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October 2017

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 oct 2017

Social enterprises are businesses driven by the purpose to do social good and work for the uplifment and betterment of society. Business corporations too are creating similar impact through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and often partner with social enterprises. The concept of doing good while making money is becoming mainstream. According to a survey by Rappler, '90% of millennials today value purpose as highly as salary and career progression in choosing their place of work. They prioritize impactful businesses that are sustainable and responsible in conducting their operations.' Thomas Graham, founder of MAD (Make A Difference) Travel and author of 'The Genius of the Poor', explains how a community of social entrepreneurs, 'Gawad Kalinga (GK) Enchanted Farm' in Bulacan (Near Manila, Philippines), is making a difference in the local community and market, what for-profit businesses can learn from their way of working, and provides an example of a growing social enterprise that is part of the system. Even Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International, visited the GK Enchanted Farm, a 42-hectare farm-village-university, not only to give back but also to meet the entrepreneurs there and learn more about how their values-driven approach has been able to make an impression in the market. Mr. Graham says, 'The greater goal of the farm, however, is not to convince everyone to become a social entrepreneur, but to demonstrate that doing business in the spirit of 'walang iwanan' (no one gets left behind) can be beneficial to everyone, no matter how big or small a business is.' Explaining the working model of a social enterprise in the GK farm, 'Plush and Play' (founded by a Frenchman Fabien Courteille), Mr. Graham says, 'Instead of conducting a more conventional business approach, which might involve extensive market research and a strict business model, followed by the importing of skills from elsewhere, Courteille instead spent his time living in the GK village, discovering the aspirations and talents of the community - in this case, sewing - and building a business plan out through unleashing the potential he saw before him.' Mr. Courteille comments, 'I did not choose an industry, but a beneficiary.' There are lessons that are to be learned from the working and progress of social enterprises. Mr. Graham says, 'Of course, 'Plush and Play' still has a long way to go before its volume of sales can compete with other mainstream brands in the Philippines, but there are lessons we can take from Courteille progress thus far. As consumers become increasingly patriotic and socially/environmentally conscious, having a great and authentic story to tell can set you apart, even in the most congested of markets. In this sense, doing good really does make good business sense.' He further explains, 'There are over 40 different social enterprises all at varying stages of growth and development, but what is to learn from them is valuable to any business: hard work, resilience, ingenuity, creativity, innovation, sustainability and taking care of one's employees and environment.' Read on...

BusinessMirror: Big businesses could learn from social enterprises
Author: Thomas Graham


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 oct 2017

Handling failures effectively is an important aspect of learning from the process of doing. When it comes to social entrepreneurship, understanding the dynamics of failure may be more complex then for-profit entrepreneruship. While pursuing social goals for the betterment of the world, it might be harder to reconcile and recuperate when one fails. Keep the following things in mind when one recovers from failure in the social sector - (1) You raised awareness: Understand the value of spreading a good idea and message. It can be a satisfaction in itself. (2) You learned what not to do: Lessons learned from the failed project can lay the foundation for success in future projects. (3) Your leadership will be refined: Leading a social impact organization is very challenging. Skills get honed and further developed during the process. Failure can bring humility, ownership, accountability and resiliency - the traits of an influential leader that can embark on the tough journey of bringing social change and serving others. Read on...

Forbes: 3 Ways Social Entrepreneurs Can Think About Failure Differently
Author: Tori Utley


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