Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

There are so many good things to say about the Philippines right now and one of them is the work of Gawad Kalinga. Here, I cover an amazing incubator for agriculturally-based businesses. It's helping the many people of the countryside find a good living without having to leave their families for the big city. 
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Can an 84-acre hub for social entrepreneurship successfully grow the local economy?
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Celeste Hoang
Published: 18 Feb 2015, TakePart

A Gawad Kalinga village in the province of Aklan, Philippines. (Photo: Gawad Kalinga/Facebook)
When a country with acres of farmland imports an overwhelming majority of its dairy, chocolate, and coffee, you know there’s a problem—or a golden opportunity.

That’s exactly what Antonio "Tony" Meloto Jr. saw in the Philippines when he founded Gawad Kalinga in 2003. The foundation, which has a specific program supporting local social entrepreneurship, aims to help end poverty by growing products for the country, within the country.

“Why can’t we create our own businesses and own the brand?” the former Procter & Gamble manager asked, having grown up in Bacolod City and witnessing firsthand the poverty that mires his country.

Meloto’s answer lies about an hour and a half’s drive north of Manila at the 84-acre Enchanted Farm, an incubator for social businesses located in the province of Bulacan. For the past four years, the program has been bringing together veterans from multinational corporations around the country and converting them into entrepreneurs tasked with building strong local brands that manufacture Filipino products for Filipinos—a tall order for a country whose more than three centuries of colonial rule have entrenched it in a preference for foreign brands. [read more]

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