Filipino social entrepreneurs to get additional mentoring

GULF TODAY - Fifty-eight Filipino professionals in Dubai and the Northern Emirates who, on Saturday, presented 14 business plans for the solution to social problems in their country and those faced by overseas Filipinos (OF), will undergo further mentoring in the next several months.

The mentoring aims at fine-tuning the business plans which are the result of the six-month Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Programme (LSE) of the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government (AdMU-SoG) held on weekends at the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Al Qusais, Dubai.

Philippine Business Council-Dubai secretary and LSE-Dubai-Secretariat head Leo Barrameda told The Gulf Today that the mentoring will be pursued despite the fact that some members of the 14 teams are ready to start their businesses within the next few months.

A source said some of the teams have been in touch or have begun negotiating with chosen business partners in the UAE.

During the business presentations simulating thesis/dissertation defence, it was observed that some of the 14 teams had gone to the extent of personally approaching Philippines selected local government units as well as private and public individuals to concretise their business plans by early 2016.

An example is the “Out-of-the-Box” business plan of Owen Sanchez, Arthur Chico, Shane Mesina and Claudine Mae Hurtada.

The group will set up a community convenience store in Marikina City, on the east of the national capital region of Metro Manila. Their employees will be “qualified” reformed delinquents.

Human resource practitioner-psychologist Sanchez, whose family from Marikina has been into consumer retail and politics, said the purpose is to provide a channel by which reformed delinquents can be reintegrated into the mainstream.

Hurtada said there is a pending bill in the Philippines’ House of Representatives on the “Reintegration of Delinquents into the Society”, dated 2014.   

On the sidelines of the Saturday business presentations, Barrameda said: “I will personally go after them. Our goal is to have the business plans realised and thus, the mentoring, which is very important.”

Seven top-calibre panellists from the fields of business, finance, marketing, retail, human resources and the Philippine government critiqued the business plans that ran from 9am to 8:30pm. 

On Saturday, LSE-Dubai Batch 1 JR Papel announced that a group of like-minded individuals had contributed Php50,000 (Dhs4,545) as seed money to a chosen business plan from among the over 20 business plans submitted through the LSE-Dubai. This has been so, since the course was introduced in the UAE by PCG-Dubai and PBC-Dubai in 2012.

The chosen business plan shall be nominated by the LSE-Dubai Secretariat and the final decision will be taken by the benefactors.

Papel said the seed money with no interest rate is in support of the Filipinos in the UAE who are into the development of “unique or pioneering” business enterprises with the social responsibility component towards a “societal or technological need.”

 The seed money shall be returned or paid back after the first year of the operations of the chosen business plan to fund another.