Strengthening Civil Society Participation in Social Enterprise Education and Development or CSO-SEED aims to improve civil society participation in policy reforms to develop an environment conducive to decent work, job creation and SME development. The project will realise this goal by using social enterprise as a development pathway.
CSO-SEED will be implemented for three years and will cover the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM, along with other Bangsamoro areas in Mindanao. These are areas affected by conflict and underdevelopment for over four decades.
Led by the British Council and co-funded by the European Union, CSO–SEED aims to build a stronger SME sector through the promotion of social enterprise, considered a sub-category of SME. The focus on social enterprise development will in turn deliver an innovative approach to the areas of decent work and job creation.
The approach offers a sustainable and empowering way to support inclusive economic development, reducing barriers to economic security, particularly for vulnerable groups.
1.33 million Euros or 68 million Pesos funding
300 social enterprise leaders
60 social enterprises
20 advocacy-oriented CSOs
10 social enterprise intermediaries
20,000 indirect beneficiaries of the social enterprise education and development grants
CSO–SEED will mobilise the project through a consortium with Balay Mindanaw Foundation Inc. (BMFI), the Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc. (FSSI), the Philippine Social Enterprise Network (PhilSEN) and the British Council. The consortium will closely work with the Department of Trade and Industry in the ARMM in the implementation of the project, focusing on three interlinked components:
1. COALITION BUILDING AND POLICY ENGAGEMENT
Recognising the role of social enterprises in the development of an inclusive SME sector to offer decent work to a large number of people, this component aims to establish an enabling environment for social enterprises to flourish. CSO–SEED will accomplish this by identifying 20 advocacy-oriented CSOs in the trade and labour industry, and provide them with skills, knowledge and networks to support this agenda. Also a part of the project engagement, CSO-SEED will conduct four local and one national policy dialogues.
2. CAPACITY BUILDING FOR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE SUPPORT SERVICES
Our consortium will create a movement by assisting social enterprise leaders, capacity building CSOs, social enterprise interest groups and intermediaries, government agencies, financial institutions and private/business by enhancing their capacity to tackle issues around decent work, job creation and SME development. This will be done through a bespoke leadership programme (for individuals) called Active Citizens and a business and investment readiness programme (for organisations).
3. SMALL-SCALE SUPPORT SERVICES (SEED FUND)
To ensure CSOs are empowered and own the delivery of the project, a grant process will be implemented to support components 1 and 2. The first element of the SEED fund focuses on advocacy, awareness raising and strategic partnerships. The second element of the SEED fund is on business and investment readiness designed to strengthen intermediaries and business support CSOs to deliver support to social enterprises to grow and scale their impact
The results from all the project components will contribute to an enhanced understanding of the social enterprise landscape in Mindanao, especially in the ARMM area, and contribute to the agenda on decent work, job creation and SME development in the Philippines. Lessons learnt and best practices will be shared in support of building viable social enterprises that resolve current challenges such as unemployment and income inequalities. CSO–SEED is pioneering in its approach; milestones will also provide building blocks for future undertakings in similar contexts.