Asian Development Bank (ADB)

ADB Official: PH Bright Example in Development of Social Enterprise

A ranking official of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) believes the Philippines has the potential to become a regional leader and a bright example in the development of social enterprise and inclusive business.
However, ADB vice president Stephen Groff stressed that the government and private sector must “take stronger steps to boost this sector” in this ideal time where there is “explosion and interest in social enterprise”.
“Such growth must rely primarily on local ingenuity, resources and commitment to substantially reduce poverty and deprivation across the country,” Groff said in his speech during the Social Business Summit, which opened last Wednesday at GK’s Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan.
“Gains can be made by forging closer collaboration with international partners who can offer promising approaches, voluntary support, and technical expertise and financial resources,” Groff emphasized.
Groff said the government–both national and local–can serve as advocate and champion by raising awareness and providing finances to those interested in venturing into social enterprises.
“The government can also lead by example through the procurement of quality goods and services. It will help create a virtual cycle that will allow these social enterprises to grow,” he added.
The private sector, for its part, could sponsor a “bootcamp” to identify social problems, define change, construct business model and measure social impact.
Earlier, Senator Bam Aquino, the first social entrepreneur to be elected as senator, filed a number of bills that aim to support social enterprises and redefine the concept of social value in government spending.
Senate Bill No. 1026, otherwise known as the “Social Enterprise Bill,” aims to establish a Poverty Reduction Though Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Program that will “provide a nurturing environment for the growth and burgeoning of strong and innovative social enterprises as tools to reduce poverty”.
Sen. Aquino also filed Senate Bill No. 1029, also known as the Social Value Bill, which redefines “value for money” for government procurement as going beyond products and services with the lowest price, to those which offer “the greatest collective benefit to the community.”
The young lawmaker earlier said, “Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that, as the country grows, more Filipinos are able to grow with us. Now that the Philippines is growing at a phenomenal rate and all eyes are on our economy, now is the time to make sure that no one gets left behind.”

Convergence Needed for Inclusive Growth — Sen. Bam Aquino

At the 2nd Inclusive Business Forum organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), and the Asian Social Enterprise Incubator, Inc. (ASEI) on September 16, 2013, Sen. Bam Aquino challenged government, the private sector, and civil society to work together to promote inclusive growth through Inclusive Business.

Inclusive Business refers to private enterprises whose businesses were designed to address pressing social needs. It takes poor people out of poverty by linking them to larger value chains and giving them access to markets, financing, sustainable livelihood, mentoring and support systems, and other necessary ingredients for development.

According to Markus Dietrich and Armin Bauer of the ADB, “Inclusive Business in the Philippines can be adopted to realize the government’s inclusive growth goals, such as creating more employment for the poor… and providing better services, especially in housing, health, energy and education.”

“One problem in enabling inclusive businesses would be convergence. You have agencies supporting social enterprises and inclusive business practices on their own, but we still need to see these agencies working together,” Sen. Aquino pointed out.

Aquino, a globally awarded social entrepreneur before being elected into the Senate, talked about four major pillars of enabling inclusive growth.

“First, we need to push ease of doing business. It will help not only inclusive business, but also the whole private sector.”

“Second, support for MSMEs—whether it’s through better financing, shared services, and subsidies, to a certain extent.”

“We also need to start implementing laws better,” Sen. Aquino pointed out. “We already have a lot of laws that support MSMEs, but they are not being implemented.”

Aquino also talked about two priority pieces of legislation: the Social Enterprise Bill, and another bill that he will soon file, an Inclusive Business Bill.

“I think the best way to go about legislation is for the practitioners to tell us what the sector needs,” he added.

“We’re sure that our colleagues from the Senate and from Congress will support laws supporting inclusive businesses and social enterprises, but again, the convergence needs to happen.”

The senator likewise cited that “there is a lot of willingness from the private sector to collaborate… but government has to jumpstart the collaboration.”

“It’s best if different agencies are already working with the private sector on pilot programs and learning from that experience, then we institutionalize everything a necessary piece of legislation.”

“The challenge is to get all of the players in place to begin talking to each other and working together,” the lawmaker reiterated.

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