The co-founders of The Good Store with some of the local social entrepreneurs and community partners.
A 2015 report by The British Council describes the social enterprise scene in the Philippines as vibrant and growing. As early as 2007, there were already 30,000 registered social enterprises in the country as stated in the report. Ms. Maria Angela Flores of the PH British Council notes that the majority of these social enterprises are product or commodity-based. It is in these sentiments that they have founded the I am a Changemaker Social Enterprise Competition in 2009. Through that program, they were able to grant more than 3 million pesos to fund 30 Philippine social enterprises from 2009 to 2014. They have also trained social entrepreneurs by equipping them with skills needed for their community building programs.
If you are encountering the term social enterprise for the first time, the UK government defines it in the same report as “a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.” It further describes social enterprises as “businesses that exist to address social and environment needs, [and] focus on reinvesting earnings into the business and/or the community.” Simply put, a social enterprise is a business with a purpose. It supports a particular cause that benefits a community.
Now in its eighth year, the BPI Sinag program of the BPI Foundation, is another organization that empowers social enterprises in the Philippines. They aim to empower social entrepreneurs in various Filipino communities by giving them opportunities for technological, social, and market innovations. By making the poor and marginalized as partakers in the business, they take on empowered roles as workers, suppliers, and co-owners. In this way, development becomes more inclusive where everyone is inspired to grow and prosper.
With its goal to eradicate poverty and restore human dignity, Gawad Kalinga is a prime mover in the social enterprise landscape of the Philippines. They broke bread with the poorest of the poor in the barangays and started to build their homes through volunteers and members of the CFC ministry. Those initiatives grew and evolved into a comprehensive program that did not only give the poor shelter and fish to eat but most especially taught them how to fish. Their banner program, GK Enchanted Farm is a community complex in Bulacan which became a melting pot of ideas and case studies of social entrepreneurs from all over the world. Over the years, it was able to produce quality products, created livelihood programs, and became a seedbed of startups that empowered, employed and engaged the poor.
After being exposed to these programs and institutions, the founders of The Good Store saw the need of marketing and showcasing these social good products in the online world. While there are a lot of platforms available online, there aren’t a lot of spaces which celebrate and focus solely on products by social enterprises here in the country. Charged by their experience in volunteer organizations, they put up www.thegoodstore.ph as an online marketplace where products of community-based and cause-driven enterprises are sold to support worthy causes. By highlighting the “good” and the different stories behind each product, customers will be able to appreciate more the history and worth of the items in their online rack.
The Good Store not only aims to merchandise the products of these communities, they also advocate to empower them. By holding community visits and arranging community meetups, the co-founders are able to listen to their stories, share best practices, and as much as possible, help the social entrepreneurs with their business struggles on day to day operations and promotions.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, business operations became all the more painful for entrepreneurs and their partner workers. Some social enterprises had to stop production due to strict quarantine protocols and social distancing measures. The community partners need all the help they can to sustain their business and thrive in these difficult times. But through your purchases on this site, your help can definitely go a long way. Through your support we will be able to feed more families, provide employment opportunities to impoverished communities, and altogether change the lives of our fellow Filipinos in need.
Right now, The Good Store has a significant list of community partners that help spread goodness to the world through products that support sustainability, community development, women empowerment, autism awareness, PWD support, and many more. Visit our shop tab now and add your favorites to your cart. And together, let us do more GOOD.