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Business Solutions for Social Empowerment in the Philippines

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I believe that each of us has a purpose in life, and that we should aim to discern and pursue this. Just before my father passed away when I was a teenager, he told my siblings and me to take care of our mother and each other, get a good education and help our people. My life since then has been a quest to figure out how to make this happen.

There is no doubt that the Filipino people are incredibly gifted and hardworking. Yet somehow we have not been able to realize our potential. Indeed, how can anybody realize their potential if they do not have access to the very basic things that are needed to live a decent life and move out of poverty?

We in the Philippines are fortunate to enjoy numerous environmental advantages, including a benign climate and an abundance of resources. People here can survive so long as they have food, clean water and shelter. But, how can they improve their condition and create a better life for their children without such services as energy, healthcare, education and communications?

Innovative technologies and facilities that deliver these services already exist. The problem is that these have not been disseminated widely or quickly enough. We at Hybrid Social Solutions (HSSi) frame this quandary as an access problem. Our company's goal is to help people, especially those in rural areas, gain access to the services that they need to develop.

So far, we have expanded access to clean energy in rural Philippine communities through sustainable and replicable programmes that leverage commercial and social forces. We hope that the collective efforts of social business across different sectors will one day provide access to basic services for all people, maybe even in our generation.

I am blessed that social entrepreneurship enables me to integrate my lifelong interests in technological innovation, business design and economic development in one single career. Looking back, I only wish had started my business sooner.

To aspiring entrepreneurs, my advice is: focus on a problem that you feel passionate about. At the end of the day, businesses exist to meet the unmet needs of a group or sector. As a society, we desperately require a paradigm shift on how business operates and how it can help solve our most pressing problems. Find a problem you are passionate about, and consider starting a business to try to solve it.

Jaime Ayala is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hybrid Social Solutions (HSSi), the Philippines.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, in recognition of the latter's Social Entrepreneurs Class of 2013. For more than a decade, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has selected leading models of social innovation from around the world. Today we have 254 from nearly 60 countries, covering renewable energy and sanitation to job training and access to higher education. Follow the Schwab Foundation on Twitter at @schwabfound or nominate a Social Entrepreneur at http://www.schwabfound.org/sf/index.htm. To see all the post in the series, click here.