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Editorial | Business hybrid

“Having social impact built into your business model allows you to live your life on purpose,” reads a tweet from Forbes Women.

In these times when business organizations are finding innovative ways to push products and services forward, social entrepreneurship is an emerging model that melds capitalism with social responsibility. Honeycomb cofounder Melissa Levick expounds that “It’s about connecting your brand’s why with how it can be used authentically to serve the world. It’s not a gimmick or a marketing tool. It’s a genuine mechanism to solve social problems while feeling connected to a higher purpose.” Honeycomb is a social impact SaaS platform that merges businesses and philanthropy together “to make the world a better place.

In Davao City, one such organization is the Social Entrepreneurship and Technology Business Institute (SETBI) that runs the College Education Behind Bars, the first educational institution that offers degree programs inside a jail facility.

Now on its third year, SETBI has partnered with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, the University of Southeastern Philippines and the Christian Thompson School for the college degree and senior high school programs, respectively. It offers Agri business and Information Computer Technology degrees wherein inmates enrolled in the program enjoy scholarships which extend to when they are released from prison. As most of them are facing drug charges, SETBI also provides programs that will help in their rehabilitation process. Many students who have availed of the plea bargaining program of the government are now full time students outside the facility and cognizant of their second chance to do good.

Two business firms are also forging links with SETBI. Today, Vaya Wellness and Kaizen, a wellness center and restaurant, respectively, will provide services at the start of the sports event in jail. They are looking at a more sustainable program that will form part in transforming students into better individuals.

“If we could show them compassion, they too would be compassionate to others,” Rajan Sujanani co-founder of Vaya Wellness said. SETBI’s vice president Susan Cariaga said more firms need to look at social entrepreneurship as a model for the future.

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