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The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented health, economic, and social crisis affecting the most vulnerable sectors. Social enterprises will be critical to our COVID-19 response and recovery. 

Social enterprises, like every other form of business, have been affected and are among the worst hit by the pandemic, and often with people who need the most support. But despite not having systemic government assistance, many social enterprises have survived and adopted measures to respond and pursue innovations to help local communities adapt and recover.  

Social enterprises have proven to be effective models in creating employment and scalable local productivity, and building the capacities of poor communities in managing their resources. They not only try to fill gaps and serve needs, but also enable local communities to become agents of their own change.   

With the COVID-19 crisis, social enterprises have had to grapple with recovery even as they continue to pursue their social mission. When the pandemic threw markets into disarray, social enterprises stepped in as partners to support communities and local governments and spearheaded efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic – from the delivery of essential services to providing humanitarian relief.   

The disruption caused by the pandemic has highlighted the need to strengthen and support social enterprises and create an enabling environment for them to prosper. It is time to bring them from the sidelines to the front lines in terms of decision and policy-making and allocation of resources. Social enterprises will create jobs, come up with solutions to global challenges, and accelerate sustainable business practices.   

Towards building back fairer, the PRESENT Coalition has embarked on various platforms to assist social enterprises recover in pursuit of food security, health and decent work for all, women’s economic empowerment and resilient and sustainable communities.  Social enterprises need an enabling environment and support programs that the government can and should provide, as embodied in the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Bill.  

The PRESENT Bill primarily aims to acknowledge and support social enterprises for their role in poverty reduction. It includes incentives and a governing body that will create an enabling environment for them to thrive and lift more people out of poverty.  

Support the call to pass the PRESENT Bill now. Sign the petition here 

I. What are Social Enterprises? 
A social enterprise or SE refers to primarily a social mission-driven wealth-creating organization, however organized, including non-stock or non-profit non-government organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations (POs), foundations, associations, cooperatives, sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations, established to improve societal well-being as well as ecological sustainability. A social enterprise for purposes of the proposed PRESENT Act shall also mean a Social Enterprise with Marginalized Sectors as Primary Stakeholders (SEMPS).  

II. Key Features of the PRESENT Bill 
1. Recognition of Social Enterprises (SEMPS) 

SEMPS are social enterprises that explicitly declare and pursue poverty reduction or improving the quality of life of specific segments of marginalized sectors as a principal objective. A SEMPS engages and invests in the poor to become effective workers, suppliers, clients, and/or owners, and ensures that a substantive part of the wealth created by the enterprise is distributed to them. In addition to reinvesting its surplus or profits back towards the fulfillment of its social mission in a sustainable way, a SEMPS also uses its surplus or profits and mobilizes other resources to assist the poor to become partners in SE or value chain management/ governance and to become partners in community, sectoral and societal transformation. 

 2. National PRESENT Program: strategic economic sub-sectors as units of planning  
The planning framework of the PRESENT Program and its planning process shall ensure that the marginalized sectors are engaged as primary stakeholders. It shall add value and complement ecosystem-based, area-based, community-based and other tools and processes in local economic development by promoting and utilizing the economic subsector as a strategic unit of analysis and planning SE development interventions.  
The PRESENT Program shall identify and develop key SEMPS and resource institutions as partners in strategic economic subsectors that have the potential for growth and where large numbers of the poor are concentrated.  SEMPs shall be developed as vehicles to ensure that the marginalized sectors benefit the most from sustainable subsector development. 

3. Qualification of SEMPS  

To qualify for the benefits and incentives provided for in this Act, the SE shall: 

  • Provide or facilitate the provision of a combination of transactional and/or transformational services to improve the position and benefits derived by the poor from the SE and the value chain or economic subsector where the SE is located; 
  • Invest a substantive part of its surplus, profits or mobilize other resources to assist the poor to become partners in SE or value chain management/governance and/or to become partners in community, sectoral and societal transformation 
  • Make a proactive contribution to resolving social and environmental problems and generate profit or surplus with due regard to social and environmental costs 
  • Be engaged in economic activity within the sectors of agriculture and fisheries, industry and services which, for purposes of this Act, shall refer to an activity in any of the economic subsectors 
  • Ensure that a substantive part of the wealth created by the enterprise is distributed to the poor in the form of services, dividends and other forms of benefits, and payments and incentives for products or services rendered consistent with the principles of fair trade 
  • Be duly registered with the appropriate agencies as provided under the Corporation Code or the Cooperative Code of the Philippines, Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Barangay Micro Business Enterprises Act, Microfinance NGOs’ Act, and other laws 

4. SE Support Programs 

  • SE Capability Building and Sustainability Program  
  • Social Enterprise Recovery and Rehabilitation Fund for financing programs and projects supporting adaptation and resilience of social enterprises, including stimulus grants 

5. Incentives for SEs and Social Investors  

  • Special Credit Windows with non-collateralized loans  
  • Grants to qualified social enterprises and resource institutions   
  • Strengthening of the Agriculture and Fisheries Credit Policy  
  • Exemption from payment of VAT, tariff, and duties for the importation of all types of product inputs, equipment, machinery, implements, and spare parts 

 6. Appropriate government structure  

  • The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to serve as the central planning, coordinating, implementing and monitoring body of the program 
  • Creation of a Social Enterprise Development Council (SEDC) attached to DTI to carry out the policy under the Act 
  • Establishment of a National Center for Social Enterprise Development (NCSED) under the SEDC which shall 1.) Provide SEMPs with capability-training and education through the Social Enterprise Capability Building and Sustainability Program; 2.) Develop and enhance a research and development system which shall equip every SE with innovative and sustainable approaches; 3.) Manage a Social Enterprise Marketing Assistance Program (SMAP); 4.) Implement Capability Building Projects as approved by the Council  

7. A budget that supports the PRESENT Program and SE development through hybrid financing 
Hybrid financing shall refer to the combination of grants with loans and other financial instruments to support the unique nature of SEs as wealth-creating organizations that pursue social missions to improve societal well-being – in ways that are ecologically and financially sustainable.  

Help support the call to pass the PRESENT Bill now.

Sign the petition:

For updates, follow the PRESENT Coalition here


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.


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. 


What's New in FSSI


The Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI) is a social investment organization committed to support the development of sustainable communities through social entrepreneurship. Since 1995, we have  been supporting  social enterprises across the Philippines through loans and capacity building. Our organization promotes the triple bottom line (3BL): social equity, environmental protection, and economic development, also referred to as three P’s or PEOPLE, PLANET, PROFIT.  


FSSI is in need of interns for the organization and digitization of its library. S/he will report to the Knowledge Management, Advocacy, and Communications (KMAC) Unit.

Main Responsibilities:
  • Conduct of inventory and classification of reference materials;  
  • Assist in the cataloging, de-duplication of records, and other improvements 
  • Organize and offer library instruction for library users; and 
  • Support in the digitization of information materials, photographs, and other content 
  • Completed subjects or demonstrated competence in library and information science 
  • Familiar with library classification systems and database management  
  • Working knowledge of basic computer tools such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and SharePoint 
  • Resourceful, detail-oriented, and proactive


At least 300 hours between March and December 2021 

Please note that FSSI provides a daily modest stipend. Interns may choose to continue to work beyond the 300 hours in agreement with the designated supervisor.  


FSSI Office at 46-E Eugenio Lopez Street, near corner Samar Avenue, Quezon City  


  1. Proof of enrolment with inclusive dates to confirm that you will be enrolled during the intended period of assignment 
  2. Endorsement from school or instructor 
  3. Resume 

Interested applicants can email their requirements to with the subject line “FSSI Internship” 


The imposition of community quarantine in different parts of the country magnified pre-existing gaps in our food supply chain, from production to distribution. Farmers and fisherfolks were unable to transport and sell their products due to the lockdown, resulting in food and income loss at the time of a crisis.

In this paper, INCITEGov in partnership with the Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI), Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia (AsiaDHRRA), Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA) and Young Public Servants (YPS) propose policies that will hopefully enhance the strategies and programs for food & nutrition security and agriculture recovery vis-a-vis the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. The recommendations, done in consultation with several NGOs and leaders working in the agriculture sector, focus on the family farmers, fishers, and agro-foresters, who are the backbone of the country’s food supply.

Policy brief:

Policy paper:

INCITEGov is a community of advocates and democratic leaders who firmly believe in the democratic process and the rule of law as the bedrock of our society. It develops a policy agenda that links democratic politics, good governance, and development outcomes (P-G-D framework) in crucial reform areas

The Subgroup on Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture Recovery is composed of social development leaders and civil society organizations, namely, Raul Socrates Banzuela, National Coordinator, PAKISAMA; Jose Deles, Kasanyangan Center for Community Development and Microfinance Foundation, Inc.; Cristina Liamzon, Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture advocate; Sixto Donato C. Macasaet, FSSI Executive Director; Marlene Ramirez, Secretary-General of AsiaDHRRA; Omar Salvo, Peace and Equity Foundation; Luis Razon Abad, Young Public Servants; Veronica Fenix Villavicencio, INCITEGov.  Inputs were also solicited from Senen Bacani, former Department of Agriculturesecretary; Marilyn Manila, President of Mga Likha ni Inay, Inc. of Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually ReinforcingInstitutions; and Cresente Paez, President of Philippine Family Farmers Agriculture Fishery Forestry Cooperatives Federation (AgriCOOPh).


What's New in FSSI


The Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI) is a social investment organization committed to support the development of sustainable communities through social entrepreneurship. Since 1995, we have  been supporting  social enterprises across the Philippines through loans and capacity building. Our organization promotes the triple bottom line (3BL): social equity, environmental protection, and economic development, also referred to as three P’s or PEOPLE, PLANET, PROFIT.  


FSSI is in need of two interns who will report to the Project Development and Monitoring Unit.

Research Intern
  • Must have completed subjects or demonstrated competence in research methodology, conducting surveys, report writing and documentation
  • Will draft research instruments, administer surveys, and prepare research reports 
Creative intern
  • Must have completed subjects or demonstrated competence in graphic design, copywriting and video editing
  • Will develop marketing materials targeting a range of audiences from cooperatives to start ups, SMEs and multi sector institutional partners


Duration: August to December 2020 (est 20 weeks) 

Please note that FSSI provides a modest stipend for communication expenses.  Interns may choose to continue work beyond 20 weeks in agreement with the designated supervisors, but without stipend. They are also expected to use their own laptop.


Work from home


Candidate must be a student, enrolled in a graduate-level degree program at the time of application and during internship. Candidates that have graduated are not eligible for internship


  • Excellent organizational, time management and strong interpersonal skills;
  • Ability to work flexibly and meet deadlines;
  • Attention to details and proven ability to work independently and effectively
  • Proficiency in computer software related to key tasks assigned (MS Office and graphic design or editing software such as Photoshop, InDesign, etc)


  1. Proof of enrolment with inclusive dates to confirm that you will be enrolled during the intended period of assignment.
  2. Resume

Interested applicants can email their requirements to


What's New in FSSI


The Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc. (FSSI) is looking for a consultant to conduct an IT assessment and propose IT enhancements to ensure a secure, appropriate, and reliable IT system.

FSSI is a non-government organization established in 1995. It manages an endowment fund which resulted from the successful debt swap campaign of international and local organizations to cancel the foreign debt from the Swiss government.

FSSI has promoted a “triple bottom line” (3BL) approach in supporting social enterprise development. This approach enables social enterprises to manage their economic, social, and environmental impact. FSSI supports social enterprises by providing financial and technical services that enables them to achieve their profit, people and planet bottom lines. FSSI has a range of products and services that include equities, loans, deposits, and grants, as well as business development support services.

FSSI is embarking on a new journey with its newly crafted Strategic Plan 2020 – 2024. The strategic plan has four key results areas (KRA): financial service delivery, social enterprise development, asset and investment management, and organizational development.

One of the strategic goals under the organizational development key result area is to enhance FSSI’s processes and decision making through effective and reliable MIS. One of its objectives is laying down and maintain a secure, appropriate, and reliable IT system by 2020.


The overall purpose of the consultancy work is to assess the current information technology system and propose a recommendation for system enhancement based on the requirements of FSSI’s business processes.

Scope of Work

The consultant will conduct the following:

  1. Review and update the draft MIS / IT assessments available.
  2. Develop or adopt a specific and systematic MIS assessment tool to examine various aspects of the IT system in relation to its intended goals.
  3. Perform a systematic and thorough review of the MIS system of FSSI and the IT systems used in the office which includes both hardware (computers, servers, networks, etc.), software (custom applications, cloud services, client/server OS, security, etc.), IT policies (IT use, security, disaster recovery, management of systems, etc.), and IT services (procurement, help desk, etc.).
  4. Draft a comprehensive proposal for a multi-stage system enhancement which considers the strategic goals of the MIS, the proposed IT strategy, and cost management.
  5. Discuss with relevant staff and senior management the proposal, including the advantage and disadvantages.

The consultant will not perform the needed system enhancement to ensure impartiality to any product or service. He/she will be disqualified from any future call for the performance of the system enhancement.


  • IT/MIS assessment methodology and tool based on industry standard tools; these will be discussed and approved by FSSI
  • IT/MIS assessment report, including the identification of the appropriate IT/MIS requirements
  • Comprehensive proposal for a multi-stage enhancement of FSSI IT/MIS based on the assessment and the proposed IT strategy of FSSI
    • with annex listing recommended and alternative technologies, together with their brands, models, and cost estimates. 
  • Presentation to and discussion with FSSI senior management and concerned staff of the IT/MIS assessment report and the comprehensive proposal for a multi-stage enhancement of FSSI IT/MIS.

Duration and Location

The coordination meetings with the staff and IT assessment will be held at the FSSI office or thru online meetings.

The consultancy is a part-time professional service contract of around 6­­-7 days.

Estimated Timeline for the consultancy:

Institutional Arrangement

The consultant will work with the M&E Officer and Administration Assistant, and other staff as needed. The consultant will report directly to the M&E Officer.

FSSI will purchase the required materials and equipment for the IT upgrade.


  1. With educational background on Management Information Systems, Information Technology, Computer Science, and other related courses
  2. Expert in Microsoft technologies, especially Windows 10, Microsoft 365, and Azure.
  3. Expert in Windows Server technology, Active Directory, and other windows server technologies (familiarity with Ubuntu Linux technologies is a plus)
  4. Proficient in networking technologies and management
  5. Proficient in IT security and disaster recovery
  6. Familiar with financial services organization applications and technologies (credit services)
  7. Familiar with developing IT operational procedures, Security policies, IT services, help desk processes

Application Process

Interested and qualified candidates should submit their applications which should include the following:

  1. Proposed IT assessment methodology and implementation work plan.
  2. Quotation (Professional Fee) for the consultancy work.
  3. Updated and detailed curriculum vitae

Applications should be emailed to the Human Resources and Administration Manager Doreen Erasga, not later than August 13, 2020, Thursday.


What's New in FSSI

Investing in women makes smart economics and – in the COVID-19 scenario – will be essential for economic turnaround during the post-pandemic recovery.

Yet, many women remain marginalized. Businesses owned and led by women account for a large untapped source of job creation and economic growth in developing countries, including the Philippines. Women-owned or led social enterprises (WSEs) encounter significantly more barriers to growth than their male counterparts, including less access to capital to expand their enterprises.

To address the financing gap, Investing in Women (IW), an initiative of the Australian Government, has partnered with the Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI). Programmatically active for 10 years, the project involves an investment capital from IW and FSSI of at least Php 80 Million (AUD 2.5 Million) to support the business growth of WSEs.

Supporting Women Owned/Led Social Enterprises 

The IW-FSSI Project will support the development and scaling up of 12 WSEs. These enterprises are those with clear and viable business expansion plans, and a commitment to consistently improve their triple bottom line targets of People, Planet, and Profit and drivers of growth for their respective social enterprises. The project will provide the following support:

Investment Capital

· Investment capital of between Php7M to Php16M per WSE through either debt financing, equity or mezzanine financing, joint venture or any combination of these

· Promotion of gender lens investing (GLI) through tapping additional investors

Technical Assistance

· Reviewing and/or drawing up business strategic plans

· Making available updated trends and information about the industry, market, technology, finance, and sales

· Providing training and mentoring (on financial management, marketing and sales, quality control, HR development, change management, and business continuity planning)

Other Support

· Support for the adoption of appropriate industry/business innovations

· Appropriate environmental management plans

· Gender planning

Established in 1995 through a debt for development swap between the governments of the Philippines and Switzerland, FSSI seeks to apply innovative financing and capacity building support that will maximize both social and financial returns through valuable entrepreneurship, at the same time ensuring equitable development and environmental sustainability in all its initiatives. Since 1995, it has supported over 200 sustainable development projects in marginalized communities. 

“We are grateful for our partnership with IW and we look forward to working with women-owned and women-led social enterprises (WSEs), especially at this challenging time when the pandemic is affecting many WSEs,” said FSSI Executive Director Sixto Donato C. Macasaet.

The IW-FSSI project will tap the expertise and networks of FSSI’s consortium partners, the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), in delivering the needed capacity building and mentoring requirements. 

The following are the criteria for women social enterprises to become partners of FSSI’s Investing in Women (IW) Project:

For more information or inquiries about the IW Project, contact:

Irene Fernandez

Partnership Manager, FSSI

Erness Guinto

IW Project Officer, FSSI

Visit Investing in Women for more details.


What's New in FSSI

The Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI) held its first 25th Anniversary Webinar on July 23, 2020, with speakers Prof. Cielito F. Habito, Ph.D, Former NEDA Director General and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary and Mr. Rico Gonzales, Managing Director of social enterprise incubator Xchange.

The webinar on Rising Up to the Challenge: Social Enterprises in the Time of COVID-19 looked into the situation and outlook for the Philippine economy, particularly the challenges and prospects for social enterprises, in light of COVID-19. 

You may view the webinar below: