Empowering Filipino Social Enterprises: How We Do It at the ISIP Social Impact Accelerator
By Marielle Bordado
Our aim at the Social Impact Accelerator is to increase the chances of getting Social Enterprises (SEs) funded either by banks or impact investors. Having that in mind, company building is essential in achieving this goal.
Using Dado Banatao’s Five Success Factors as our main framework, we ensure that SEs in the acceleration program undergo key activities that help them refine their business modeling and fundraising, brand building and business development, and team building.
Here’s a short overview on how the ISIP Social Impact Accelerator works to help SEs in the Philippines scale up and become investment-ready.
We conduct regular check-ins with the SEs to understand their needs better and align support to what is relevant for their businesses. As we track their progress , we continuously gauge whether the support we provide aligns to their direction. During check-ins, we keep track of each SE’s accomplishments, milestones, lessons learned, and updates on their products or services.
“The ISIP Team itself helped in this change through their constant checking and monitoring of the status of Bambuhay as a social enterprise”
-Mark Gersava, Bambuhay
These are meetings where the SE Founders are given the chance to consult and gain feedback from key experts. Areas covered during Office Hours include Legal, Design, Marketing, Finance, Strategy, Technology, and Fundraising. Some of the Office Hours previously held were with Dado Banatao (PhilDev Chairman and Founder), and Omar Sultan (Co-Founder and Managing Partner Sultan Ventures, XLR8UH).
"Dado advised us to focus on the product. When we adjusted our product to fit the market, that was the time we realized what needs to be done and which strategies to use."
–Kevin Baldonado, Taxumo
Based on the needs assessment of the SEs, we conduct learning sessions that are relevant to their businesses. We invite resource speakers and industry experts to share valuable knowledge and firsthand experience on key topics.
“We are still on the process [of streamlining our financials] but the ISIP Team ha been helping me in doing the [financial] projections so that we’ll definitely create a significant long-term impact for us,”
–Ryan Gersava, Virtualahan
“We [use] the ideas presented in the entrepreneurship lectures against our own ideas for implementation and see how it can work for us [when we present to clients]”,
-Raffy Concepcion, SolarSolutions
Pitch Practice Sessions
We believe that constant practice helps SEs better refine their pitch to investors. This aims to help SE founders better communicate their product and their asks to potential investors, giving them a better chance at getting funding.
“The invited guests for the pitch practice like Paco Sandejas of PhilDev and James Lette of Manila Angel Investors Network helped us focus more on the nuts and bolts of the presentation, what to expect and adjusting our expectations accordingly”
–Raffy Concepcion, Solar Solutions
Aside from supporting the SEs in the Social Impact Accelerator, ISIP also aims to contribute in strengthening the local social entrepreneurship ecosystem. These activities are geared towards involving other members of the community and collaborating towards creating a more vibrant ecosystem
“Being surrounded by these different social enterprises makes us more motivated to push for the impact we want to make”
–Oskie King, Cleaning Lady
One of the valuable features that the Social Impact Accelerator is providing is the expert guidance and counseling on SEs regarding issues they are facing in their business. Aside from PhilDev Trustees who are entrepreneurs and industry leaders, the mentorship pool also include experts from Silicon Valley, US HEIs, social entrepreneurship workshop speakers, and partner individuals from various local and international corporations. (See list of mentors here)
“One critical thing that ISIP helped us with was referring us to our mentor… Art [Tan of IMI, a semiconductor company] was able to help out with our technical problems, the redesign of our product, and also to bring the cost of manufacturing down”
–Zes Martinez II, FAME
“He (Jones Castro) gave us a better appreciation of what investors would like to see in our financials like for instance, whenever we submit an investor pitch deck, it did not have the right components. After a few sessions with him, we were able to get tips from an expert”
–Matthew Par, Gaz Lite
Impact Management Tool
To help the SEs better realize the impact they are creating, we work with Business Call to Action (BCtA)’s Impact Lab to help them come up with a framework for measuring their impact. We also provide impact management tools to make sure that they effectively measure this impact, guiding them in making important business decisions.
Legal and Management Support Services
Compliance is one of the main challenges faced by SEs here in the Philippines. At the Social Impact Accelerator, we provide support to the SEs to enhance the ease of doing business. ISIP has partnered with various firms to provide free legal advisory services as well as management advisory services like tax, audit, and compliance consulting. Through these, the SE Founders can focus better on running their business and get free access to professional legal and governance advice for their business.
Free Use of Co-Working Space
We know the importance of a working space for the SE Founders to run their businesses while learning at the same time. We provide a free co-working facility which provides the SEs not only a physical office but also a venue for them to collaborate and work with other SEs.
“I am very sure that others may know something that you do not, that can help your business. Each may come from different industries or may use different approaches, but there can be lessons that are applicable to your business”
–Stephen Larcia, Hiraya Water on sharing experiences and learning from other SEs in the program
To help the SEs access capital and funding for their business, we bring them together with potential investors through the Investor Roundtables. Through these sessions, they get the opportunity to engage investors and financing institutions to present their business and explore potential collaborations.
The Demo Day is one of the highlights of Social Impact Accelerator. SEs pitch to potential investors, funder, and creditors. We bring together the vast network of UNDP Philippines, PhilDev, and the Australian Embassy in the Philippines, to bring local and international funders and impact investors in one venue.
The Social Impact Accelerator is one of the strategies under the Innovation for Social Impact Partnership (ISIP) project co-implemented by UNDP in the Philippines, PhilDev Foundation, and the Australian Embassy in the Philippines.
Learn more about the Social Impact Accelerator and see if your SE is what we’re looking for.