social enterprise

House Bill 6085, otherwise known as the Social Enterprise Act, seeks to organize and strengthen the social enterprise (SE) sector through government support that will eventually make these industries sustainable.

It will provide incentives for SEs in exchange for the social and environmental values that they create for the society.

The Social Enterprise Act has not yet been enacted into law, but is supported by many business groups and non-government organizations who see it as a source of people empowerment down to community level.

Social enterprises (SE) are defined as businesses with a social mission that includes caring for the environment, economic viability or sustainability, and improving the lives of the marginalized, especially impoverished sectors.

Unlike ordinary businesses, social enterprises generate profit with due regard to social and environmental costs and makes a proactive contribution to resolving social and environmental problems.

The major incentives and benefits that the proposed act seeks to provide to social enterprises are:

1.      Access to capital and other resources

2.      Funds for capability building

3.      Marketing, research and systems development support

4.      Preferential rights of SEs to government procurement

5.      Cash incentives to SEs that employ persons with disabilities.

6.      Creation of a Social Enterprise Commission

There are about 30,000 social enterprises in the country operating through various forms such as corporations, non-government organizations doing SEs, cooperatives, and foundations.

Major players in the SE sector include the producers of organic agricultural products, coco coir, muscovado sugar, organic rice, essential oils, bamboo, educational toys, school chairs, brewed coffee, health and wellness goods and other innovative products.

The principal author of the bill is Rep. Lorenzo Tanada III.

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