It is not everyday that my work events give me the opportunity to be exposed to noteworthy causes. Last year was a career highlight as I had the opportunity to attend this year’s Social Business Summit (SBS) held at the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farms in Angat, Bulacan.
SBS brings together social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, volunteers and Gawad Kalinga supporters from all over the world for a three-day gathering where “Th business of doing good is celebrated.”
What is social entrepreneurship?
Ashoka.org defines it as “social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change.
Rather than leaving societal needs to the government or business sectors, social entrepreneurs find what is not working and solve the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to move in different directions.”
In short, social entrepreneurs go beyond the P&L spreadsheets, they are visionaries and realists with a goal to change society in any little way they could.
All throughout the three day activity, I had the good fortune of listening to social entrepreneurs and change makers explain “the business of doing good” – how earning and helping people towards self sufficiency is an empowering experience. I had the opportunity of meeting some entrepreneurs, all of whom are growing their produce at the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm. One social entrepreneur I met is TJ, a pharma executive by day and a passionate bee farmer in his spare time, as well as a lot of other people who call the farm their home during weekends and holidays.
The team also had fun discovering the many livelihoods inside the farm – they have an animal farm, bee farm, a facility where the famous Bayani Brew is made as well as a training facility.
Inside the self sufficient village, fifty families lived, often times volunteering their time and effort for the many chores inside the farm like working in the kitchen or working around beautification projects around the village.
There were also students from around the world (most were from France) attending the GK University where they learn more about social entrepreneurs. These students also volunteers for tasks around the farm.
Spending the weekend with Gawad Kalinga has renewed and strengthened my belief on the resilience of the Filipino spirit. We rise well against challenges.
The roots planted by Gawad Kalinga founder Tony Meloto remains strong and seems to be growing more than ever. In fact, Gawad Kalinga chapters are now present in other countries and is continuously growing. A proof that doing good is always an exciting affair.