Mark Ruiz – Women Micro-Entrepreneurs Using Business and Technology to Create Economic Impact in the Philippines
As you may know, I spent a few months in the Philippines last year. And it was amazing. There’s a special place in my heart for that country and the incredible people there. During my time there, I met up with Mark Ruiz. Mark is one of the co-founders of Hapinoy - a social enterprise that work with women or nanays, who run small convenience stores, otherwise known as sari-sari stores in the Philippines. Sari-sari stores typically sell canned goods, rice, noodles, coffee, shampoo and toothpaste. Products are sold to locals from the neighbourhood in small packets or numbers, with very small profit margins. The stores are run informally, within the family and financial mismanagement is common. Hapinoy trains the women running these stores how to improve their business practices, get loans and earn more income. Recently they’ve included a technology piece to their work which you can hear more about in this episode. I first heard about Hapinoy when I started running Project Inspire in Singapore. They were the first social enterprise to win the US$25,000 grand prize, thanks to Mastercard and undoubtedly are probably one of the most successful social enterprises to win. I’m really excited to introduce you to Hapinoy and Mark today. I really believe in their work and the impact that they are creating. Now one thing that you should know about the Philippines is that internet connection is notoriously challenging... Mark also has a bit of a cold during this episode so there’s a few unedited sneezes. I’m sure you can also hear my dog bark once or twice in this episode because she was sitting under my desk while I was recording and I felt bad leaving her outside the room…. Anyway, I think all of this adds a bit of character to this episode so I hope you enjoy it! If you do, please show me some love by making sure you subscribe, rate, review and share your favourite episode with your friends.