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The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) in cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Business Advisory Council (ABAC) supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), will be recognizing companies in the ASEAN region that are implementing exemplary inclusive business (IB) models in their organizations with the launch of the ASEAN Inclusive Business Awards 2017.

Nominations are now open until 31 May 2017 via www.aba2017.com. One winner will be selected from each ASEAN country and recognized during the gala night of ASEAN Business Awards on September 6, 2017 in Manila, Philippines.

An integral part of the ASEAN Business Awards 2017, the ASEAN Inclusive Business Awards 2017 is the first-ever search in the region to recognize innovative businesses that create concrete social impact by providing the so-called ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’ or ‘BoP’ with access to the basic services and/or more and better income opportunities.

IBs are innovative models where companies engage the poor and low-income communities as partners, customers, suppliers, and employees in their supply chains not out of charity, but because it makes good business sense. The integration of these communities into global value chains improves their quality of lives and makes for better business with diversified supply and distribution systems. BoP are people who live on less than US$8.44 per day or PhP422 in purchasing power parity terms or without access to the basic goods, services, and income generation opportunities that they need.

Trade Undersecretary for Industry Development and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo welcomed the launch of the award saying, “the initiative will further create awareness and encourage more companies in the region to adopt the IB framework, and thus put in place long term solutions to generate meaningful and decent jobs and achieve inclusive growth.”

Further to the government’s thrust to alleviate poverty through an inclusive growth approach that pushes for more IB models and social enterprises to sustainably tighten the link of small community enterprises into the value chain of big businesses, BOI has taken IB under its wing and is implementing programs to encourage businesses to engage in IB.

Among its initiatives, the BOI, through its recently-approved 2017 Investments Priorities Plan (IPP) will provide incentives for companies, initially in the agribusiness and tourism industries, that integrate the poor in their core business operations.

The IPP is a list of priority investment activities that may be given incentives. With the theme “Scaling Up and Dispersing Opportunities,” the 2017 IPP brings forth significant additions and changes, following the President’s Zero + 10-point Socio Economic Agenda, the aspirations embodied in AmBisyonNatin 2040, and the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.

To qualify for the Inclusive Business Awards, the company should meet the following criteria: headquartered in an ASEAN country, with commercial and/ or operational presence in ASEAN; organized as private for-profit enterprise; at least 40 percent of the applicant’s equity should be owned by ASEAN nationals; working with/serving the BoP in the value chain – as suppliers, distributors/ retailers, employees and/ or customers – since on or before 1 January 2014, and should integrate BoP in its core operations; demonstrate commercial viability (profitability); comply with legal/ regulatory requirements and standards for labor and environment in its countries of operation; and does not fall under the ‘excluded businesses’ list in the nomination form.

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