provides program and administrative services for social entrepreneur-led non-profit organizations and non-governmental agencies based in the United States. They give entrepreneurs the opportunity to focus on their ideas and vision, while they handle tasks such as scaling, accounting, and grant writing. – Rappler.com

Alisa delos Reyes is a Rappler intern. She is an incoming graduate student at the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration.