7 Entrepreneurs Creating Social Change In The Philippines
Meet seven young leaders from the Philippines who are making their country a better place through fashion, education and more
From upcycling textile waste to providing housing for factory workers, these Filipino social entrepreneurs have improved the lives of others through their innovations and resilience. Read on to find out how they blend their dedication to their communities with their passions for fashion, sustainability and more.
1. Pamela Nicole Mejia
For Pamela Nicole Mejia, the saying that one person's trash is another's treasure rings true. With Phinix, the social enterprise she founded in her college years, she transforms textile waste into homeware, footwear, bricks and other higher-value products to help close the loop. Her products are also made by partners from marginalised communities.
2. Daniel Layug
While completing his post-graduate studies and working as an investment banker, Daniel Layug was inspired to join a startup competition and pitch the concept that would later be known as PeoplePods, a social enterprise providing safe and sanitary housing for female factory employees. The sustainably designed homes are equipped with kitchens, WiFi, electricity, and 24-hour access to water, while offsetting nearly 1,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
3. Francis Simisim
Co-founder and COO, Social Light
After launching influencer marketing company Blogapalooza in 2011 and local entertainment blog WhenInManila in 2009, Francis Simsim turned his attention to connecting the unconnected with free WiFi services. His third venture, Social Light, which he started in 2013, combines this goal with the hope for a cleaner future, attracting more than 500,000 people to swap their used plastics for free WiFi.
4. Carmina Bayombong
Founder and CEO, InvestEd
The cost of a college education is one of the biggest obstacles that prevents young Filipinos from completing their studies, hindering economic mobility. Through InvestEd, one of the country’s top educational loan providers, Carmina Bayombong empowers hardworking students through low-cost financial aid, while also coaching and mentoring along the way—the only service of its kind in the Philippines. So far, she trained more than 6,000 young people in subjects including employment, financial literacy and entrepreneurship, and has raised millions of dollars for education-focused social enterprises.
5. Shanonraj Khadka
Co-founder and CEO, GK Enchanted Farm
Through Gawad Kalinga (GK) Enchanted Farm, Shanonraj Khadka has transformed barren land in the countryside into a productive farm and tourist destination that houses dwarfing trees, fruitful harvests and a social enterprise incubation hub. There, Khadka and his team educate other social entrepreneurs about financial management systems and offer marketing solutions for those who need them, creating 300 jobs and training more than 400 students.
6. Reese Fernandez-Ruiz
Co-founder and president, Rags2Riches, and founder and curator, Things That Matter
As the co-founder and president of social enterprise Rags2Riches, Reese Fernandez-Ruiz has created the opportunity for an entire community to flourish through its approach to upcycling scrap fabrics. Rags2Riches collaborates with top fashion designers and retailers, repurposing tatters into handbags and other accessories. These products are retailed on her online lifestyle marketplace, Things That Matter.
7. Krie Reyes-Lopez
Founder and CEO, Messy Bessy Cleaners
Filipinos are familiar with Krie Reyes-Lopez's home and personal care brand Messy Bessy. Beyond its eco-friendly products, the company also employs at-risk young adults through the House (Helping Ourselves Through Sustainable Enterprises) Foundation, which Reyes-Lopez started in 2015 to provide disadvantaged youth with education and on-the-job training.