Mark Ruiz is the co-founder and president of Hapinoy, a non-government organization that seeks to uplift rural communities. It focuses on women: the nanays (mothers), wives, titas (aunts), and daughters.
Mark teaches these women how to put up sari-sari stores and instructs them on the basics of micro-financing. But more than enabling them to earn, Mark wants them to contribute to nation-building.
He’s a firm believer in women empowerment. “Sometimes women are actually excluded from opportunities, and if you look at our country, truth is women are the greatest catalyst really for development, both in upper income areas but most especially in poor areas,” says Mark.
Hapinoy’s ideal model is when the wife and husband start working as partners in the sari-sari stores.
“When you support the women micro-entrepreneurs, we’re assured that the family automatically benefits,” Mark says. “There have been studies that have shown that if you support them and their micro-enterprises grow, there is a direct correlation to the household.”
Today, business opportunities introduced by Hapinoy helped thousands of Nanays and their families.
Watch a profile video of Mark and the other finalists of the Social Entrepreneur category below.
In the business of doing good
So what does it really take to be a ‘social entrepreneur’ like Mark?
“We start from the point of view of trying to solve a social problem,” says Mark, “that’s the root, that’s the cause, that’s why we breathe, that’s what we do.”
Beyond the profit goal, Mark aims to empower more women to earn enough and live well through their own potential.
“Hapinoy has been around for a few years and it’s not an easy journey,” he says. “What keeps me inspired, ironically, is that the problem of poverty is so huge and this is not gonna get solved overnight… what keeps me going is the fact that you believe that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, that this problem can be solved.”
For Mark, to Do More is actually to give more. “A lot of us spend our lives thinking of how we can get more… I think we can have a paradigm shift that says give more and share more. That’s the life philosophy I have and I wish a lot more people would also embrace that.” – Rappler.com
Follow Mark Ruiz on Twitter: @markruiz
|Get to know other finalists by clicking their names below:|
|Frank Chiu||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%