Nexus between Social Entrepreneurship and Youth Empowerment: Evidence from Selected Cases in the Philippines

Laylo, Aaron (2016). 'Nexus between Social Entrepreneurship and Youth Empowerment: Evidence from Selected Cases in the Philippines' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.

abstract This paper mainly assumes that social entrepreneurship contributes significantly to youth empowerment i.e., work and community engagement. Two questions are thus raised in order to establish this hypothesis: 1) First, how does social entrepreneurship contribute to youth empowerment?; and 2) secondly, why is social entrepreneurship significantly incremental to youth empowerment? This research aims a) to investigate on the social (value creation and impact) aspect of entrepreneurship; b) to explore challenges in youth empowerment particularly in respect to work and community engagement; and c) to inquire into whether social enterprises have truly served as a catalyst for, thus an effective response to, youth empowerment. It must be underscored that young people in most countries, whether developed or developing ones, experience some form of social exclusion due to unemployment or lack of decent jobs. The latest human development report by UNDP recognizes that in order to contribute to human development, work needs to be “productive, worthwhile and meaningful.” In addition, work that involves caring for others builds social cohesion and strengthens bonds within families and communities.” Therefore, social entrepreneurship may be a tool to achieve such end — to empower a societal cluster which especially needs empowerment. This is primarily critical to human development as a whole because it promotes the “potential, creativity” and enthusiasm of young people — every country’s economic catalyst, labor force majority, and innovators. It must be emphasized that young people, which comprise 1.8 billion in a world of estimately seven billion, are supposedly an asset. Apparently, how to maximize that potential is yet an area of critical concern. By utilizing exploratory research design, the paper endeavors to generate new ideas in regards to both components, develop tentative theories on social entrepreneurship, and refine certain issues that are under observation and seek scholarly attention— a rather emerging phenomenon vis a vis the challenge to empower a significant cluster of the society. Case studies will be utilized as an approach in order to comparatively analyze youth-driven social enterprises in the Philippines that have been widely recognized as successful insofar as social impact is concerned. As most scholars attested, social entrepreneurship is still at its infancy stage. Youth empowerment, meanwhile, is yet a vast area to explore insofar as academic research is concerned. Programs and projects that advocate the pursuit of these components abound. However, academic research is yet to be undertaken to see and understand their social and economic relevance. This research is also an opportunity for scholars to explore, understand, and make sense of the promise that lies in social entrepreneurship research and how it can serve as a catalyst for youth empowerment. Youth-driven social enterprises can be an influential tool in sustaining development across the globe as they intend to provide opportunities for optimal economic productivity that recognizes social inclusion. Ultimately, this study should be able to contribute to both research and development-in-practice communities for the greater good of the society. By establishing the nexus between these two components, the research may contribute to fostering greater exploration of the benefits that both may yield to human progress as well as the gaps that have to be filled in by various policy stakeholders relevant to these units.

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