Scaling Up for Social Impact: 10 Social Enterprises Make Their Pitch

The Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev) together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Australian Government hosted a showcase that hopes to help social enterprises improve their capacity for social impact.

Can social enterprises really be profitable? At the Innovation for Social Impact Partnership’s (ISIP) first ever Social Enterprise Showcase, not one, not two, but ten social entrepreneurs got together to make their case.

Co-implemented by the Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with funding support from the Australian Government, ISIP aims to make social enterprises (SEs) scalable through providing technical support and access to markets, talent, capital, and guidance.

Jones Castro, Executive Vice Chairman of the Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev), emphasizes how Filipino creativity combined with technology and innovation can be turned into profitable enterprises that can help many Filipinos get out of poverty.

“There is a myth that social enterprises are not profitable,” Mr. Jones Castro, Executive Vice Chairman of PhilDev Foundation, said during his welcome remarks. “We must dispel that myth.”

H.E. Steven Robinson A.O., Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, highlights the Australian Government's support to accelerate Filipino social enterprises.

“Social enterprises are investable, viable, and bankable ways to contribute to sustainable development goals,” His Excellency Mr. Steven Robinson, A.O., Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, added later on as he thanked those in attendance.

The event, which took place last May 10, 2019, was the climax for the first batch of social entrepreneurs to undergo ISIP’s Social Impact Accelerator. Under this six-month intensive program,  SEs received tailored mentorship, strong network support, free legal and management advisory services, and impact measurement training and resources.

The Social Impact Accelerator’s first batch consisted of ten social enterprises, namely:  

Bambuhay, a manufacturing business that advocates for a sustainable and zero-waste lifestyle through the production of eco-friendly products . They offer Reusable Bamboo Drinking Straws as replacement for single-use straws and Bamboo Tumblers as replacement for single-use PET bottles.

Coffee for Peace, a business that develops capacity-building on Peace and Reconciliation in conflict affected areas by engaging small coffee farmers. They sell global-quality coffee cherries, green coffee beans, roasted coffee beans, and cascara. They also regulate the aggregate price of their coffee, providing coffee farmers with sustainable sources of income.

Cleaning Lady, a social enterprise offering quality cleaning service that is professional, caring, and warm to condo-dwellers in Metro Manila. While doing so, they provide jobs to unemployed mothers living in underserved communities located in the shadows of highrise condominium buildings.

FAME, a service that offers small Filipino fisherfolk a tracking and monitoring system that is lightweight, reliable, truly real-time, and affordable. They created the FAME Transpondera device that uses radio frequency (RF) to send and receive location and other information from the vessel or aircraft to gateways, which then send the information to the cloud for processing.

Gaz Lite is an innovative refillable LPG canister offered by Pascal Resources Energy. This alternative  offers a healthy, environment-friendly, and affordable cooking fuel to majority of Filipino households that still rely on wood and charcoal. This first-of-its-kind cannister comes with a single burner table-top cook stove housed in a sturdy briefcase-type container.

Hiraya is a smart water management startup building innovative solutions that address inefficiencies in the water sector. They aim to create the ultimate platform for water solutions in developing markets.

SolarSolutions creates community development and disaster management systems tied to community scale electrification and social enterprise. It also develops electricity saving products such as grid-tied solar energy systems, and back-up power systems for off-grid locations.

Taxumo is a company that aims to spur economic growth by helping SMEs, professionals and freelancers focus on the core business by freeing them from one of their major stressorstax compliance. Taxumo is a software-as-a-service that automates the computation, filing, and payment of business taxes for the above identified markets.

UPROOT Urban Farms provides beneficiaries a sustainable communal food system to address hunger and food security, while providing auxiliary income to the community by linking them to businesses near the vicinity. They offer individual aquaponic systems to hobbyists and health conscious people as well as businesses.

Virtualahan is a tech social enterprise building a digital work ecosystem for People with Disabilities (PWDs) while helping businesses of any size grow. They provide companies with highly-skilled workers who can deliver quality output despite their limitations.

Supporting small and medium enterprise is catalytic to the Philippines achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

- H.E. Steven Robinson A.O., Australian Ambassador to the Philippines.

Founders and core team members of the first batch social enterprises under ISIP's Social Impact Accelerator program make their final pitch to investors and funders present during the SE Showcase.

For its first run of the Accelerator program, ISIP selected social enterprises that showed clear vision on how to achieve impact and scale, have been in formal operation for at least two (2) years with proof of annual revenues of at least Php 1,000,000, and addressed the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Other criteria to be met were having at least two founders, and developing innovations in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Mathematics (STEAM).

The showcase was the culmination of the ten selected enterprises’ participation of ISIP’s program. One by one, the founders of each social enterprise went on stage to simultaneously pitch and exhibit their respective business cases to a room full of prospective investors creditors and partners. Later on, they also participated in a facilitated business-matching, ISIP’s own version of business-centered “speed-dating” that aimed to connect social entrepreneurs with the invited guests for potential collaborative opportunities relating to their businesses.

Titon Mitra, UNDP Philippines Resident Representative, expresses his excitement over the increasing amount of creativity and social entrepreneurship in the Philippines that could help drive the country towards inclusive economic growth.

“The reason we are here is to see if we can make a contribution to this country’s goal to create the greatest possible impact,” Titon Mitra, UNDP resident representative to the Philippines, shared with the crowd. With the ten more social enterprises empowered, they are at least a step closer to achieving that goal.  

ISIP is currently accepting applications for the second batch of their Social Impact Accelerator Program. For interested parties, please visit to apply.


Anthea Reyes


Tammy David


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