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Social enterprises in the Philippines – Ten awesome companies that you need to know about.

 
How prevalent are social enterprises in the Philippines? According to a 2015 report by the British Council, social enterprise in the Philippines is vibrant and growing, and in years to come, will have a much wider presence and impact.
More than a quarter of the 107 million population live below the poverty The country’s strong entrepreneurial culture that includes one million Medium and Small Enterprises, account for 99% of all businesses. According to a survey in 2007 there were 30,000 social enterprises established in the country.
Below are some social enterprises in the Philippines that reinvests its profits in humanitarian and/or environmental causes that provide jobs for people and protect natural resources while helping improve living conditions.
 

1. BAMBIKE – Hand-made Bamboo Bicycles

bambike.com
 

BAMBIKE - Hand-made Bamboo BicyclesImage courtesy of Banmbike Evolution Cycles

Bambike,is a socio-ecological enterprise based in the Philippines in partnership with Gawad Kalinga, a movement that aims to address poverty in the country. ,
Bambike which manufacture hand-made bamboo bicycles, aims to make the greenest bikes on the planet. Their bamboo bike builders also known as Bambuilders, are hired local villagers that are provided with sustainable livelihoods. Before working as bike builders, these craftsmen were doing menial jobs in far places. Now, they are able to work, live, and participate in the development of their local communities.
The company’s social causes include environment, employment development and skills training, and poverty eradication. Other programs include sponsorship of preschool teachers, scholarships, a weekly feeding program for children, and maintenance of a bamboo nursery for reforestation.
 

2. ANTHILL Fabric Gallery – Fashion and Lifestyle Gallery

anthillfabricgallery.com
 

ANTHILL Fabric Gallery - Fashion and Lifestyle GalleryImage courtesy of changemakers.com

ANTHILL is a fashion and lifestyle gallery and workshop that specializes in handwoven fabrics and crafts. Its products include special fabrics woven into accessories, handbags, small gifts, jewelry pieces, and handmade dolls. fashion and lifestyle.
ANTHILL stands for Alternative Nest and Trading/Training Hub for Ingenious/Indigenous Little Livelihood Seekers. It is a social enterprise that gives importance to cultural tradition/identity. It operates through multiple weaving communities throughout the country. It buys their raw materials, and then uses the talents of local designers to transform these indigenous fabrics into contemporary items that are sold in the open market.
Proceeds from each purchase help promote handwoven fabrics and weaving traditions and create sustainable livelihoods for rural and indigenous communities such as the Aborigines.
 

3. Artwine – Felt Clothing and Accessories

shopartwine.com
 

Artwine - Felt Clothing and AccessoriesImage courtesy of Instafedhz

Artwine is a social enterprise made up of a team of designers and crafters who create colorful and whimsical pieces made from felt cloth. Their products included desk accessories, bags and pouches, clothing and cellphone accessories. With every Artwine purchase, a percentage of its revenue goes to the support of out-of-school youth and their families who live in marginalized communities in Talon Tres, Las Pinas City in Manila.
Their products are available in shops in the Philippines and abroad via their online site.
 

4. Bayani Brew – Responsible Iced Tea

bayanibrew.com
 

Bayani Brew - Responsible Iced Tea

Image courtesy of Dude for Food

Bayani Brew is part of Gawad Kalinga’s Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan which is an area transformed into a village university, social tourism destination, and where social enterprises are born. Supporting Bayani Brew is support to Gawad Kalinga’s many social programs geared towards reducing poverty. It provides housing and sustainable livelihoods in certain rural villages across the country.
Bayani Brew uses local & indigenous ingredients sourced from organic farming communities such as the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm. Its beneficiaries include Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan, Goodfood community in Tarlac and other subsistence farmers in the surrounding barangays.
Bayani Brew’s products are iced tea using of indigenous ingredients such as lemongrass, pandan, and sweet potato tops.
 

5. Benitez Collection – Eco-friendly Handmade Bangles and Beads

benitezcollection
 

Benitez Collection - Eco-friendly Handmade Bangles and Beads Image courtesy of asianjournal.com

 
Ramona Benitez McClelland founded the Benitez Collection as a social enterprise dedicated to promoting livelihood opportunities for women in poor communities in the Philippines. Women in the villages of GK Victoria and Ligtasin create eco-friendly handmade bangles and beads from found materials such as old newspapers, magazines, cardboard, used plastic bottles and non-toxic paints and varnishes. These materials are often harvested from garbage dumps or donated to them.
Ms. McClelland, who is the mother of the founder of Bambike and Bambowtie, also social enterprises, creates the design for the jewelry and teaches the women on how to make the beads and bangles. Her products are also sold in the US where she is based.
Sales and production of the Benitez Collection provide revenue and employment to underprivileged women in villages while 10% of the revenues are re-invested into Gawad Kalinga projects to help fight poverty in the communities.
 

6. Coffee For Peace (CFP)

coffeeforpeace.com
 

Coffee For Peace (CFP)Image courtesy of Learning from the Peacebuilders

7. Taclob – Environmentally Friendly & Weather-resistant Backpacks

taclob.com
 
Taclob - Environmentally Friendly & Weather-resistant Backpacks
Taclob manufactures environmentally friendly & weather-resistant backpacks made of upcycled jeans and high-grade Japanese tarpaulins called COMPASSION. And for each of these backpacks sold, Taclob gives out a COURAGE backpack to a student affected by hurricane Haiyan in Philippines. These special backpacks not only protect his books and school supplies but also function as a flotation.
Taclob bags are manufactured by workers who were victimized by the hurricane. The company is committed to creating jobs for the affected people and also provides training to help the workers learn new skills.
Profits from the sales of the COMPASSION backpacks are spent on workshops on disaster preparedness for the communities.

8. First Harvest – Eco Food Spreads

firstharvest.ph

First Harvest - Eco Food SpreadsImage courtesy of whatyvonneloves.com

 
First Harvest is a Filipino food brand that uses healthy ingredients to make their crowd-favorite products that include smooth Peanut Spread, Peanut Crunch, and Salted Coco Caramel. It is a social enterprise that aims for quality of life through jobs as well as to enrich agricultural industries.
First Harvest employs mothers from the Gawad Kalinga village in Angat Bulacan. Its food production, product development, and retail sales help provide employment to the socially disadvantaged. First Harvest, along with its community partners aims to establish food tolling facilities in at least 10 farms in the country.
The company buys only locally sourced products from the local farms and markets contributing to the development of nearby farming communities. First Harvest also reinvests a percentage of their profits into community development. They sponsor college scholarships to help empower the local youth in becoming future business leaders and company managers.
 

9. EcoIngenuity Inc – Fashionable Handbags and Accessories

ecoingenuity.happy.ph
 

EcoIngenuity Inc - Fashionable Handbags and AccessoriesImage courtesy of Jacinto & Lirio website

 
EcoIngenuity Inc. with its flagship brand, Jacinto & Lirio, that creates fashionable handbags and accessories made of the water hyacinth plant.
It is a social enterprise that create sustainable livelihoods for communities in creating stylish products using Philippine indigenous materials while helping control the proliferation of the hyacinth plant which is considered by experts as one of the leading causes of floods. EcoIngenuity works with water hyacinth communities in Laguna, Rizal, and other areas where there are huge water hyacinth infestations.
While addressing environmental concerns, First Harvest creates global design brands as it engages communities to produce high-end and eco-ethical fashion items. Purchases help sustain employment and support environmental and sustainable means of production while showcasing Filipino ingenuity and style.
 

10. Liter of Light – Sustainable Lighting

http://literoflight.org/
 

Liter of Light - Sustainable LightingImage courtesy of fastcoexist.com

The Liter of Light movement began in the Philippines with one bottle light. The movement grew to brighten not just homes in the Philippines, but in India, Indonesia, and even as far away as Switzerland.
Isang Litrong Liwanag (A Liter of Light) is MyShelter Foundation’s venture into a sustainable lighting project which aims to bring the eco-friendly solar bottle bulb to disprivileged communities nationwide.
Designed and developed by students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), The Solar Bottle Bulb is made from transparent 1.5-2L plastic bottle, typically used for carbonated drinks, and then filled with water and a little bleach then fitted through the roof of a house. The water inside the bottle refracts sunlight during the day and delivers about 40- to 60-watt incandescent light to the interior. If properly installed, the solar bottle can last up to 5 years.
In April 2011 Illac Diaz under the MyShelter Foundation used the technology as a social enterprise which was first launched in the Philippines. MyShelter Foundation also established a training center that conducts workshops to groups interested in volunteering their time to light up their communities.
 

Helpful articles and blog posts on social enterprises in the Philippines

 
We only recommend writers and blogs that we read regularly and believe will deliver substantial value to our readers. The following is our top picks of articles on social enterprises in the Philippines that we think are worth reading:
Jacinto&Lirio is the flagship brand of EcoIngenuity Inc. by Rick Passo
Getting Around Intramuros on a Bambike by Foot on the Loose
Coffee for Peace: Chill, Coffee, Tea, and Advocacy by MJ Crave
Travel Gear: The Best Travel Gifts for any Explorer by Team Fliptrip
Review: Bayani Brew iced tea by Rina
Do you have an awesome link to a relevant well written article that should be included here? If so, hit us up on Twitter by following and messaging us the link. Looking for the best budget stays in the Philippines? Check out our guide to the Philippines for further information.

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About the Author

Mad Monkey is Southeast Asia’s leading hostel operator — born in Cambodia with more properties in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Laos, and the Philippines. We pride ourselves in creating meaningful and sustainable travel experiences for our guests, whilst promoting socially responsible tourism.

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