The Roots Commune: Building a Community of Entrepreneurs for Local Growth

Can sustainable living be sustained? A small band of entrepreneurs is certainly pushing to make it so.

To promote sustainability and local creativity, the Roots Collective, in partnership with Peace and Equity Foundation, held a special exhibit and fair at the Uptown Mall at the end of September of 2019. Called the Roots Commune, it showcased a wide array of ethically-made products – from farm-to-cup blends to zero-waste necessities to handcrafted accessories to all-natural food.

This seven-day event also featured founders of social enterprises, as well as key members from their community partners. They talked about their journey together in building long-lasting collaborations towards a better future for the next generation.

Roots Commune was part of Roots Collective’s efforts to create a space where entrepreneurs could come together and work towards local growth and sustainability. Through this fair, the participating enterprises hoped to provide greater market access and funding opportunities for their partner communities.

It housed several well-loved local brands such as Tsaa Laya, Habi Footwear and Lifestyle, Gouache Bags, Woven, Hiraya, Wholly Grain, Balai Kamay, and many more. As social enterprises, each of them collaborates with a community of skilled workers – from farmers to rural weavers to urban artisans – to create mindful and impactful products. More than the bottom line, these entrepreneurs strive to importance to their respective social missions and their shared goals of inclusive growth.

According to Jamir Ocampo, founder of Tsaa Laya and current Chief Operation Officer of Roots Collective, “We realized there’s really a need for a community hub. It’s just more than a space – we help each other figure out together how to grow big. If there’s anything that this new generation of social enterprise did at Roots, it’s growing together.”

The Roots Commune was held at Uptown Mall, Atrium in Taguig from September 30 to October 6, 2019. On October 2, the Sibol Fund Kick-off was held in the space, featuring development funders Peace and Equity Foundation and Forest Foundation Philippines. Apart from that, there were creativity workshops, advocacy talks, and recycling drives all throughout the week.