Youth Leaders Converge for Social Entrepreneurship

Youth Leaders converge for Social Entrepreneurship
Harvey S. Keh
Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government

From January 17-19,2008, more than 100 youth leaders based in different colleges and universities from across the Asia-Pacific Region met at the Ateneo de Manila University to discuss and know more about Social Entrepreneurship. Social Entrepreneurship is defined as an innovative way of solving social problems using entrepreneurial skills. Noted social enterprises in the Philippines include Pathways to Higher Education ( which helps poor but deserving Filipino students gain access to quality higher education and Synergeia Foundation ( which promotes basic education reform by working with local government units. The event entitled, 1 st Future Leaders of Asia Forum which had as its theme, Social Entrepreneurship: Developing a New Generation of Asian Leaders, was jointly organized by the Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government and the Ateneo de Manila University-Loyola Schools.

The theme for Day One was an introduction to social entrepreneurship and the value of social entrepreneurs in our society today. Dr. Antonette Angeles, Academic Vice-President of Ateneo de Manila welcomed the youth delegates which came from the Philippines, Japan, Mongolia, Thailand, China, New Zealand, Pakistan and Singapore. Steve Koon, Founder of Avant Change and a Mason Fellow from Harvard University delivered an inspiring talk on whether or not money really makes people happy. In the afternoon, Dr. Antonio La ViƱa, Dean of the Ateneo School of Government and Country Representative of Ashoka-Philippines explained what social entrepreneurship means and gave examples of noteworthy social entrepreneurs from all over the world. To cap the day, the delegates were given an opportunity to interact with inspiring present-day leaders from the Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation and the Asia Society such as Jovito Salonga, Benjamin Abadiano, Sister Eva Maamo, Gilbert Remulla, Neric Acosta and Martin Lopez.

After going through a packed first day, the delegates were given the opportunity to see actual social enterprises being run by Development Studies students from the Ateneo de Manila-Loyola Schools through a social enterprise fair in the morning of Day 2. The delegates were given the opportunity to learn from the experiences of these young social entrepreneurs in running viable and effective social enterprises. In the afternoon, the delegates were brought to a Gawad Kalinga community in Cainta, Rizal where they got to know more about the work of Gawad Kalinga in helping develop and lift-up impoverished communities.

For the last day of the forum, the social enterprise business plan writing competition supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation was launched and the delegates were given talks on how to develop a good social enterprise business plan. Noted fundraising expert John Silva started the day by sharing with the delegates tips on how to effectively raise resources and promote their advocacies. After Mr. Silva's talk, Sol Delantar-Gonzalvo of the Ayala Foundation inspired the delegates by giving them pointers on how to be able to recruit and take care of their volunteers. Steve Koon then capped the morning activities by teaching the delegates how to make an effective social enterprise business plan. In the afternoon, the delegates were given an opportunity to work on their social enterprise proposals that aim to address key problems in education, livelihood, health, environment and indigenous peoples. To cap the day, the delegates were asked to present their proposals to different panels of experts who gave them advice on how to further improve on their social enterprise proposals. The final day of the forum ended with a cultural night which showcased the different talents and skills of the delegates.

The First Future Leaders of Asia Forum was organized mainly by college students from the Ateneo de Manila University-Loyola Schools. Aside from the Ateneo, the other partners for this event include Ashoka-Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation, Avant Change and the Asian Youth Forum. Our main sponsors include Jollibee Foundation, Coca-Cola Foundation, Diamond Hotel-Philippines, Jesuit Communications, Lloyd's Financing Corporation and Studio 23.

Currently, the Ateneo de Manila-School of Government is offering different programs on Social Entrepreneurship. If you are interested to learn more about these programs or are interested to get involved in social entrepreneurship, you may contact Reese Fernandez at (02) 426-5657 or you can send her an email at