A corporation is privileged with a juridical personality, which in effect makes it a temporal being created with rights and privileges as well as duties and obligations. The primary purpose written in the incorporation document of a corporation spells out its essence of being and prescribes its boundaries of becoming towards corporate citizenship. It is logical therefore to oblige this corporate citizen to assume its social role with social rights as provider, political rights as channel, and civil rights as enabler. Simply, it is about being a good neighbor to a host community.
The quintuple bottom-line
The business goal of doing well takes a new objective of doing good. Innovation, being an indispensable element of entrepreneurial success, takes a new strategy of anchoring itself on the solid bottom-line of profit (economy), people (empowerment), and planet (ecology) aligned with a purpose, unique on its own embedded in the corporate DNA of the business.
The triple bottom-line further transforms to a more meaningful model for social entrepreneurship with a quintuple bottom-line to also include financial stability and ethico moral-legal sensitivity. The resultant outcomes are social equity, environmental sustainability, economic prosperity, and cultural vitality. Social entrepreneurship may endeavor to achieve one or any combination of these. The following illustrates the Social Entrepreneurship Framework proposed by this writer:
There are many great entrepreneurial stories championing these outcomes that can be told. They are businesses that prove to be agents of world benefit.
From the red ocean to the blue sky
From the bloody red ocean where enterprises are predators to survive, the blue ocean strategy emerges to make competition irrelevant by creating a new market space. A new business revolution paints a blue sky where the horizon extends to an infinite abundance. The blue hue in the sky is a reflection of the scattered blue light from the energizing sun as it converges with the molecules of the life-giving air. Social entrepreneurship is a revolutionary blue-sky mindset of abundance that blends the energizing profit for sustainability (like the sun) and the life-giving social benefits for its purpose (like the air).
There are local, regional, national and international exemplars of enterprises founded by entrepreneurs and continuously innovated towards meaningful existence as agents for world benefits. Here are some stories in the four areas of Social Entrepreneurship.
Story of social equity
Dante Tiosan was a 19-year-old college student when he became blind. He was a semester away from graduating in a College in Accountancy. He had been through a series of depression and struggles to adapt to the dark world before he found himself as a skilled home-service masseur. In 1989, he became a massage instructor for the blind. In three years, he realized that his trainees were not productive and hardly could make a living. He organized them under VIBES and started in 1992 as a home-servicing massage center. In less than a decade, VIBES has established in the malls, and currently has 56 branches—45 of which are owned by blind franchisees. Almost 500 blind masseurs are now productively working in VIBES, earning from P500 to more than P1,000 a day. Dante Tiosan may have lost his sight but never the vision for the blind.
A story of economic prosperity:
AT the age of 23, Emerson Atanacio became the youngest President & CEO of a college in the Philippines. He is called the Father of Manufacturing and Production Technology Education. He founded the LEAP (Learn-Earn-Achieve Program) where the companies provide trainees with training allowance, which becomes their source to pay their tuition fees. In the process of training, he impresses upon the youth the lessons in life: to labor to earn, to earn to live and to live to understand that the value of hard work is in itself one’s treasure—lessons that he envisioned will forge the tool for nation-building. Over 24,000 trainees, including out-of-school youths from different parts of the country, have benefited from his program and are now mostly employed. The youth were able to go back to school and be part of the productive mainstream of our society. He is a The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) awardee for Social entrepreneurship. Emerson Atanacio proved that the proof of learning is change.
A story of environmental sustainability:
Inspired by the success of China to overcome food shortages, the Lim Family engaged in performing research work on hybrid rice. Henry Lim Bon Liong has successfully led the developed hybrid rice varieties suitable to the tropical conditions in the Philippines. He is regarded as the Father of Hybrid Rice for having promoted the development, commercialization, and growth of hybrid rice technology. Collaborating with government agencies, he was able to launch the Doña Maria Rice brand with entrepreneurial strategies to ensure its commercial success. He now has contract growers for rice to whom he provides financing and income opportunities through the additional yield of 3-4 tons per hectare compared with their traditional variety. Through nationwide farmers education projects, he has advocated that maximum agricultural productivity is achievable only through sustainable agricultural practices. He makes available for the farmers the Planergy, a liquid organic element from volcanic pit and he leads the rejuvenation of the soil for the generations to come. To Henry Lim Bon Liong, the Philippines can rice (pun intended) and shine.
Story of cultural vitality
Finishing his Medical degree and passing the Physician Licensure Examination are both good news to Dr. Nol Montalbo until the bad news of family bankruptcy made them lose everything. All the hard-earned money of his father, who worked in Saudi Arabia for 28 years, vanished. With P1,500 borrowed from a classmate, he started making homemade soap in his kitchen, and he sold to friends and online. He decided to convert a space in their rented apartment to a small spa. He learned the different kinds of massage, took the DOH licensure examination for massage therapists, and topped it, and developed his own massage sequence. It was branded as Mont Albo Massage Hut, which niched in the offering of the traditional Filipino massage called hilot. He was passionate in the wellness value of the hilot and as a doctor advocated its revival as a mainstream massage option in the Philippines where Thai, Japanese and Swedish massages are more popular than its own traditional hilot. With Mont Albo Massage Huts, the Philippine traditional hilot perfected by our ancestors was revitalized and will be passed on to the next generations. Dr. Nol Montalbo has resurrected the grandmother’s way of finding health through serenity.
And there are more stories waiting to be made and told. While a business may somehow achieve some ulterior benefits from the chosen area of social entrepreneurship, the authenticity of its social value is measured by the benefits of the greater majority it honestly chooses to serve.
If indeed every generation calls for a revolution, our present generation calls for not only entrepreneurial revolution but also social entrepreneurship revolution. As the discrepancy between the rich and the poor widens—even wider than the diversity of the space for commodities and services—the real prosperity of an entrepreneur is derived from what others have become because of them. Social entrepreneurship is the blue ocean strategy where abundance is in its infinity because of the patronage it enjoys from growing markets (as the horizon), and the energizing profit that sustains the enterprise (as the sun) converges with the life-giving force of social benefits that make a difference (as the molecules of the air). The absence of any of these elements will not make the sky blue, and such a beautiful analogy on how business revolution should take the path and leave footprints to bring about changes that matter.
This is an abridged version of the chapter in the book Entrepreneur in 12 Days by the writer. Feedback may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org