ISEA First Anniversary Celebration Message and Report of the ISEA President

Looking Back at The Year that Was

We are here to celebrate the first year anniversary of ISEA, an institution dedicated to creating a critical mass of social entrepreneurs and social enterprises, towards transforming the markets of Asia into arenas for pursuing equitable and sustainable development. Maybe there is a reason why ISEA’s birthing and development is happening at a time that the global economic system is in crisis – as it provides us with greater space to advocate, scale up and mainstream a way of doing business and running markets, that generate positive social and environmental benefits to society, and result to improved quality of life of people, communities and our living environment.

As we celebrate ISEA’s first anniversary, I would like to pay tribute to the women, men and institutions that came together as founding members and incorporators, without whom ISEA would not have been what it is today:

From the Philippines, I would like to recognize the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) represented by Dean Antonio La Vina (ISEA Chairperson); Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiatives Inc represented by its Executive Director Mai Anonuevo (ISEA Board Member); the Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc (FSSI) represented by its Executive Director Emma Sandrino (ISEA Board Member); Philippine Business for Social Progress, represented by its Executive Director Gil Salazar and its Deputy Executive Director Ramon Derige (ISEA Board Member); Philippine Social Enterprise Network represented by its President Rene Guarin (ISEA Board Member); International Network of Alternative Financial Institutions-Philippines represented by its Executive Director Marlon Palomo (ISEA Board Member); and Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement represented by its Acting President Isagani R. Serrano;

From among regional institutions and networks, I would like to recognize the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) represented then by its President Francis Estrada; World Fair Trade Organization-Asia represented by its Convenor Claribel David (ISEA Board Member); and the Conference of Asian Foundations and Organizations represented by its Chair Gillian Koh and Secretariat Head Jazmine Gutierrez;

From among ISEA’s individual members, I would like to recognize Prof. Ronald Chua, Curriculum Development Director of the Microfinance Management Institute (ISEA Board Member and Treasurer); Ma. Theresa Pilapil, Regional Director for Southeast Asia of Oikocredit, Ecumenical Development Cooperative Society; and Gloriosa Santos- Cabangon, Executive Director, Philippine Educational Theater Association.

From Thailand, I would like to recognize Population and Community Development Association represented by its Chairperson Dr. Mechai Viravaidya and its Executive Director Dr. Tannatat Puttasuwan;

From Indonesia, Dompet Dhuafa Republika Foundation represented by its President Ismail Said and Executive Director Ahmad Juwaini. Also from Indonesia, Bina Swadaya represented by its Training Director Arry Primantoro;

From Japan, Social Venture Partners Tokyo represented by its Director Ken Ito;

From India, Dhan Foundation represented by its Executive Director M. P. Vasimalai;

From Vietnam, Social Policy Ecology Research Institute represented by its Founder Tran Thi Lanh;

After a thousand and one email exchanges, skype consultations and face to face meetings to formally set up ISEA among founding members and incorporators, ISEA was born as a non-stock, non-profit corporation based in the Philippines on June 26, 2008.

Even as ISEA was still being incorporated, we already partnered with the Southeast Asia Regional Office of Oikocredit to jointly undertake a Training of Process Facilitators on Social Performance Assessment using Social Return on Investment (SROI) and Development Indexing (DI) as Tools on May 19-23, 2008. Here, 35 participants from Oikocredit and ISEA members and partners from the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore underwent a 5 day training jointly facilitated by Peter Scholten, the Founder of the European Network on SROI and myself. May I ask the participants of that course who are here with us today to stand up and be recognized.

In preparation for that training, Oikocredit sponsored a case study research that demonstrated the power of these tools in assisting the planning, monitoring, evaluation and social marketing processes among 3 types of social enterprises: Alter Trade Group (ATG) for the segment of fair trade organizations, the National Federation of Cooperatives of Persons with Disability (NFCPWD) for the segment of cooperatives and the Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF) for the segment of microfinance institutions. These cases and the insights generated in applying SROI and DI among social enteprises is being consolidated into a book to be jointly published by Oikocredit and ISEA later this year. We have also just completed a capacity building and training needs assessment for Oikocredit’s Philippine partners, composed of MFIs, cooperatives, fair trade organizations and other social enterprises, which we are using to design a Course on Social Enterprise Strategic Management slated to begin later this year.

Another milestone was achieved in March 2009, when ASoG and ISEA, with the support of FSSI, launched our first public executive training, a 5-day module on Social Entrepreneurship and the Market, a course that orients and provides tools for dealing with the market as an arena for engagement and transformation. Three distinguished professors joined me to serve as trainors for this course: Prof. Ronald Chua, an expert in microfinance and social entrepreneurship, and two marketing gurus, Prof. Tomas Lopez and Prof. JJ Roces.

May I also ask the participants of that course who are here with us to stand up and be recognized.

Having shared with you ISEA’s journey during its first year, may I take this opportunity once again to thank everyone who made ISEA’s first year eventful and memorable. But allow me to make a special note of thanks to some institutions and individuals who played critical enabling roles:

• ASoG and Dean Tony La Vina for providing a home and a nurturing environment for ISEA’s partnership with academe in the service of social entrepreneurship practitioners and resource institutions

• FSSI as institution building partner, and its Executive Director Emma Sandrino, who presided over the sealing of the partnership that made it possible for ISEA to set up office and start operations;

• Ma. Teresa Pilapil, Oikocredit’s Southeast Asia Regional Director, and Oikocredit itself, for serving as partner and social investor in social entrepreneurship knowledge creation and capacity building;

• AIM and its immediate past president Mr. Francis Estrada, who played an important role in sealing an agreement for AIM to become a founding member of ISEA and to donate the non-exclusive use of learning materials developed by AIM’s Social and Development Entrepreneurship Program (SDEP) from 2001-2007 including 300 copies of a resource book on social entrepreneurship, Creating a Space in the Market: Social Enterprise Stories in Asia, co-published by AIM and CAFO in 2004.

• Philam Foundation and its Executive Director Max Ventura, who provided a seed grant for ISEA’s website development

Let me just also take this opportunity to introduce to you the staff of ISEA who have and are working behind the scenes, often beyond the call of duty, to run our day to day affairs: Rosalinda Roy and Eden Gallardo, our past Project Managers; Bec Coronado, our current Project Manager, Dolly Marcial, our Financial and Administrative Assistant and last but not the least, Alice Balacaoc, our Finance Officer, who has actually been doing volunteer work with us since May.

Today, as ISEA celebrates it’s first anniversary, we also mark our debut in the virtual world, with the launching of our website and e-forum on Social Entrepreneurship and the Global Economic Crisis, as well as the formalization of a pioneering strategic partnership with ASoG in social entrepreneurship research and education, with our collaboration in the Masters in Public Management major in Social Entrepreneurship Course as centerpiece.

Allow me to join our host and Chair Dean La Vina in welcoming you to our Anniversary celebration .

Marie Lisa Dacanay
June 19, 2009