A MEMORANDUM of Understanding was entered into by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi) with Santa Clara University (SCU) of Santa Clara, California and the University of San Carlos (USC) of Cebu City, Philippines, for a tripartite collaboration to implement the Aboitiz Social Ventures Cebu. The signing was done last Feb 9 at SCU, Santa Clara California by Fr. Michael E. Engh, SJ, Ph.D. president of SCU and Jon Ramon Aboitiz, chairman and chief executive officer of Rafi. Fr. Dionisio M. Miranda, SVD, SthD, president of USC signed the agreement a week after in Cebu City.

Aboitiz Social Ventures Cebu aims to create a supportive ecosystem for social entrepreneurs in Cebu with the following key pillars: (1) a higher education partner capable of teaching students and conducting field-based action research to accelerate social entrepreneurship approaches in the Philippines, (2) a social enterprise business accelerator that offers direct training for promising social entrepreneurs as well as the ability to proactively replicate/translate proven social enterprise operational models from around the globe into the Philippine island context, and (3) a local network of banks and investors who are familiar with impact investing approaches. The three collaborators approve the program proposal defining the details and budget allocation in the implementation.

The Aboitiz Social Ventures Cebu will have the following program components: (A) Forming Social Entrepreneurship Center with key program interventions for the (1) capacitation and institutionalization of the USC Entrepreneurship Center and (2) development of curriculum and faculty training and development workshops; (B) Establishing a social enterprise accelerator that (1) recruits mentors and builds the capacity of regional social enterprises to scale their social impact, (2) pilots a multi-year initiative to blueprint, replicate and accelerate social enterprise business models that address key sustainable development gaps common to the Islands & Islets of Southeast Asia, and (3) prepares a network of Cebu-based impact investors.

The three collaborators—USC, Rafi and SCU—share the same vision of uplifting the lives of the poor and marginalized by catalyzing sustainable and scalable solutions across the Pacific Islands in general and the Visayas and Mindanao regions of the Philippines in particular. The collaborators further agree that a Center for Social Entrepreneurship under the auspices of USC is imperative and shall be created to mobilize resources and implement social enterprise capacity development initiatives. They also agree to share resources in achieving this mission. (PR)