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Marie Lisa M. Dacanay

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.

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 the action research and a multi-stakeholder platform building initiative promoting a set of Benchmarks for Transformational Partnerships and Women's Economic Empowerment in Agricultural Value Chains in Southeast Asia and beyond, expected to be launched by ISEA and its partners in March 2020.

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.

Dr. Dacanay is the author or principal author/editor of various 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) and Social Enterprises and Agricultural Value Chains in Southeast Asia (2019).

She has more than 25 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.

Areas of Impact

Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA)

The Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA) is a learning and action network set up by social enterprises and social enterprise resource institutions and scholars to catalyze knowledge creation, capacity development and movement-building for social entrepreneurship in the region.


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