Young Filipino entrepreneurs urged to collaborate against poverty, climate change

October 8, 2019 - 7:38 PM
Roots Collective cover
Roots Collective fair at Uptown Mall in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig in October 2019. (Roots Collective photo)

A group of small entrepreneurs called Roots Collective Philippines sought the influence of the youth to help those from far-flung areas to deal with the impact of pressing development issues such as climate change, wavering prices of products and poverty.

Roots Collective Chief Executive Office Jamir Ocampo explained this advocacy during the opening of their first store in Taguig on October 2.

“The young entrepreneurs are increasing in the Philippines. At the same time, there are pending challenges we are trying to deal with such as poverty alleviation, currently the issue of our farmers with the prices of their products… issues of climate and even environmental issues. Business will continue to grow,” Ocampo said.

Lawyer Jose Andres Canivel, executive director of Forest Foundation Philippines, explained that this is the new market shift nowadays—connecting or tying products to a particular cause.

“First is the localization of the products. Sometimes, the local products are better. Nagkakatalo lang sa packaging. The market now wants to relate to a cause. The new market does not respond to commercials because there is no interaction there,” Canivel said.

The FFP is a non-profit organization for the protection of forests that was established in 2002 through the US-Philippines bilateral agreement called US Tropical Forest Conservation Act.

The representatives explained that their initial concept for Roots Collective is to be a marketplace of products handcrafted in provinces outside Metro Manila such as Samar, Davao and Batangas.

They later recognized the growing potential of the younger generation in helping these Filipinos, particularly farmers and weavers, and be part of the community as well.

The youth are more passionate, said Janine Mikaella Chiong, chief executive officer of Habi Lifestyle and Footwear.

“They represent the new breed of enterprises, new breed of market. They have more specific needs and they’re more vocal about their advocacy,” Chiong said.

“We know about climate change. We know about consumerism. We have all these different issues looming but what do you do? Roots is that platform for them to actualize whatever is bothering them into something more concrete,” she added.

Aside from livelihood, the representatives also shared their aim for the community to develop coffee-making, weaving to woodworking and accessory-making.

Customers, meanwhile, will be enjoying more sustainable and eco-friendly products than what bigger commercial stores provide.

Roots Collective calls itself “a pioneering community of entrepreneurs working for the sustainable and inclusive development of the Philippines. We work together to develop enterprises and communities for growth.”

Some rising local brands featured at the event Roots Commune last week at Uptown, Bonifacio Global City included Habi Lifestyle and Footwear, Craft MNL, Woven, Akaba Ltd. Design Co. and Mayumi Organics and Tsaa Laya.

The group’s first store was opened on Katipunan in Quezon City in 2016 and now functions as a cafe and co-working space.

Roots Commune

Let's say yes to sustainability and local creativity!Come and visit The Roots Commune and check out a wide-array of ethically-made products from local brands such as Tsaa Laya, Habi Footwear & Lifestyle, Gouache, Woven, Hiraya Filipino Bean-To-Bar Chocolates, @Wholly Grain, BalaiKamay PH, Lakan Lubi, and many more! The fair, which will run until Sunday, October 6, is located at the Atrium of Uptown Bonifacio in Taguig City. #pefsupportsyoungentrepreneurs #wegrowtheenterprise #sustainabilityRoots Katipunan Forest Foundation Philippines Jamir Ocampo

Posted by Peace and Equity Foundation on Thursday, October 3, 2019


It is in partnership with the FFP and the Peace and Equity Foundation, an organization that provides finances to small enterprises in the Philippines.

Aside from the fair, the event also introduced a grant called Sibol Fund, which would help startups develop their business ventures and enhance their social impact.