Mangan by Iman founders Dayang Iman Sahali and Alyssa Sahali Tan share three tips for a small business to increase its chances of success in partnering with government and private organizations.
Establish credibility. “You have to establish credibility because foundations and other multinational corporations don’t usually invest in small enterprises,” Alyssa says. “When we partnered with SMART, Hwawei and PLDT [for the tablet donation project], they had to talk to the DepEd head in Panlima Sugala, so in that way, we were able to establish credibility. They knew exactly where the tablets were going.”
Cooperatives are key. The easiest way for a social enterprise to find a community to partner with is to tap cooperatives. This way, they gain access to an already organized group of farmers who, in turn, can connect them with other organizations for possible collaborations. “It’s also easier to distribute projects,” Alyssa says.
Have quantifiable results. One of the first things potential collaborators will look for is results. Thus, documentation is important.
Get the word out. Market your products. If you have internet access, social media is a free and relatively easy way to tell the world about your products. “Our brand took off purely because of social media,” Dayang says. “It might be luck, but all we know is that we utilized social media to its full purpose.”
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. “Don’t be afraid to message these big media publications or big corporations and organizations and ask for help,” Dayang says. “A lot of these corporations, a lot of these organizations, LGUs, are really willing to help as long as, as Alyssa said… you have that credibility to back you up.”
She cites meeting former DA Secretary William Dar and asking him for help. “He gave us more than what we wanted, and that was to visit our… municipality.”
“Like we usually say, closed mouths don’t get fed,” Alyssa says. “So my sister and I just keep asking, because it’s not for us. These are for our farmers and fisherfolk and it really reaches them because it’s quantifiable.”