Laguna Water empowers 14 community-based entrepreneurs in Laguna

Empowering People. Laguna Water, in partnership with The British Council Philippines, Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. (IMI), Ayala Foundation, and Ayala Corporation conducted a capacity-building seminar for 14 community-based entrepreneurs in Laguna.

Laguna Water, the largest water and sanitation services provider in the Province of Laguna, together with The British Council Philippines, Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. (IMI), Ayala Foundation, and Ayala Corporation brought the I am a Changemaker program in Laguna to help local social enterprises increase their impact to the community.

Held on October 3-7 in Camp Allen in Santa Cruz, Laguna, the program, with the theme “Changemaker: Beyond CSR”, provided trainings and workshops on social entrepreneurship to 28 leaders and representatives of the 14 community-based enterprises from the cities of Binan, Santa Cruz, and San Pablo and from the municipalities of Alaminos, Bay, Kalayaan, and Majayjay. 

Aimed to create better understanding on social entrepreneurship, the two participants from each group were given lessons on social issues, social enterprise models, business skills, innovation, management, and marketing. Aside from the classroom-type discussion, the program also conducted a field visit to a successful social enterprise in the Province, Tsaa Laya, to show the impact of such initiative to the community, thus, increasing participants’ appreciation to their social cause. 

After the weeklong capacity-building activities, each social enterprise were asked to present their business concept to a panel of judges consisting of four distinguished professionals from different industries. 

Sharing the group of people they want to help through their social initiatives, the participating social entrepreneurs look forward to getting support from public and private sectors for the successful implementation of their business projects.

More than just providing a source of income, these social enterprises aim to create a positive impact to their communities and to ensure sustainability of the environment. The mushroom cultivation project of Binan increases self-value and gives hope to HIV patients. The women of Majayjay aims to uplift lives of impoverished women in their community through their atsara business. The supot making of Santa Cruz targets to reduce the use of plastics in their areas. Other beneficiaries of these social enterprises include persons with disabilities, out-of-school youth, senior citizens, and former and current overseas Filipino workers, among others.

At the end of the program, three social enterprises were awarded a ten thousand-peso grant. These were the Bay’s fish processing business, Majayjay’s atsara making venture, and San Pablo’s ecotourism project.

“This is not the end. This is just the beginning of your journey,” said Laguna Water’s Finance Head and concurrent Regulatory and External Affairs Head, Mark F. Mesina. In his message to the participants, Laguna Water’s Finance Head and concurrent Regulatory and External Affairs Head, Mark F. Mesina shared the 3P’s that would contribute to the success and sustainability of the social enterprises; perspective, persistence, and purpose and at the same time encouraged the social entrepreneurs to become catalysts of change.

The Changemaker program has been implemented by The British Council Philippines since 2009. It aims to provide an avenue for social entrepreneurs to exchange, foster thinking and collaboration about entrepreneurial ventures that would positively impact the society.

Laguna Water partners with public and private institutions in initiatives anchored to the people empowerment, environmental protection, and sustainable development. Same as the “I am a Changemaker”, the company has a program that helps livelihood cooperatives in the province, Kabuhayan Para Sa Barangay. The program grants cooperatives non-interest bearing loan capital and provides capacity building seminars that would equip them to run their businesses.

Laguna Water is a successful public-private partnership between the Provincial Government of Laguna and Manila Water Philippine Ventures, a wholly-owned company by Manila Water Company Inc. (Manila Water), the Ayala-led water service provider in the East Zone of Metro Manila and a leader in the water industry in the Philippines, with presence in Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia.

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