In 2016, Gina Lynn Valdez, a certified public accountant, started volunteering at Gawad Kalinga (GK) Enchanted Farm on weekends. With her skillset, she helped out in the bookkeeping of a social enterprise. For the next few months, while treading between her full-time job and volunteer work, Gina began questioning if she wanted to be in a corporate job for the rest of her life. The clear answer is no. She decided to quit her corporate job and join GK Enchanted Farm full-time.
Working in an incubation hub for start-ups, Gina saw a common pattern among the other enterprises holding their residence in the farm. While social entrepreneurs were natural salesmen and marketers, they seemed to have difficulty with financial management. “What was lacking was an accounting and finance function. There was so much effort and resources being wasted, and many times, they would end up losing money and people,” Gina said.
This is not an uncommon scenario. Managing finances is one of the main reasons startups and social enterprises fail to scale. As a consequence to not being adept in cash handling, entrepreneurs cannot give the necessary reports to grantees and investors despite the social impact or profit generated by the business. “Whenever I produce a report, I get blank stares. Sayang (too bad), because the dream for any entrepreneur is really to scale up their business.”
In 2017, social enterprises started approaching her to outsource their accounting and bookkeeping needs. In 2019, Gina finally admitted she was ready to open an enterprise herself. With the help of the management team of GK Enchanted Farm, she then officially founded Numbers That Matter PH.
Numbers That Matter PH, she realized, was a finance service intervention for social entrepreneurs. They offer outsourced accounting services, systems integration and improvement, cash flow management, and financial education to entrepreneurs, letting them realize that it is not just about having a good, profitable product. It is also about having a sound financial position and management system.
Gina and IISLA’s Founder and CEO Jennifer Viloria met at the GK farm as well, volunteering in the same year. The two entrepreneurs connected because of their common finance background and mutual projects. “When Jennifer and I first met, I was quite happy, because I found someone who understands the importance of a good financial model in order to responsibly allocate resources where they should be allocated.”
IISLA and Numbers That Matter PH will be partnering for a new program that puts the spotlight on understanding and, ultimately, evaluating social impact vis-a-vis financial sustainability and conscious investment. Through the said collaboration, impact investment in the Philippines is expected to take a promising leap.
The collaborative engagement between IISLA and Numbers That Matter PH will be launched in 2021. Check back on the blog for the official announcement.