New social entrepreneurs get support from I-Fund 

Filipino-ExcellenceThe recent commencement exercises in Dubai of the Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship (LSE) program of the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) saw the entry of 98 individuals into the social enterprise world. They comprised the fourth and fifth LSE batches in Dubai.


Four groups in each batch were given awards for their respective business plans that were viable and socially relevant as well as for promoting Filipino products and being excellent in concept. 

The highlight of the event was the awarding to a fifth group the Innovation Fund or I-Fund which is a start-up mechanism created by first batch alumnus and practicing social entrepreneur JR Papel.

Pack Me of Batch 36 and Enerhiya Solutions and Technical Services of Batch 37 will both receive a start-up fund of Dhs4,000, will be provided a business license extension for one year by Dagaz HR Consultancy, and will be assisted by BPO Consulting in managing the financial documentation.    

Pack Me is an App-based courier service concept that would be relying on the social network community. It has four members with the youngest at 27 and the oldest at 30. 

Enerhiya Solutions and Technical Services will be launched as an energy efficiency consultancy. Enerhiya’s concept is to finance, develop and implement projects and solutions aimed at enhancing client’s energy efficiency and reduced energy-related expenditures providing both economic and environmental benefits.

Also during the event seven individuals were awarded Ateneo diplomas as they belonged to the advanced practicum batch of actual entrepreneurs who were mentored by the program’s proponents, the husband and wife tandem of Edgardo Valenzuela and Cristina Liamzon. 

Three of them are running Petshionista, the newest brand of fashionable petwear, which will recycle and reuse old materials to create RTWs and signature couture dresses for dogs and cats. They are also supporting a minority tribe in North Cotabato in Mindanao and some animal welfare groups. 

The remaining four have their individual enterprises and social causes namely: Chris Calumberan FZE for commercial photography with an advocacy on creating awareness on Alzheimer’s Disease in the UAE; Dagaz HR Consultancy and Recruitment for manpower recruitment with a strong focus on promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities; Out of DA Box for Convenience Stores operations in the Philippines employing former delinquents and defaulters, and FEME Connect Directory for connecting professionals and entrepreneurs in the UAE with a commitment to share its profits to the vocational training of distressed workers at POLO-OWWA in Dubai and the education of young children in the Philippines being coordinated by ANCOP.

The LSE program was developed to provide Overseas Filipinos (OFs) training in leadership, education in financial management and development of entrepreneurial skills focused on a social cause.  

In his keynote address, Dr. Mario Villaverde, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of AsoG, commented: “The knowledge and practical skills that you acquired from the LSE course will be indispensable tools as you continue your lifelong journey as global citizens.”

He also gave these three guiding thoughts – seek for excellence, live and work with integrity, and support one another to grow and develop as future entrepreneurs.

Head of LSE Dubai Secretariat Gina Valbuena said that the planning stage for next year’s LSE edition will commence in January 2017 and interested individuals may register by visiting

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