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Impact enterprises solving the most urgent social and environmental challenges through market-based models are important actors in the socio-development landscape. Geared towards the development of products and services that address the fundamental problems of poverty and sustainable development, they solve social problems by challenging traditions, combining creativity with intelligence.  

In the Philippines, social enterprises serving the poor are often pioneers, facing challenges and risks referred to as the “pioneer gap.” These challenges include difficulties in the operating environment, finding resources and raising capital, and growing their business with few investors willing to finance to absorb the risks involved in pioneering new business models. As a result, many of these enterprises fail because of lack of support, not just financial but also mentorship, to enable them to make it to a later stage. Impact investing targets to bridge these gaps.   

The Pioneer Gap – Courtesy of Impact Pioneers Network

With the mission to leapfrog the impact entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Philippines, social enterprise incubator xchange has partnered with India’s Villgro. Villgro and xchange have combined decades of experience in investing in impact entrepreneurs to address gaps in the Philippine ecosystem. Villgro is India’s oldest and one of the world’s largest social enterprise incubators. xchange is an incubator in the Philippines that invests in early-stage social enterprises while providing tailored mentorship and support to help them achieve scale. Together, they designed and developed the Impact Pioneer model that would encourage collaboration with other individuals and organizations or “impact pioneers” who believe that entrepreneurship is a key tool in solving social and environmental challenges.  

In its first year, the network will focus on building resilience during the pandemic economy by providing a variety of investments including zero-interest loans and quasi-equity through a Resilience Fund, as well as six months of tailored support to build resilience and to adapt their models for a recession year. It is also expected to launch new services for enterprises and impact pioneers, while continuing to grow the network of individuals and institutions and engage the larger ecosystem.  

The network’s priority sectors are agriculture and fisheries, climate crisis, education and employment, and affordable healthcare. It will adopt a gender lens in all aspects of its operations and will actively source enterprises which impact the lives of women and girls.   

You can learn more about the Impact Pioneers Network here. Also check out this guide on angel investing by infoDev.

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The Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI) has signed a five-year partnership with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) to collaborate in capacity building, advocacy, and research efforts to support inclusive agricultural and rural development.   

Founded in 1966, SEARCA is a center of excellence in agricultural and rural development. It is the oldest among 26 specialist institutions in Southeast Asia. The organization has recently embarked on a five-year strategic plan that emphasizes focus on elevating the quality of life of agricultural families through sustainable livelihoods and access to modern networks and innovative markets.  

“FSSI’s five-year Strategic Plan is closely aligned with SEARCA’s in terms of our desired impact on local communities, especially the agriculture sector. We look forward to collaborating with SEARCA to support inclusive agricultural and rural development,” said FSSI Executive Director Sixto Donato C. Macasaet.   

The areas of collaboration between FSSI and SEARCA include capacity building, including training on best practices and lessons learned specific to agri-enterprise development and sustainability, sustainable finance, and access to credit; research, including participation of FSSI-supported agri-enterprises in pilot studies and technology transfer, as well as value chain specific agri-research; and advocacy, specifically on awareness raising on strategies that will build the triple bottom lines or enterprise sustainability awareness. 

Agriculture remains an important sector of the Philippine economy. However, agricultural yield and area have been on a steady decline through the years, not only in the Philippines but all over the Southeast Asian region. To help address this, governments have been adopting policies focused on business incubation and information and technology advancement.  

FSSI is set to launch its accelerator program, the Sustainable Agri Enterprise Impact Lab or SAIL.  This is closely aligned with SEARCA’s InnovEIGhts project, an agribusiness incubation program envisioned to establish and develop the agri-and rural sector through technology development and transfer. 

FSSI is a social investment organization committed to support the development of sustainable communities through social entrepreneurship. It supports enterprises with People, Planet, and Profit objectives, also known as the triple bottom lines (3BL), through financial and capacity building services. 

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Newsletter

Cautious Optimism and Perseverance in 2021  

Sixto Donato C. Macasaet

We’re now two months into 2021; how are you with your resolutions and intentions for the year?  

2020 was fraught with challenges, including the crippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and destructive typhoons that hit parts of the country. Yet, optimism remains. A Pulse Asia survey released in December last year revealed that 9 out of 10 Filipinos are optimistic about 2021, a sentiment shared across populations in geographic areas and socio-economic grouping. 

With significant progress in the development of COVID-19 vaccines, the economy expected to regain its momentum, and programs in the pipeline to assist in the recovery, there is cautious optimism that 2021 is the year that we start to rebuild. We are hopeful – with a sense of readiness for difficulties that lie ahead. Hence, we persevere.  
 

At FSSI, we are looking forward to be part of the solutions, even as we deal with challenges that COVID-19 has brought upon us.  

We have recently joined the Impact Pioneers Network, a first-of-its-kind angel investing network in the Philippines to catalyze local capital to exclusively support impact-first enterprises with potential to grow and create social impact at scale. In its first year, the network will focus on building resilience during the pandemic economy by providing a variety of investments and tailored support for social enterprises to adapt to the recession year.  
 

We have also launched a partnership with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) to collaborate in capacity building, advocacy, and research efforts to support inclusive agricultural and rural development.   
 

As an organization built upon the collaboration of various civil society organizations and government, we believe in the importance of partnerships and working together as we navigate the road to recovery and resilience.   
 

I would also like to take this opportunity to enjoin you all to support the PRESENT Coalition’s campaign to pass the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Bill. On Friday, February 26, the coalition will be launching the PRESENT Bill Petition Campaign to raise 1 million signatures to support the bill’s enactment into law. You can support the campaign by signing the petition here: https://www.change.org/passthepresentbillnow  
 

I look forward to seeing many of you in future events. May you and your loved ones always be healthy and hopeful.

Dodo

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