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Social entrepreneurship: creating business, not charity

More than just assisting the under-privileged, social entrepreneurship goes a long way in creating a social, environmental, and financial impact in society by creating value at every step of the supply chain process that eventually results in self-fulfillment for all parties concerned.

Not to be confused with charity or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), since these involve the rather swift turnover of the necessary material or financial resources needed, social entrepreneurship involves a lengthier process where each and every step is monitored to assure of quality processes and products in its entirety.

“The social entrepreneur creates innovative solutions to society’s pressing problems with the objective of wide scale change. These involve change agents, improving the systems, invention of new applications, and the creation of solutions to problems,” Jeannie Javelosa declared in her presentation on “Social Entrepreneurship: Solution to Women’s Economic Empowerment.”

Javelosa is the co-founder of the Echo (Environment, Community, Hope, Organization) Store Sustainable Lifestyle located at Streetscape Arcade situated right before the entrance of the Maria Luisa Village in Banilad, Cebu. Over 80 percent of their customers are young mothers and suppliers-based sectors that are well aware of the significant meaning behind each and every product.

The store sells natural and organic products, fair trade coffees and teas, kiddie and adult cosmetics and toiletries, home basics, and even restaurant meals and foodstuff; all of which represents the ideals of health, fair trade, and environmental care.

Key words and phrases she highlighted for young social entrepreneurs during Javelosa’s presentation were digital, green businesses, power of social media, do-gooders, disruptors, volunteerism, pressing social problems, and crowdfunding.

She admitted that being a social entrepreneur is no easy task due to misinterpretation from outside parties and the difficulty of sourcing the necessary stocks, but Javelosa has managed to overcome the challenges with the help of her two partners.

“We identified and stopped the gaps. We dreamt big and became change agents. We accelerated, pivoted and innovated. Most of all, we advocated for locavorism, culture and artisanship, slow food, fair trade, community support, green living, and women,” she said.

Javelosa was also named as one of the Top 50 women-led businesses in the entire Asian Pacific Economic Community comprising over 10 countries in the continent.

EchoStore presently has nine branches nationwide, six of which are located in the National
Capital Region, and one each in Davao, Iloilo, and Cebu.

Social Entrepreneurship is one of highlights of the month-long Cebu Business Month as organized by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI).