PNoy to unveil hub for ‘new generation social entrepreneurs’
by Jose Mari M. Garcia
ANGAT, Bulacan, June 24 (PIA) – President Benigno Aquino III will open here today the Gawad Kalinga Center for Social Innovation (GKCSI) which will be the hub for “a new generation of social entrepreneurs.”
According to Antonio Meloto, founder and chairman of community development foundation Gawad Kalinga (GK), GKCSI was a “village university” that would teach and train students, children, residents and entrepreneurs to create products made of Philippine materials.
Dubbed as Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm, the said multi-use site located at Brgy. Encanto, Angat—hence the name of the center — was the first of the 24 CSI sites in the country that transformed idle lands to working laboratories and tourist destinations.
GKCSI was GK’s second phase of its 2024 roadmap “to end poverty in the Philippines.”
“GKCSI will create Filipino-owned brands of affordable, high-quality products that use Philippine-grown ingredients to improve the lives of the Filipino poor. GKCSI is the village university for the rising Filipino that will mold a new generation of social entrepreneurs,” said Meloto, 60, who founded GK in 1995 seeking to eradicate poverty for 5 million families by 2024, through community infrastructure, youth development, food and health programs.
Meloto said the Enchanted Farm was the result of three, combined components. He explained in a statement that the farm will be a Village University with classrooms which would expose students to entrepreneurship, leading them to a “world of opportunities locally and globally.”
The second component was the Silicon Valley in which young entrepreneurs will be presented with a supportive business environment to help them create original Filipino products. 50 participating enterprises in the country will provide their own brands, resources and facilities to assist the aspirants.
Meloto tagged the third component of the Enchanted Farm as a “Disneyland for social tourism.” He said local and foreign visitors could also see in the center the social problems in the Philippines and how its people work to find solutions.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and telecommunications tycoon Manuel Pangilinan are expected to grace the event.
Manila Electric Company, Shell Country, Hyundai, Manila Water Company, restaurant chain Mang Inasal, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado and other local officials also extended their support to the project.
GK has grown to be a movement of nation-building with its known public image of building homes. GK endeavors to work toward achieving land for the landless, home for the homes and food for the hungry. (WLB/JMG-PIA 3)