Support social enterprises, help reduce poverty!
A social enterprise refers to an organization, whether an association, single proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or a cooperative, whose primary stakeholders and/or beneficiaries are marginalized sectors of society, engaged in providing goods and services that are directly related to its mission of improving societal well-being. It is established to achieve multiple bottom lines such as financial, social and ecological. It generates profit or surplus with due regard to social and environmental costs, and makes a pro-active contribution to resolving social and environmental problems.
In the past decade, we saw a new breed of development actors that have changed the way we approach poverty-reduction programs because we have seen how they impart self-reliance, open doors to innovations, upholds the dignity of poor people, and stimulates local economy.
Compared, however, to social enterprises in other countries like Italy, France, Germany and Korea, however, the reach of social enterprises in the Philippines tends to be limited, extending only to a few communities and in some instances, to only one community.
In the long term social enterprises can be an instrument in the economic empowerment of the poor and powerless. However, it seems difficult to neither expect nor anticipate when and how these can happen if social enterprises operate within the same incentive structure that is within the existing market-based economy.
Thus, the need for a policy that would improve the ability of the sector to reduce poverty is being pushed in Congress by social enterprise and fair trade practitioners, academe, economic justice advocates, consumer groups, and resource institutions.
There is a also a need to make a stronger statement from consumers that what we want available are products and services that uphold our values or social responsibility to the environment, the poor and the national economy.
What will the bill do
The Social Enterprise Bill seeks to help social enterprises to increase their impacts in working the poor. How will the Bill help the social enterprise sector: