Social entrepreneurship should not just become a word of mouth. I've reflected on my own values for change being a public school teacher attending the intimate Bloggers Night of Project Pagsulong. This is a project for all youth ages 18-30 years old to form a team and produce innovative business ideas on real life solutions to alleviate poverty. Different from the usual contest of raising the youth to come up with ideas and win a prize, Project Pagsulong is enjoining the youth in teams to come up with business ideas to help the underpriveleged and those who seek change of lifestyle. To better understand the project, we were introduced to the ambassadors who have devoted their life's work and time to their own innovative programs we now follow.
Mark Ruiz and Erika Tatad of Hapinoy Program who were proponents of helping the unemployed mothers help their own families through livelihood projects, Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags2Riches getting those rags to fab products to help the marginal poor in deprived communities and the genius Niccolo Cosme who popularized through conceptual photography campaigning against the spread of AIDS-HIV with Project Headshot Clinic and Red Whistle, they helped us understand Project Pagsulong.
In partnership with DraftCB, GoNegosyo, PLDT KaAsenso, PLDT Smart Foundation, RFM Foundation and Ten Outstanding Students in the Philippines Alumni Community (TOSP-AC), Project Pagsulong will scour the nation in search of teams ages 18-30 to create projects that are feasible and influential to communities solving the growing statistics of poverty in the Philippines. What are they looking for exactly? Business ventures should exist primarily to reduce poverty or address a concrete social need/issue in our country. After the screening and selection, grants will be provided throughout the life of the project execution. The venture should demonstrate financial viability and operational sustainability. Fresh ideas that have not been recognized and awarded by other institutions will not be appropriate as it should push the majority to create new and innovative plans.
Up for grabs are the cash grants: Php500, 000 for the 1st prize, Php 300,000 for the 2nd, Php 200,000 for the 3rd and Php100,000 for the 4th. The criteria include social impact, innovation/invention, feasibility and team leadership, management and community participation. Commendable contests like these do not just promote the product and make more housewives teeming with more expenses. Project Pagsulong will make them aware that their sons and daughters may actually be the solution to the country's depressing state of poverty. For college students and out-of-school youth left with idle time, it is a great opportunity turn your frustations to business ideas. It's a great opportunity to bring about change in your families and your country eventually. I would want to redesign the TVC Ad with children and teens wasting time on Facebook and other social networking sites and while they complain about their parents nags and angsts, they should be enjoined to participate and create a project to make a difference. This way, they do not just solve their own family financial problems, they also gain recognition and gain more opportunities because of their distinct ideas. Social entrepreneurship should definitely be imposed to the youth today and they should come up with a project to push for change. Join Project Pagsulong and go beyond the books and those prescriptive ideas because you are the solution. Get your parents to listen and wow the world while you help build our nation with Project Pagsulong.
For more information, please visit www.projectpagsulong.ph and click the mechanics.