Young social entrepreneurs from all over Metro Manila, together with the participants from Eurasianet’s Keep Your Eyes Open project gathered last June 22 for Get Lit!: Engaging the Youth in Social Entrepreneurship seminar-workshop held at the School of Design and Arts, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.
The seminar-workshop is the culminating activity of the Keep Your Eyes Open project, a capacity-building activity focused on strengthening the capacities of youth workers in the field of social entrepreneurship, led by Eurasianet. Eurasianet is a multidimensional network of social entrepreneurs across Europe and Asia that allows its members to exchange and innovate good practices in the social business field to foster youth social entrepreneurship.
Together with the project’s partner organizations: Eurasianet, Open M, Europski Dom Slavonski Brod and D’Avent, and funded by the European Commission, Get Lit aims to identify the issues and challenges in the Philippine Social Entrepreneurship scene, allow its participants to exchange best practices and solutions to these issues, and create an informal network of social entrepreneurs in the Philippines.
Social Entrepreneurship in the Philippines
“Social enterprises must come together to create a bill (on social entrepreneurship) and push the government,” says Erwin Lizarondo, a social innovation consultant and mentor for social enterprises in Taiwan, South Korea and the Philippines, and the speaker for the first discussion of the event.
The first discussion of the event is focused on Social Entrepreneurship in the Philippines. Lizarondo discussed about the current state of Social Entrepreneurship in the country, particularly legislations which would develop and promote the industry.
“If we don’t have a law, it’s hard to make social enterprises accountable for the changes they want to make,” says Lizarondo.
Currently, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) registers social enterprises as small-scale enterprises, since social enterprises are not yet legally recognized by DTI. However, social entrepreneurs and enterprises in the Philippines continue to grow and multiply, with non-profit organizations utilizing them as a way to provide sustainable livelihood for their beneficiaries.
Engaging the Youth
The second panel composed of Vicky Atlani, Partnerships and Project Manager of Eurasianet; Lily Flordeliz, Executive Director of Bahay Tuluyan; and Audrey Tangonan, Founder and Director of Sinaya Cup, all shared their experiences and challenges in working with the youth in social entrepreneurship.
“As a youth, there is an edge to not being conditioned with the status quo to start a business,” says Audrey Tangonan, as she discusses the advantage of being a young social entrepreneur.
At 27, Audrey founded Sinaya Cup, a Filipino brand of menstrual cups that empowers women in underprivileged communities by giving seminars on reproductive health care.
Bahay Tuluyan, a non-government organization that provides a variety of programs and services aimed at preventing and responding to abuse and exploitation of children in the Philippines, provides opportunities for their young beneficiaries to learn life skills for sustainable livelihood through their social enterprises.
“…Because that’s where our heart is, that the youth become successful, that they know the value of their training,” says Lily Flordeliz.
Get Lit’s primary goal is to use non-formal education and “learning by doing” methods to foster youth employment through social entrepreneurship, hone their creativity and leadership skills towards entrepreneurship and to mobilize them in creating social impact through business.
Despite the challenges faced by the three panelists in their respective organizations, Atlani encourages the participants by sharing how Eurasianet has overcome its setbacks and bumps along the way.
“Failure is a part of a path. Take it as a strength to inspire your path,” says Atlani.
Get Lit serves as a culminating activity to the Keep Your Eyes Project where they created a multinational network of young social entrepreneurs between Europe and Asia.
To get to know more about how social entrepreneurship impacts communities and families, learn more about Virlanie’s social enterprise, Likhaya. Visit: https://www.virlanie.org/integration-programs/likhaya-by-virlanie/