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Social Enterprise in the Philippines Write Up - Bambike

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George Parrilla, MPM 2016 A

Social Enterprise in the Philippines Write Up - Bambike

Bambike is a socio-ecological enterprise based in the Philippines that hand-makes bamboo bicycles with fair-trade labor and sustainable building practices. The bamboo bike builders or called “Bambuilders” come from Gawad Kalinga, a Philippine based community development organization for the poor, working to bring an end to poverty. They have programs that include scholarships, sponsoring a preschool teacher, and a weekly feeding program for children, as well as a bamboo nursery for reforestation. Bambike is a company that is interested in helping out people and the planet, dedicated to social and environmental stewardship. The goal is to do better business and to make the greenest bikes on the planet and it vision of Bambike Revolution Cycles: People-Planet-Progress. (Bambike About Us, n.d.)

While volunteering for Gawad Kalinga (GK) resettlement in Victoria, Tarlac, Bryan Benitez McClelland was inspired by a bamboo bike building project in Africa. Thinking how it would be a good fit in the Philippines, McClelland pushed for the idea to happen in the country, firming up plans for Bambike in 2010.[pic 1]

McClelland had always wanted to provide assistance to Filipino families within the community by providing them sustainable livelihood. “It’s a community development project for qualified low-income families. I decided to hand select a few competent builders from there and train them the skills necessary to build the bamboo bike,” he said.

From only two builders in Victoria, Tarlac, Bambike has added more full time builders both in its GK community in Tarlac and in Intramuros with nine and six people, respectively, amounting to a total of 15 employees.

Seeing a gap in the market when it comes to guided bike tours, McClelland started the Bambike ecotours on Earth Day in 2014. “We wanted to cater more to the local market and develop a way in which we could provide a service here in the Philippines,” McClelland said. “We started in Plaza San Luis Complex in Intramuros, which has been great because we’ve been able to take thousands of customers from over 70 different countries to share our Philippine heritage and experience riding around on a Bambike.”

As Bambike pursue growth through its sustainable program, McClelland thrives in the idea of bike tourism, highlighting possible expansion in Bambike ecotours in other places such as Silay in Bacolod, Vigan, and Subic. “There is a lot of potential in the Philippines for bike tourism, so we want to be a part of that growth and move into more Philippine heritage centers, especially in places with existing cultural tourism,” Mclelland said. (PLDT SME, 2016)

[pic 2]

Bambike Revolution Cycles promotes social welfare for the people of Tarlac. Bambike and its bambassadors support the advocacy of the Gawad Kalinga Philippines. Handmade bikes from Gawad Kalinga are then used for the bike rentals, purchase and ecotours along the walled city of Intramuros which in turn help these beneficiary of Bambike, the BamBuilders.

Bambike’s bamboo bike builders (aka BamBuilders) are incredibly skilled craftsmen. They hand-build the greenest bikes on the planet. They live in the rural town of Victoria, Tarlac in the Philippines. Before they were building Bambikes they were working a number of part-time jobs, driving pedi-cabs, welding, farming, and other odd jobs as day laborers.

Gawad Kalinga's mission is to build communities to end poverty. Bambike shares GK's vision of a poverty free Philippines and contributes to the cause by hiring GK villagers, providing them with sustainable livelihoods. The Bambuilders now work full-time at the Bambike workshop, inside the community where they live, among friends and close to their families. (Bambike - Bambuilders About us, n.d.)

Using the “The Social Entrepreneur: Critical Roles at various stages”

STAGES

BAMBIKE Applications

Environmental Scanning and Opportunity Assessment

  • Bryan Benitez McClelland was inspired in 2007 as a volunteer in Gawad Kalinga.
  • Patterned on a similar project in Africa
  • Need for sustainable livelihood for Victorias, Tarlac
  • Bamboo as alternative and sustainable material for bike frames that are durable and naturally shock absorbent

Evaluation

  • Initial challenges with language barrier of the founder to communicate with community
  • Sourcing and treatment to a specific bamboo specie was researched for 3 years. Supply of bamboo was required to keep up with demand
  • Training of skilled workers that had seasonal work as farmers or tricycle drivers

Implementation

  • Partnership with Gawad Kalinga community
  • Introduction of Bamboo Nurseries and sourcing from different towns in Luzon
  • Funding from Founders family members and bootstrapping during research and development

Commercial or Full blown operations

  • Bikes are sold at Intramuros with prices ranging from 15,000 peso to 60,000 peso
  • Employ members of Gawad Kalinga community in manufacturing at Victorias, Tarlac

Expansion, Integration, Contraction, Consolidation

  • Expanded to bambike eco tours in Intramuros, and new sites in Bonifacio Global City, Vigan and Silay, Negros Occidental
  • Continues Research on a standardized bike design and bamboo specie to have cheaper and mass production
  • Increase

Reorientation, Reorganization and Rehabilitation

  • Feeding program in schools in the community
  • Re planting of bamboos as re-greening project

Using the “Types of Roles and Services of Social Enterprise among the Poor” (Dacanay 2012)

Transactional

Transformational

  • Marketing
  • Employment to the community
  • Bamboo Research
  • Scholarships
  • Tourism Eco Tours
  • Sponsoring a preschool teacher
  • Local and international sales of the Bikes
  • Weekly feeding program for children
  • Partnership with LGU
  • Bamboo nursery for reforestation

To my observation on news articles, press release and videos about Bambike, I find Bryan Benitez McClelland having meet the “Personal Entrepreneurial Competencies (PEC)”.  Like Opportunity Seeking, Persistence, Commitment to Work,  Demand for Efficiency and Quality, Risk taking, Goal Setting,  Information Seeking, Systematic Planning and Monitoring, Persuasion and Networking and Self Confidence

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