GKonomics aims to build strong, sustainable and scalable social enterprises in communities rebuilt by Gawad Kalinga. We work hand in hand with GK residents, partners and volunteers to develop world-class, marketable, and eco-friendly products and services. We plant seeds for socially-responsible entrepreneurs to build enterprises that will commit to either (1) partner with a GK community (2) employ GK residents and/or (3) include GK communities in their supply chain.
GKonomics is currently in 34 communities, 11 of which are in Metro Manila, and 7 in its nearby environs that house mostly its relocated informal settlers. They are in varying stages of development, with 3 communities making over P1M in annual sales each.
Our current benchmark, and template we use for community enterprise development, is GK Sunshineville in Las Pinas, Metro Manila — makers of the now-famous silver bags made out of recycled doy packs. Started in 2007 with 5 women weaving water lily baskets, it has evolved into a P1.5M enterprise, providing livelihood for more than 40 families. With seasonal orders, the community is able to provide employment to its neighboring GK communities. With GKonomics linking the community to markets, both domestic and international, corporate and individuals, its beautiful products have now also reached the Singapore, Hongkong, Taiwan, Hawaii and Paris markets.
GKonomics enterprises are labor-intensive, with at least 75% of sales going to direct labor. With this business model, community residents can work and earn more than minimum wage, without leaving their homes. The impact on their quality of life is significant — no transportation costs, they are able to provide and care for their families, and have the time and proximity to be actively involved and volunteer in community activities. Excess income is then used to fund community development projects and other needs of its residents, such as health and education.
We have replicated this social enterprise model in other communities, 2 of which are nearing the benchmark set in Sunshineville. With enough funding, we will be able to replicate this success story in more communities.
In development stages are communities — from Bagong Silang, to Smokey Mountain and Payatas, to Las Pinas, and reaching far beyond — producing the following products: woven caskets made of recycled newspapers, outdoor accessories from recycled tarpaulin, designer beads from recycled glossy magazines, eco-friendly bikes and surfboards made from bamboo, among many others.
To support our pro-poor, pro-environment thrust, we also utilize the following guidelines and indicators, to ensure we build strong, sustainable and scalable enterprises:
1) product development is market-driven
2) supply chain is local
3) production capacity is built to support scale and expansion
4) competitive skills training is provided to meet quality standards
5) values formation is shared for individual and community development
6) financial strength is achieved for self-sustainability
GKonomics is sharing this vision and this template to raise a new generation of entrepreneurs who will create wealth by producing world-class products and services, building a new economy where no one is left behind.