Marie Lisa M. Dacanay

President, Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA)

Marie Lisa Dacanay, Ph.D. is the founding President of the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA) and is a pioneer in social entrepreneurship education and research in the region. She is a coach and mentor of social entrepreneurship practitioners and resource institutions and a bridging leader promoting dialogue and collaboration between the social enterprise sector with government, business, civil society and academe to achieve greater impact. She was awarded as Outstanding Social Innovation Thought Leader 2019 by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and World Economic Forum.

Through ISEA and its partners, she has led the building of platforms and the promotion of an ecosystem for social entrepreneurship to become a major pathway to address poverty, inequality and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. She led the policy research and consultations that resulted to the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Coalition and ongoing efforts to lobby for the enactment of a PRESENT Law in the Philippines. She is leading the development of the Social and Community Enterprise Constituency as part of the Regional Civil Society Engagement Mechanism with the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development. She has led multi-stakeholder platform building initiatives on Women's Empowerment, Livelihoods and Food in Agricultural Value Chains focusing on promoting a set of benchmarks and guidelines for transformational partnerships that empower women and men small scale producers; Technological Innovations for Sustainable Development focusing on bridging the digital divide through community networks; and Rural Revitalization, Youth and Social Entrepreneurship promoting youth engagement in social entrepreneurship for sustainable rural development. As part of Catalyst 2030, she is leading program development and resource mobilization efforts towards inclusive recovery and accelerating the achievement of the SDGs through an initiative called Catalyzing the Recovery of Social and Community Enterprises for Transformation (CRESCENT) in the Philippines and Asia-Pacific focusing on food security, sustainable livelihoods and climate resilience; community networks and digital transformation; community-based health and wellness; women's empowerment and youth engagement as major themes.

She was Associate Professor and Program Director of the Master in Entrepreneurship for Social and Development Entrepreneurs (MESODEV) at the Asian Institute of Management from 2001-2007. She has also been a Faculty and Guru of the pilot offering of the Master in Entrepreneurship major in Social Enterprise Development (MESEDEV) at the Ateneo de Manila University Graduate School of Business from 2015-2017. She continues to teach social entrepreneurship courses jointly delivered by ISEA and the Ateneo Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Dacanay is the author or principal author/editor of various books and publications on social entrepreneurship in the Philippines and Asia such as Creating a Space in the Market: Social Enterprise Stories in Asia (2004); Measuring Social Enterprise: A Resource Book on Social Enterprise Performance Measurement (2009), Social Entrepreneurship: An Asian Perspective (2009), Social Enterprises and the Poor: Transforming Wealth (2013), Social Enterprises in the Philippines: Social Enterprises with the Poor as Primary Stakeholders (2019), Social Enterprises and Agricultural Value Chains in Southeast Asia (2019), Social Enterprises as Game Changers in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (2020), and Social Entrepreneurship and Productivity (2022).

She has more than 30 years of experience in development management and consulting, social entrepreneurship and international development cooperation. She holds a Master in Development Management (With Distinction) from the Asian Institute of Management in the Philippines (1996) and a PhD (Organizational and Management Studies) from the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark (2012). Her PhD thesis on Social Enterprises and the Poor shows how different stakeholder engagement models impact differently on the poor.

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