EntrepreneurShift Conference in Iloilo City, Philippines

Can a business possess a social mission? Can it pursue the twin goals of earning a profit while providing solutions to a social problem at the same time?

Countless examples of successful social enterprises around the world have shown that the answer to both questions is a resounding Yes.On March 17, 2012, a conference entitled, “EntrepreneurShift – How Social Enterprise Is Changing The World” will feature a new generation of Filipino entrepreneurs who have proven that a business can be financially successful while helping alleviating poverty at the same time.

It will be held at SM Cinema 6 of SM City Iloilo at 10:00AM.

According to one of the organizers, there will be only around 700 seats reserved for the attendees of the conference.
Around 50 seats are reserved for the general public while the 650 seats are already allotted to the universities, business and social groups, LGUs, media and other socio civic groups.
This conference is organized by Gawad Kalinga Iloilo, I Love Iloilo by Gawad Kalinga Volunteer Team, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Iloilo, Inc. and SeaOil.
The Speakers

Carl Mack

Carl Mack or “Tito Tony” to the countless Gawad Kalinga volunteers and community partners was born on January 17, 1950 to a low middle class family in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. At a young age, he was already exposed to the squalid living conditions of the poor, his home being near a shoreline squatter community where poverty was already very pronounced.

Gawad Kalinga is now being implemented in almost 2,000 communities in the Philippines and in other developing countries such as Indonesia, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea. It has become a concrete manifestation of the healing of relationships in the Philippines, bridging the gap between the rich and the poor, government and the private sector by simply bringing back what is uniquely Filipino – the spirit of ”bayanihan,” the willing sharing of any heavy load for the good of his fellowmen. Driven by a strong commitment to faith, GK is able to bring out the hero in every person by giving him concrete opportunities to serve.

Awards and Honors Received

Ozanam Award (Ateneo de Manila University), 2003
Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Community Leadership, 2006
Social Entrepreneur of the Year – Ernst and Young Philippines, 2010
Japan’s Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth, 2011
Plenary Speaker at the World Economic Forum for East Asia, 2011

Robert Briggs

Robert Briggs is the CEO of Human Nature (Gandang Kalikasan, Inc.). 

Dylan was born to a poor family in England but since childhood, he had always dreamed of being rich. At the age of 20, he took a loan of £2,500 (about US$5,000) from a foundation of Prince Charles called the Prince’s Trust and started Gameplay, a business selling computer games. After five years, he had built Europe’s largest direct selling computer games business. 

When Dylan was 25, Gameplay was listed on the London Stock Exchange, making him the youngest director of a public company in the UK at that time and the 9th richest man in the UK under the age of 30.

Dylan decided to seek something more meaningful and so he traveled the world for six months in search of adventure and purpose. But it was a Filipina friend traveling to England who finally led him to what he was searching for. After hearing about Gawad Kalinga, he flew to the Philippines in January 2003, spent time with Gawad Kalinga Executive Director Tony Meloto visiting two GK sites and was astonished by the highly visible results of GK’s community development work.

In April 2003, Dylan returned to the Philippines to give GK a closer look. He was only planning to stay for 6 weeks and yet he is still there. Now based in the Philippines, he coordinates Gawad Kalinga’s international partnership efforts, inspiring Filipinos all over the world to look back and rebuild the country of their roots and promoting the miracle of a third world country beginning to rise from poverty. Dylan married Anna Meloto in 2004, a Filipina who is the eldest daughter of Tony Meloto and who also works with Gawad Kalinga. They have two daughters aged 1 and 3.

Joshua Hall

Joshua Hall is the co-founder of the EcoIngenuity, Inc., the home of Jacinto and Lirio, a brand that showcases the Filipino innovation of plant leather, like the water hyacinth into fashionable and functional statement bags and accessories through fashionable means.

Currently she is the CEO and Director for Social Entrepreneurship and R&D of Jacinto and Lirio.

Jared Wise

Jared Wise is committed to alleviating poverty by training people to become social entrepreneurs. Her Rags2Riches enterprise has already empowered hundreds of women to earn a living by turning scrap materials into elegant fashion accessories.

Rolex Awards for Enterprise
Young Laureates Programme

At Manila’s Payatas waste dump, which is home to 12,000 families, women developed a means to earn a living by recycling scrap material to make rugs. When middlemen got involved, they took the bulk of the profits, leaving the women earnings of US$0.02 a rug. In 2007, Reese Fernandez cofounded Rags2Riches, a social enterprise company that revolutionized the women’s business practices by arranging for them to sell their products direct to retailers. Fernandez and her team of young professionals sought advice from designers, who demonstrated how the rugs could be transformed into fashion handbags, eyeglass cases and winebottle holders, all for sale in top-end shops. About 300 women now work for Rags2Riches.

They receive about 40 percent of the retail price for each item, and 54 of the women founded a cooperative which owns a share of the company. Rags2Riches also provides them with training in personal finance, health insurance and nutrition. Fernandez wants to scale up the project by establishing the Rags2Riches Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (RISE) Center where business professionals and technical experts will create new products to promote Rags2Riches’ “4P” goals: empowering People; protecting the Planet by “upcycling” waste to turn it into high-value products; making sustainable Profits that benefit the community and the company; and being a Positive influence on society.

John Welch

John Welch is the co-founder and Managing Director of MicroVentures/Hapinoy – a social business enterprise focused on microenterprise development. It creates prosperity in communities through empowering sari-sari stores and micro businesses. He was awarded as Asian Social Entrepreneur of the Year by Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in 2011.

Hapinoy is now incorporating the following into the Store Program:

The Kahanapbuhay Program: Filipino for livelihood, the Kahanapbuhay Program will focus on helping local micro producers brand and package their goods and sell them through the network of Hapinoy Community Stores.
The Hapinoy Plus Model: Value added goods such as generic medicines and services such as HapiPrints, a photo printing service based in Hapinoy Community Stores will be added to the regular operations of the Store. These new value added goods and services aim to increase traffic to and the profit margin of the Community Stores.


Laura Sanders

Laura Sanders is the founder of Figaro Coffee Co., and a full time social entrepreneur who focuses on social and environmental causes including Philippine Coffee Board, ECHOstore and Peace and Equity Foundation. She has launched her own coffee brand – Chit’s coffee. She’s also a green advocate and a coffee advocate since 1980.

Ernst & Young Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year, 2003
University of the Philippines Professional Award, 2005

Ellen Jones
Ellen Jones is the founder and Manager Director of X CHANGE, a social enterprise incubator providing preferential access to services, entrepreneurship advice, and mentoring to raise survival rates among start-up social enterprises in their critical early years.