Stories of Social Enterprises Exhibiting their Purpose During COVID-19

By Dorelene V. Dimaunahan, MScM, CFE, CMA, CHRP



The COVID19 pandemic is one of the unexpected and most difficult encounters that the whole world is facing this 2020. In the Philippines, there this has resulted in a lot of collaboration among small and medium enterprises (SMEs), resulting in advocacies and organizations, where they voice out their projects, primarily through social media.


Social enterprises, most of whom are also SMEs, known to have a hybrid purpose (to fulfil their social and environmental role and to sustain their operations), have been playing a very big role during the pandemic. They have exhibited their social and environmental purpose through their heroic actions, in spite of the challenges that they are also facing as a company. Here are some of their stories to inspire and enlighten you.


Bambike

Bambike is a socio-ecological enterprise that makes hand-made bicycles with fair-trade labor and sustainable building practices. The builders of their aesthetically and durable bamboo bikes are known as Bambuilders. The company is well-known in Intramuros for their Bambike Ecotours, where tourists can rent their bikes and tour the walled city.


During the pandemic, their founder, Mr. Bryan McClelland, came up with a campaign called Rent a Bambike for Frontliners. Since then, Bambike has been able to provide bamboo bikes to frontliners in Manila, Quezon City, Pasig and eve in Iloilo.


Citihub

Citihub is a social enterprise targeting low-income workers, by reducing the latter’s cost of living. The company started initially as a corporate social responsibility program, headed by its founder, Mr. Panya Boonsirithum. They are also one of the companies who employ persons with disabilities (PWDs).


The company used a very innovative idea of converting shipping containers into rooms. From its first branch in Mandaluyong, they now have three other locations, namely Balintawak, Sta. Mesa and Cainta. All branches are strategically located near PUV areas, making it more convenient for Citihub’s target market.


During the pandemic, Citihub ensured the health and safety of its tenants and staff, by coming up with Guidelines on COVID19 prevention and control. They also came up with a campaign featuring various Tiktok videos, which did not only serve as sources of entertainment, but more importantly, helped raise more than P200,000 worth of donations.


MAD Travel

Make A Difference (MAD) Travel is a social enterprise that creates impactful, inspiring and authentic travel communities, together with marginalized communities that they support.


During the pandemic, a crowdfunding campaign primarily for their communities in Zambales and Bataan was launched by the company. The campaign immediately gained support from many individuals and partner entities, such as Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).


Interestingly, MAD Travel was able to shift operations and create a brand called Make A Difference (MAD) Market, founded by Mr. Rafael Dionisio, who is also an advocate of sustainability. MAD Market is an online platform that supports farmers, fellow social enterprises and SME, by directing their products to the direct buyers or consumers. MAD Market supports communities such as Benguet, Davao, Rizal, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and Bataan. Because of this pivot in their business model, more value is now being given to farmers, as well as local communities.


About the Writer:

Dorelene V. Dimaunahan, MScM, CFE, CMA, CHRP has been handling various business portfolios for 12 years, some of which she is a Director of and has held an Executive Position. She is also an author, a host/anchor and a faculty member of Ateneo De Manila University (John Gokongwei School of Management - Leadership and Strategy), De La Salle University (College of Business - Decision Sciences and Innovation Department), University of Asia and the Pacific School of Management (School of Management) and Center for Culinary Arts. As a consultant and mentor, Dorelene specializes in various entrepreneurship and management areas for small and medium-scale enterprises and social enterprises, such as but not limited to, business startup, setup and expansion, strategic planning, internal audit, and corporate governance, franchise management, organizational development, events/project/portfolio management, contract negotiations, human resources development, management accounting and financial analysis, market research, paralegal and government compliance work, systems documentation and process improvement, to name a few.

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