ISEA President joins the APEC Workshop on promoting SEs for Inclusive Growth

On March 31, 2022, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conducted a workshop on promoting social enterprises (SEs) for inclusive growth. In this workshop, ISEA President and PRESENT Coalition Convener, Dr. Marie Lisa Dacanay joined the session on “Social enterprises from the perspective in regulations” in which the session focused on exploring how policies and regulations could help in promoting inclusive business and social enterprises through sharing experiences and best practices in APEC member economies.

On the next day of the workshop, Dr Dacanay joined the session in which experts and representatives from the governments and business sector discussed and provided recommendations on how to promote inclusive business and social enterprises in the APEC region as well as how APEC could do to promote inclusive business and social enterprises.

Dr Dacanay shared to the participants the following policy recommendations and implementing guidelines to enable SEs as partners for inclusive recovery and growth:

1.  Recognition of social enterprises as critical partners of government in poverty reduction/uplifting the life of marginalized sectors and inclusive recovery: need for a working definition that delineates SEs from regular and inclusive businesses

1.1.  Working definition culled from PRESENT Bill pending in Philippine Congress and adopted by the Philippine MSMED Council: 

“A social enterprise (SE) is a social mission-driven organization that creates wealth while contributing to social well-being and ecological sustainability. Further, an SE is an entity which explicitly declares and pursues poverty reduction or improving the quality of life of specific segments of the marginalized and vulnerable sectors as its principal objective.”

2.  Building of SE Database:  Tagging of SEs from among registered MSMEs and enlisting other SEs not yet be registered with government agencies 

Two (2) core attributes of a social enterprise that distinguish it from a regular business: 

– Transformational engagement with marginalized sectors, which is in contrast to a purely transactional approach implemented by regular businesses.

– Adherence to a distributive enterprise philosophy, which is in contrast to the paradigm of creation and accumulation of wealth for the owners of a regular business. 

3.  Distinct programs/services and incentives to support the development and growth of social enterprises

3.1.  Recommended Support Programs

– Focusing on strategic economic subsectors as units of planning/program development to achieve significant impact (not just supporting individual social enterprises) 

– Hybrid financing:  combination of grants and non-collateralized loans through special credit windows with a guarantee fund pool; special allocation for women-led SEs or SEs promoting women’s economic empowerment

– Support for the development of fair and ethical markets through actual and virtual trade fairs and trade missions  

– Support for the development of a SE sector monitoring and evaluation system with clear indicators of social outcomes     

3.2.  Recommended incentives in recognition of social value created by social enterprises

– Preferential treatment in government procurement or allocation of a percentage of government procurement for social enterprise products and services (10-15%)

– Tax incentives or tax credits 

– Cash incentives: 25% of minimum wage for SEs employing persons with disability