In the wake of Typhoon Yolanda, Thane Kreiner and Andy Lieberman spent an amazing week in Manila for the 5th convening of the GSBI Network.
In the midst of supporting relief efforts in the Tacloban region, the John Gokongwei School of Management at Ateneo de Manila orchestrated a stimulating week of connecting, learning, and collaborating for the GSBI Network partners who hailed from the United States, India, Spain, and Mexico.
In addition to strengthening relationships with each other, the Network members were treated to a deep dive into the social enterprise space in the Philippines, a chance to build relationships with the drivers of Ateneo’s social enterprise efforts, and new connections with East Asian Jesuit business schools.
The GSBI Network meets about twice a year to exchange best practices and foster collaboration. This time, the most spirited conversations were around the strategies for engaging students in social entrepreneurship through service learning and incubating student-led social enterprises as the delegates discussed their programs, such as the Center’s Global Social Benefit Fellowships.
The Network meeting coincided with the annual meeting of the deans of the East Asian Jesuit Business Schools, at which Thane and Andy presented GSBI. They deepened the attendees’ interest in social enterprise, with several of the participants expressing desire to launch their own GSBI programs.
Ateneo conveniently arranged the international events to coincide with their annual social enterprise conference, which let the international visitors get to know the Filipino SE ecosystem and key players, including Jaime Ayla, Filipino Entrepreneur of the Year, and Dr. Lisa Dacanay, author of several books on social enterprise impact assessment. The GSBI Network’s panel during this conference and Thane’s participation on the Technology Changing Lives panel provided a global perspective to complement the excellent work being done locally.
Of course, no Center trip would be complete without visiting social entrepreneurs. We enjoyed meeting the teams at the Manila offices and workshops of Rags2Riches (‘11) and Gifts & Graces Fair Trade Association (‘09), both of which provide livelihoods to marginalized women through production of crafts. A 90-minute van ride and 45-minute uphill hike through coconut groves took us to a sari sari store in the Hapinoy (‘11) / CARD BDSFI (‘13) network that provides solar lamps using a rent-to-own model. We also visited current GSBI Online participant, Veritas, the xChange social innovation co-working space, and Gawad Kalinga’s Enchanted Farm—home of 17 social enterprises, launched mostly by graduates of Ateneo de Manila.
2014 will see even more gatherings of GSBI Network members and prospective members, starting with a week of activities at Santa Clara University in May that will highlight service learning and action research with social enterprises. In July, Thane will lead a social enterprise track at the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools annual meeting, which will include a GSBI Network panel and a keynote by Thane. GSBI and Ateneo de Manila are also planning a train-the-trainers workshop in Manila to prepare faculty and mentors from East Asian universities to work with social enterprises using the GSBI model.
To learn more about the GSBI Network, please contact Andy Lieberman at firstname.lastname@example.org