Coffee for Peace, Inc. has been chosen as one of the 10 out of the 280 social enterprises who will be part of the Innovation for Social Impact Partnership (ISIP) — an initiative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in partnership with Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev). This 6-month program aims “to support promising innovative social enterprises in the Philippines to collectively contribute to the achievement, acceleration, and sustainability of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
It is a pleasure and an honor to be part of the first batch of the Innovation for Social Impact Partnership (ISIP). This program, according to the letter I received from them, would help social enterprise like Coffee For Peace “to leap into credible, investible, and sustainable enterprises equipped to access bigger, wider, and more varied funding opportunities and grow both their business and their impact to the society.” I also understand that participants in this program “are expected to be able to access impact investments either through a bank loan, pre or Series A investments or venture capital investments.”
Using a three-pronged set of strategies, ISIP also provides targeted assistance to social enterprises like ours —
- to become scalable and sustainable ventures that create positive social change;
- to build the capacity of social enterprises and local higher education institutions to create social innovations through education and training; and,
- to advocate for policy reforms in private and public institutions that will even out the playing field for social enterprises and inclusive businesses.
Though excited and grateful for these social business support, I’m puzzled how these big organizations get our name and contact information to be included in their programs. As I searched more about this program, I found out that the Australian Government initially funded this with US$2 million (Php100 million). ISIP will also establish partnerships with financial institutions and leading social enterprise fund managers to help social enterprises, like Coffee for Peace, to further accelerate and expand their businesses.
When my husband, Lakan, and I were hanging out with those young PhilDev and ISIP staff last week (see headphoto), we sought to satisfy our curiosity.
“The United Nations Development Program gave us your name and company profile,” said Katherine Khoo, Venture Analyst for Philippine Development Foundation.
My husband, Lakan, even requested if he could record our conversation. Katherine agreed. “We called for a nationwide search for social innovations,” she continued sharing. “After doing a basic document review, to check who’s legitimate and who’s not, I spoke to Joji and Tala online for 30 minutes… The rest were done by our selection committee.”
The judges who chose the first batch of ISIP participants, according to Katherine, are “business professionals, investors, and others with vast development experience.” Coffee For Peace was chosen because we’re already practicing what we’re thinking and saying. “For us,” Katherine said, “it’s important that you’ve already validated the need, the market, and the solution that you have in mind.”
Coffee for Peace, Inc. will be one of the 40 social enterprises who will be assisted by this program over the next five years. “A local bank will provide loans as financial assistance of up to US$150,000 (approx. Php7.5 million) per SE over three years,” according to UNDP website. “Loans will have a repayment period of 5-6 years based on current business lending rates, with total SIF loan financing estimated at US$6 million (Php300 million),” the UNDP site said. “In addition to funding support, international and Philippine experts will also provide technical assistance to help SEs to further develop their business models and expand operations.”
Right now, Coffee for Peace has an ‘office space’ at the Co.Lab, near UNDP offices. “This is a great space for entrepreneurial startups,” my husband Lakan said, “and a fun community for those who dare to risk their respective comfort zones in order to concretize their dreams.”
As one of the ten social enterprises in this first batch of ISIP, we enjoy technical support that helps improve our capacity to access capital and to attract impact investors.
I’m also grateful for this program because while I’m being mentored, it, in turn, helps me become a better mentor. Since I’m allowed to have a couple of staff or associates with me, I make sure that Sihaya Ansibod (CFP Values Training Facilitator) and Aiza Wanay (CFP Office Systems Administrator) share what I’m experiencing in this program.
“As an insider at CFP, my exposure to ISIP proves to me that our company is on the right track in our inclusive development activities,” Sihaya said. “I’m glad that international organizations like UNDP,” she continues, “recognize our work at CFP.”
For Aiza, her ISIP exposure made her feel “humbled and honored that UNDP recognizes the impact of our organization to our partner-communities.” She further comments: “I felt blessed to be part of ISIP through CFP.”
The six-minute video below summarizes the whole ISIP program. The Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) implement this program with support from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT–Australia)
Coffee for Peace, Inc. is the social enterprise initiative of PeaceBuilders Community.