What is Social Entrepreneurship?

Updated: April 11, 2011

Recently, a friend went to ECHOstore in Serendra to buy Monks’ Blend Premium Coffee after reading about it on The Thirsty Blogger.

She’s never been to ECHOstore before, so I sent her a text message to ask if she was able to find the place.

She replied, “Oh yes! The place was easy to find. And I loved it there, it’s like a Pinoy-version of The Body Shop but something more. Thanks!”

I knew she’d love it there, it’s a one-of-a-kind place where you can buy not only home-grown coffee beans, but also fashion, beauty, health and wellness products made locally by different Filipino communities.

Inside ECHOstore in Serendra

ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle is the concept business of the Environment & Community Hope Organization (ECHO). And in the Philippines, it is just one of the many social enterprises which helps small marginalized, cultural communities in building profitable livelihood.

It is a business venture with a social cause and a fine example of what social entrepreneurship is all about.

Kape Isla and ECHOstore from the outside

What is Social Entrepreneurship?

Social entrepreneurship is what a social entrepreneur does – and that is to create businesses that address social problems such as poverty and unemployment on a long-term and large-scale perspective.

According to Bill Drayton, a well-known social entrepreneur, this is more than just “giving communities fish” and “teaching communities how to fish”. It is “helping the community to revolutionize the fishing industry itself”.

Social entrepreneurs primarily seek and create social value before profits. They identify the resources available in the community and help them unleash its potential for sustainable livelihood.

They work with marginalized and disadvantaged sectors and empower them to create a system that alleviates their community from poverty. Then they leverage their success to persuade and help other communities to follow their example.

And that’s what Chit Juan, Reena Francisco, Jeannie Javelosa, Illac Diaz, Bing Sibal-Limjoco, Ruth Callanta and many other Filipino social entrepreneurs are doing today.

With travel blogger, Enrico Dee (www.byahilo.com) and social entreprenuer, Illac Diaz during the Pahiyas Festival 2010.

Their commitment, vision and determination have transformed and will continue to transform villages, organizations and foundations from passive beneficiaries of aid – into active, competent and income-generating communities who help themselves as well as others.

And it’s our turn to do our part, it’s a challenge we can all pursue – to become more than just an entrepreneur… and become a social entrepreneur that serves our fellow countrymen.

Another form of social entrepreneurship is having Corporate Social Responsibility, an example is Binalot’s Dahon Community Project. I suggest you read that also.

Learn more on how to become a first class entrepreneur that truly provides value by subscribing to Ready To Be Rich.


  1. Do you know where I can find information (particularly the instructions) on Illac Diaz’ solar light project using a bottle and clorox (I think)? Thanks

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