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Making art, doing good: creative enterprises making positive impact on communities

Creative enterprises in the Philippines are motivated by social causes and view their interests as intertwined with society and the environment, according to a report by the British Council in the Philippines. 

“Artists will create, innovators will disrupt, and creative entrepreneurs will build business—but they can only thrive and survive long-term if the ecosystem allows them to do so,” said Malaya D. del Rosario, British Council’s head of arts and creative industries, in a statement. “This means having policies that support them, access to new knowledge and skills, allies that promote the artistic quality of their work, and international connections that allow them to find collaborators and push boundaries. Our commissioned reports and the insights coming out of these studies provide the evidence needed to support the sustainable development of this sector.”

Here are a few case studies from the report:

Cebu-based Emottoons, an animation studio specializing in 2D animation services outsourcing,  hires talented non-college graduates, including former bakery workers and habal-habal (motorcycle for hire) drivers who have proven to be good illustrators. Studio founder Philmore “Emot” G. Emodia, who started his enterprise in 2009, continues to develop local artists through his business despite lucrative job offers overseas. Mr. Emodia encourages the undergraduates in his team to pursue college degrees, and reminds everyone to be “on top of their game.” 

Furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who established his own brand upon his return home in 1996 from Germany to manage his mother’s business, oversees nine artisan subcontractors. The brand’s business model integrates these backyard furniture producers, who have worked for companies in Cebu for decades, into its value chain. To address their subcontractors’ lack of tools and experience, the company helps in the purchase of needed equipment and provides additional training and raw material supplies.

Voyage Studios, an independent content-creating and film production studio, links filmmakers and artists from the provinces through outreach and technical education activities. This initiative, supported by the National Commission on Culture and Arts, helps province-based filmmakers who previously had no access to platforms to concretize their ideas into actual products.

The British Council’s study focused on film, advertising, animation, game development, and design industries. A series of three focused group discussions were conducted in February and March 2020 by international consultancy Nordicity in Metro Manila, Baguio City, and Cebu City, which were identified in previous research as key cities in the creative economy and strategic for national development due to their size, pre-existing creative sector ecosystems, young population, and connectivity.

Meanwhile, based on the 2020 Global Innovation Report, the Philippines ranked 10th in creative goods exports, scoring above Indonesia, Cambodia, and Laos, but below Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. — Patricia B. Mirasol

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