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Banes and boons of social enterprise

While many stick to the dictum that “business is business,” one need not focus largely on profit maximization as THE major business motive since there exists several other issues and alternatives to typical business methods that can help uplift the plight of the other stakeholders involved.

Social enterprise is an ideal alternative; an organization with a culture centered on human values and exists to create societal impact alongside an ethical and viable business model. Included here are organizations from the cottage industry to medium-sized enterprises with a maximum asset cap of PhP50 million.

For issues and concerns on low profitability and sustainability, an authority of social enterprises recommends that the leaders of social enterprises can look for ways to achieve efficient operations while minimizing costs.

Social enterprise tips

“For market penetration/distribution channels, it helps to develop and understand targets, innovation, network, and make available all possible distribution channels,” declared Atty. Alexander Cabrera, chair and senior partner of Isla Lipana & Co.

Regarding product differentiation, Cabrera recommends the maintenance of quality and product strengths, responding to market needs, frequent innovations, knowledge of competitors, and respect for customer feedback.

“When faced with zeal for profit over social good, one should develop and review vision, mission, and goals when milestones are achieved; develop qualitative and quantitative targets of your social mission to keep track of actual progress, especially if the impact of the social mission is not properly tracked,” he said during the Developmental Social Enterprise Awards Roundtable Discussion held at the Cebu Parklane International Hotel.

If the organization fails to catch up on good governance, he advises the leaders to know all the requirements, consider investing on good governance, join networks and industry organizations. “Always do what is right, no matter how small,” Cabrera added.

Other featured speakers were Joji Pantoja, CEO for Coffee for Peace; Regina “Nanette” Antequisa, executive director of ECOWEB; and Anya Lim, co-founder of ANTHILL Fabrics.

All three female speakers were past finalists of the annual Developmental Social Enterprise Awards (DSE Awards).

For more information, on the Developmental Social Enterprise Awards, visit www.dseawards.com.

 

By RICHARD RAMOS

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