PH Conference gathered gov’t, businesses, NGOs in support of poverty-alleviating SEs

Over 100 representatives from social enterprises, civil society, businesses and government gathered at this year’s National Social Entrepreneurship Conference (NSEC 2022) to showcase the important role of social enterprises in lifting Filipinos out of poverty after surviving the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the theme “Social Entrepreneurship as Pathway for Inclusive Recovery and Building Back Fairer,” the face-to-face conference was held on Oct 20-21, 2022 at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA) President Dr. Marie Lisa Dacanay, who’s also the Convenor of the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Coalition said this Conference aimed to harness multi-stakeholder collaboration through social entrepreneurship that will spur action towards crafting solutions for inclusive recovery and building back fairer.

“The NSEC 2022 highlighted the importance of engaging the poor and marginalized sectors as stakeholders in ensuring food security, sustainable livelihoods, digital transformation and community-based health and wellness,” Dr. Dacanay said of the event organized by the Ateneo Center for Social Entrepreneurship (ACSEnt), ISEA, and the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Coalition.

 “We are offering this as an agenda for collaboration with government, the private sector and bilateral and multilateral agencies towards inclusive recovery and building back fairer,” she added.

The 2-day conference, which was also accessible to online participants, featured more than 30 speakers from the Philippines and the global social sector community. 

On Day 1, Ateneo de Manila University John Gokongwei School of Management Dean Dr. Roberto Martin Galang formally welcomed the participants to NSEC 2022, the first onsite gathering for the social entrepreneurship sector in the Philippines since the pandemic. 

“[NSEC] is the longest-running and largest gathering of social entrepreneurs and we should be proud of what we accomplished. We have been able to consolidate all the different sectors involved in social entrepreneurship. We have been able to turn a fragmented set of companies, individuals, and stakeholders into what we have today,” Dr. Galang remarked.

Bukidnon 1st District Representative and Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Bill Champion Hon. Joeman Alba delivered the keynote message on Day 1. He emphasized the importance of promoting social enterprises and the need for a policy framework recognizing the important work they do.

The plenary discussions on Day 1 were led by Bangsamoro Parliament Member Eddie Alih and Manila Observatory, Klima Center Head Dr. Antonio La Vina. Both discussed the relevance of mainstreaming PRESENT through institutionalizing an SE Bill. 

On Day 2, Gandang Kalikasan/Human Nature Co-Founder and President Anna Meloto-Wilk stressed the importance of coming together as a sector in catalyzing the recovery of social enterprises in her keynote speech.

“Even in the midst of the biggest, global crisis of the 21st Century, with social enterprises experiencing their biggest existential threats, we have continued as a sector to lead with compassion, justice, purpose, and resolve,” Meloto-Wilk said.

“This Conference is an important step towards the complex systems work that needs to be done in order for us to build back fairer in the post-pandemic era. We have a small window of opportunity to influence the way economic life is shaped by giving social enterprises an enabling boost to take advantage of the opportunities of the new, digital age,” she added.

Video messages from Vice Mayor Dodot Jaworksi and Mayor Joy Belmonte were also featured as both have expressed their commitment to supporting social enterprises in their localities. 

Hapinoy President Mark Ruiz moderated the first plenary session on Day 2 about how social entrepreneurship can pave the way for inclusive recovery and building back fairer. Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia President Marie Lisa Dacanay, Alter Trade Foundation Inc Chairperson Earl Parreno, Dompet Dhuafa Indonesia General Manager for Health Dr.Yeni Purnamasari, and Association of Progressive Communications Coordinator Carlos Rey-Moreno are among the speakers of the session.

The second plenary discussion focused on the opportunities and challenges of financing SE initiatives for inclusive recovery, with Oxfam Pilipinas Country Director Lot Felizco as Moderator. Catalyst2030 Co-founder Jeroo Billimoria, Foundation for Sustainable Society Inc. (FSSI) Executive Director Sixto Donato, Baznas Bazis DKI Jakarta Vice-Chairperson Rini Suprihartanti led the session. 

This event is sponsored by Oxfam Pilipinas, the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok, Peace and Equity Foundation, Catalyst 2030, Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc., We Effect and Agricord.

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