Kuya Impact is a social enterprise that transfers profits back up the supply chain, specifically to the small-scale workers and producers of the product. Additionally, a percentage of net profits are shared with vetted advocacy organizations in the Philippines. The focus of Kuya Impact is to bring packaged goods from the Philippines to the United States, maximizing price differentials, and effectively impacting third-world communities. We employ a social impact framework to determine points of contribution—targeting production chain stakeholders—while delivering quality consumer packaged goods.
Demographic: The Filipino American community is the largest Asian American group in California. Throughout the United States, they stand at an estimated 4+ million in population. Our initial outreach and marketing is directed to this community to gain initial traction, with the awareness to expand. Filipino food and culture is increasingly being consumed by the mainstream US market.
Marketing: We have focused on niche-demographic marketing to build a small but consistent base. Our primary marketing channel is a podcast called The Filipino Garage that features Filipino American community leaders, artists, and entrepreneurs. We currently have a steady viewership of around 300 unique monthly listeners, with total downloaded hours at 38k. We feature specific Filipino American individuals, leading to brand collaborations and endorsements.
Clothing – Small Batch & High Profit (30% Advocacy Funds)
We partnered with Dead Eye Designs, a family-owned design and printing company in the Philippines, to print custom clothing for the United States market. The shirts are printed on high-performance fabric and allow for all-over sublimation. We’re in negotiation with DED to advocate for profit-sharing with their sewers. For now, we’re following our 30% net-profit advocacy model, with funds directed to our partner NGOs in the Philippines.
Without any paid marketing, we have sold shirts to the Filipino American demographic. A majority of our designs is specific to sub-group culture and topics, such as our Boxer Codex design which features illustrations of pre-colonial Visayans. Produced in small batches, we have sold more than 150 units through word-of-mouth, selling out most designs. Our next batch of shirts are arriving by the end of August. Two additional brand collaborations are set to be delivered by mid-October.
Kuya Coffee – 70% Increase on Fair Trade & Profit-Sharing
We are importing coffee from the Philippines, with a focus on barako (a Filipino liberica coffee varietal) and single-origin beans. We focus on partnering with smaller roasters that use direct-from-farmers sourcing. Our unique selling proposition are the uniqueness of the barako variety and our social impact on local farmers.
The next batch of coffee beans is scheduled to arrive in the US by the last week of August 2020.
Increasing Fair Trade: One of our sources, Kalsada Coffee, pays local small-scale farmers $1 more per pound than the local Fair Trade price—a 70% market increase from the local standard of $1.40 per pound. We are currently sourcing from 3 different roasters and are working with them to determine points of impact for advocacy interventions.
Profit-Sharing: Once net profits are calculated, 30% is shared with specific advocacy organizations in the Philippines. Our team lead, Christian Guerrero, has been actively working with these organizations throughout the years. One major problem is the instability of funding due to the reliance on grants or donations. Since we are a for-profit social enterprise, our funding is tied to the sale of products—we are not grant-dependent. We plan to consistently distribute a portion of our net profits for social advocacy campaigns conducted by these nonprofit and NGO groups.
PEOPLES’ SOLIDARITY & EDUCATION TOURS
PSET challenges the norm of leisure tourism in the Philippines through guest conscientization, advocacy, and capacity development. They partner with community organizations to provide visitors a more immersive and authentic experience of the Philippines—one rooted in advocacy, awareness, and local socioeconomic realities.
NOTHING 2 LOSE FOUNDATION
N2L produces local leaders through sports scholarships, leadership training, medical missions, and community economic development. Their main region of focus is in Romblon & Bacolod City in the Philippines. Donated funds will fund a youth jiu jitsu program for previously-incarcerated youth to support their reintegration.
Lambanog – Distilled Coconut Spirits (Vertical Integration)
Our 3rd long-term product is the importation of Filipino lambanog—distilled coconut sap that parallels vodka at around 42% alc/volume. We’re currently partnering with one of the larger distillers in the Quezon province of the Philippines—Capistrano Distillery. We are partnering to to rebrand and market the product to US markets. There is currently only 1 other importer of lambanog into the United States.
Vertical Integration: While we’re working with Capistrano for initial sourcing, our long-term vision is to achieve a vertical supply chain in order to directly impact local farmers and the producers of lambanog. Local minimum wage for plantation agricultural workers is around $4/day. We want to achieve vertical integration so we can pay local farmers higher wages in order to capitalize on profits made from the US market. We’re currently in talks to access 100 coconut trees in Batangas for production.
Legal Clearances: Our lead for this product is Sarah Guerrero, who is currently working as an attorney in San Francisco. Our timeline for filing for the appropriate alcohol licenses is in January 2021.
Sari Store – Mobile Hub for Filipino-Owned Businesses
To tie all our commerce and community goals together, we’re developing a mobile hub for Filipino-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in the United States. We conducted focus group sessions with local business owners in Daly City, CA and they shared the need for more unity within commerce and community economic development. Our lead programmer is Kevin Reber and he will be building a mobile app to help consumers connect with Filipino-owned businesses. Our current database has 100+ Filipino-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, with a focus on the Bay Area. We are currently working on the backend code to connect the Google Maps API with our database on Airtable. We currently have basic wireframes to illustrate the main components and UX layout of the app: a feed of location and time-based spotlights, business categories, community organizations & events, and an in-house shop with curated products. The model is to have free listings on the app, while highlighting businesses and projects that have active social impact features.
For a clickable wireframe, view here on Balsamiq. (Full Image)
Focus Group Sessions
The focus-group sessions were led by Filipino Mental Health Initiative of San Mateo County (FMHI-SMC), with local business owners and entrepreneurs as attendees. We assessed the economic needs of the Filipino American community and received feedback that a centralized hub for businesses and entrepreneurs would be very helpful. From this finding, we developed and released the first iteration of a web-based database of Filipino-owned businesses, with a focus on locations based in Daly City, CA. The database was shared through the official channels of San Mateo County, due to the county’s partnership with FHMI-SMC. This was in response to the commerce losses incurred due to the initial shelter-in-place mandate.