THE Roots Collective, with the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) and Forest Foundation Philippines (FFP), launched the Sibol (growth) Program Fund last October 2 in Taguig City to enable start-ups to develop their enterprises that help increase the income of local communities and protect the environment.
This three-year special grant facility, which will start in January 2020, aims to ensure sustainability of social enterprises through product enhancements, sales generation, income generation for partner communities, and increasing areas for environmental protection.
According to Jamir Ocampo, chief executive officer of Roots Collective, the Sibol Fund is essential in promoting marketability of products while retaining the impact they bring to the communities they support.
“Advocacy for entrepreneurs is not just about the message. It’s about proving that this advocacy will work with products through market acceptance. It’s also our capacity to generate our own resources to take on developmental initiatives,” he said.
PEF executive director Roberto Calingo said that the youth are becoming the key players and influencers of the market and the need to engage them is vital to help poor communities.
“The poor communities have hope if we can combine their efforts with that of the youth in looking at ways to improve the product and ways to bring the product to the market,” he said.
Calingo added that PEF is looking forward to expanding the project to connect young social entrepreneurs for lasting impact on poor households and communities.
“I hope this is not one isolated success. My vision is that, someday, we can have the session in Visayas, Mindanao, and in key cities with a lot of linkages happening in the communities. Today is the first step towards that vision,” Calingo said.
The youth as partner for environment conservation
To FFP executive director Jose Andres Canivel, the youth sector offers fresh ideas in resolving pressing problems that plague the environment.
“In this time of forest degradation and climate emergency, we need all of the innovation, all of the creativity and all of the passion that young people can bring into our work,” he said.
Canivel also stressed that young entrepreneurs have been important partners in developing sustainable livelihood that promotes forest protection and conservation.
“We were looking for a way to link our partner communities to the market. That drew us into working with social entrepreneurs,” he said.
The launch of the Sibol Program Fund is part of the week-long Roots Commune, an exhibit at Uptown Bonifacio Mall that showcases a wide array of ethically made products that highlight sustainability and local creativity.