Maybank Foundation honored 20 physically disabled entrepreneurs who grew their income by 250 percent over three months through its livelihood program.
In the second phase of the pilot program, dubbed Reach Independence and Sustainable Entrepreneurship, or RISE, the foundation presented on Tuesday the top earners comprising 40 percent of the 255 participants from the cities of Manila and Cebu.
Maybank launched RISE this year to help make the marginalized sector become economically independent through entrepreneurial education, training and mentorship.
Instead of cash funds, the participants open bank accounts with Maybank and avail themselves of its products that match their business outlook.
Maybank from the very start identified the Philippines as testing ground for the program. Executives believe the program is the only bank initiative at the moment deliberately targeting persons with disabilities (PWDs) as clients.
Aside from the Philippines, Maybank has helped 2,100 participants from its home country Malaysia and Indonesia.
“The RISE program seeks to implement financial inclusion among differently abled communities. Taking on this advocacy is Maybank’s way of driving the bigger regional agenda of furthering financial inclusion across the Asean,” Maybank Officer in Charge Hazli Abu Samah said in the ceremony at Maybank Performing Arts Theater in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
Executives of the Malaysian-based bank said they were delighted with the success of Filipino participants. Some have been earning more than P30,000 monthly from zero.
Napoleon Castillon, who acquired the paralyzing disease Poliomyelitis, takes home P35,370 to his family of five children by selling food supplements.
“Spend on and help more PWDs because you can see only few of us have good jobs and do business. We really cannot compete,” he said in his testimonial.
According to Maybank, 70 percent of the marginalized sector in Asean are PWDs.
Maybank Foundation CEO Shahril Azuar Jimin said P4.1 million worth of funds had been set aside from an aggregate P6.4-million purse over the next two years.
“It is a very meaningful moment for us as we have seen and announced the success of the RISE program. This will make them motivated and create awareness before we embark on a larger scale,” Shahril said.
The executives vowed to continue allocating funds for PWDs while, at the same time, open the program to more marginalized groups in the Asean, such as single mothers and abused women, who account for an estimated 30 percent of the overlooked sector. However, the basic criteria for selecting the participants will remain the same. The recommended participants by public institutions, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, must attend interviews, submit business-performance reports weekly and participate in six-month mentorship.
People Systems Consultancy, Maybank’s partner for entrepreneurial mentorship, uses the process to ensure the bank invests in people who desire sustainable economic growth because many of the participants have failed to manage their businesses.