Capitalizing on Communities


I work as a Project Development Officer in a government program. I just became completely aware of social enterprises when I was doing community organizing works since it shares some principles and disciplines; and am eagerly looking for private partnership for our communities in Padre Garcia, Batangas. Some of the social enterprises on my radar and I personally love their products:

AKABA Ltd. and RagsIIRiches are social enterprises that sell bags. AKABA and RagsIIRiches are both into employment and skills development. RagsIIRiches,according to their Cultural Manager, is currently partnered with 6 communities while AKABA is committed to preserving endangered weaving practices of indigenous communities. Both social enterprises have well designed and artisan bags which proceeds provide an income  to the communities they’re partnered with.

The Paper Project is a social enterprise that makes and sells greeting cards made up of abaca fiber and recycled papers. The cards are made by human trafficking victims which are trained and supervised by the Paper Project team. Love and livelihood somehow help these women’s healing process. The Paper Project also conducts Bible studies and self defense class with the women. Their product can purchased at Cambio Market, an online market for social-responsible products.

Bambike is another social entreprise which envisions a poverty-free Philippines. Bambikes are made by Bambuilders or skilled bamboo craftsmen from Gawad Kalinga village. According to Bryan McClelland, one of the main goal of Bambike is to invest in local communities and invest in local talents to keep these people in their community and prevent migration to overpopulated cities.

A social enterprise creates social value with their products while a commercial enterprise is focused in creating market value and presence of their products/services. Commercial enterprise might give portion of its sales to a foundation who helps the needy while a social enterprise creates innovative solutions with the communities in social problems they are very concerned with. These social enterprises make relational partnership with communities.

Though non-profit oriented and mission-centered, social enterprises should be profitable in order to continue its mission. Social enterprise success are not measured only by its return on investments or annual revenues but more on its socio-economic impacts and these impacts might be visible in a span of long years.

Discussing where did your bag came from, how it was woven, and how it helps to solve social issues is quite better than discussing how plainly expensive and imported your bag is. I hope I can buy some of their products on sale and I covet to pay a visit on their communities and talk with the hands behind these products.


This is one of my outputs for UP Distance Education – Social Entrepreneurship course.



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