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Youth and Social Enterprises in Poverty Reduction and Rural Revitalization

Over 80 participants from the academe, social enterprises, civil society organizations, and local government attended the webinar titled, “ST e-TALKS: Exploring Social Enterprises in Rural Development: Success Stories, Challenges and Advocacy Platforms” last June 3. 

Organized by the Department of Social Development Services, College of Human Ecology, University of the Philippines Los Baños, the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA) and the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Coalition, the webinar featured presentations on the role of social enterprises in rural development as well as the platforms for engaging youth in poverty reduction and rural revitalization. 

The resource speakers of the said webinar are Ms Vie Reyes of Bote Central and Philippine Coffee Alliance, Mr Allister Roy Chua of Roots Collective and Dr. Marie Lisa Dacanay of ISEA.

Ms Vie Reyes of Bote Central and Philippine Coffee Alliance kicked off the presentations, discussing the community-based coffee enterprise model which puts coffee farmers’ quality of life at the center of the enterprise. She highlighted the importance of advocating community-based coffee agribusiness for the farmers, women and youth, promulgating the ‘soil to cup’ business model of coffee. 

“As the advocacy organization for Filipino coffee, we [Philippine Coffee Alliance] want to promote and protect the interests of the Philippine Coffee industry and empower the smallholder Filipino Coffee farmers,” she explained.

Aloy Chua of Roots Collective also shared their organization’s model for engaging community-based social enterprises to grow rural communities. He discussed how they link social and creative enterprises to socially-conscious consumers and the value of doing so.

He said, “We want to address the miniscule market share of products by social and inclusive enterprises and the lack of all-encompassing ecosystem to grow and support enterprises across the entire value chain.”

Dr. Marie Lisa Dacanay of ISEA discussed two platforms for engaging youth in social entrepreneurship and poverty reduction and rural revitalization — the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) and the Rural Revitalization, Youth, and Social Entrepreneurship platform.

As part of the PRESENT platform, a Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Bill was codified to recognize and support social enterprises for their role in poverty reduction and sustainable development. 

“The PRESENT bill embodies an enabling policy environment that promotes social entrepreneurship as a strategy to promote poverty reduction in strategic economic subsectors and to build back better and fairer post-COVID-19,” Dr. Lisa Dacanay explained.

The PRESENT Bill provides for the recognition and qualification of social enterprises to avail of support programs and incentives to thrive, become sustainable, and uplift more people out of poverty.

Dr. Lisa Dacanay also underscored the importance of revitalizing rural economies through social entrepreneurship with youth as critical stakeholders. She noted that an enabling environment for youth engagement in social entrepreneurship for rural revitalization is a key pillar in achieving sustainable development. 

“We are engaging and investing in youth as social entrepreneurs and stakeholders in social entrepreneurship for poverty reduction and rural revitalization  to build a successor generation of social entrepreneurs and ensure intergenerational sustainability of social entrepreneurship for poverty reduction, rural revitalization, and sustainable development to achieve a future where no one is left behind,” she explained.

The Rural Revitalization, Youth, and Social Entrepreneurship platform is one of the platforms ISEA introduced in 2020 for inclusive recovery and building back fairer from COVID-19.

Learn more about the Rural Revitalization, Youth, and Social Entrepreneurship platform here: https://www.isea-group.net/platforms/rural-revitalization-youth-and-social-entrepreneurship/ and the PRESENT Bill and Coalition here: https://www.isea-group.net/what-we-do/present-coalition/