Technology seen to improve social enterprises

Technology seen to improve social enterprises

GAWAD KALINGA (GK) Enchanted Farm said technology can be incorporated in social enterprises’ operations to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

GK Enchanted Farm is a social enterprise incubator formed by the GK Foundation in 2010. It works with about 2,500 local entrepreneurs.

Shanonraj Khadka, chief executive officer of GK Enchanted Farm, said as the company started growing, in 2014, things began getting out of hand operations-wise.

“We were building it… and it was a radical dream to create an army of 500,000 social entrepreneurs, and so we were incubating, asking people to build their businesses… But in 2014, we said parang ang dami nang nangyayari… We were so overrun in the operations of the business that we could not dream bigger,” he said in an interview with BusinessWorld.

Following this, the company applied for a Social Impact grant from Oracle NetSuite, which was granted to them in the same year. NetSuite is a software that helps and guides firms in terms of financial management, inventory, and human resource, among others.

“Netsuite is an ERP [enterprise resource planning] solution… It involves all the aspects in the business… It also allows you to handle the processes that you have in the business…from the back-end to operations,” Mariel Bertumen, senior regional manager of Oracle, said in the interview.

Oracle is a California-based computer software company. Its Oracle NetSuite Social Impact grant started in 2007. The company is currently supporting up to 1,400 organizations all over the world, 60% of which are in North America.

In the Philippines, the company is supporting 200 non-profit and social enterprises. The base donation includes five user licenses, which includes core needs of a company such as advanced financials, basic inventory, businesses planning, and budgeting.

“First four years [of GK Enchanted Farm] was really characterized by really ad hoc systems. The inflow and outflow of cash was monitored through the cash in our pockets,” Mr. Khadka said.

After receiving the Oracle grant and using its software, he said everything became organized.

“We’ve cut the processing time by about 70-80%. We don’t even have to be experts in accounting or in taxation. This allowed us to have more time to expand,” he noted.

“I think number one talaga is efficiency. For every peso we earn, we can really get much more out of it,” he added.

“Much of our revenue comes from tourism because people tour the farm, so just the ease of relating with a customer. Before, it would take us very long — to about two weeks to close an account — because we do not have formats for billing. Now, [we can do it] within 48 hours from first inquiry to billing. We are able to have a customer billed and they’re ready to send their down payment for the tour because everything has a format,” Mr. Khadka said.

He added that the firm is now able to do budget projections for the next six months.

Through the software, the GK Enchanted Farm was also able to discover about P3 million in receivables, some of which were already more than a year old, Mr. Khadka said.

GK Enchanted Farm and Oracle said they plan to help more social enterprises use the latter’s system to improve their operations.

“We consider GK as one of our strategic alliances,” Oracle’s Ms. Bertumen said.

“For start-ups, this will be a very good tool for them to use for them to be able to manage their finances and scale up to the next level,” GK’s Mr. Khadka said. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang

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