Social enterprise Messy Bessy joins Business Call to Action by committing to train and employ at-risk youth in the Philippines
Makati City, Philippines, 8 May 2017 – Natural product manufacturer Messy Bessy has joined Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a pledge to assist 800 at-risk youth through on-the-job immersion, education assistance and life-skills support by 2020. In collaboration with its non-profit affiliate, the Helping Ourselves through Sustainable Enterprises (HOUSE) Foundation, the company has also pledged to engage at least 50 partner organizations in providing additional training and employment opportunities. Launched in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$8 per day in purchasing power as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Inclusive enterprise Messy Bessy was established in 2007, when founder Kristine Reyes-Lopez began producing natural, biodegradable household products in her kitchen. Since the market for eco-friendly home and care products was virtually untapped at the time, Messy Bessy became one of the first few all-natural home and personal-care brands in the Philippines. Production quickly grew from Ms. Lopez’ kitchen to a 300 m2 warehouse supplying nine kiosks in malls across metro Manila and over 100 retailers throughout the country.
In addition to selling biodegradable, non-polluting products, Messy Bessy was envisioned as a means to train and employ formerly abused and trafficked young women. However, Messy Bessy’s management quickly realized that education and employment alone were not enough to make lasting changes in these vulnerable young adults’ lives. Many of its employees needed psycho-social support and lacked basic life skills, and the company initially had difficulty retaining its staff.
To tackle these challenges, Messy Bessy integrated the Helping Ourselves Programme into its inclusive business model, supporting its young “learners” with a holistic suite of services that guides them towards completing their education and starting solid careers. Its support includes counseling, life-skills, financial literacy and computer training, help with time management, customer service and effective communication, high school exam and college enrollment preparation, tuition subsidies and student loans, tutoring and more.
According to BCtA Programme Manager Paula Pelaez, “Messy Bessy’s inclusive Helping Ourselves Programme is providing critical support and employment to some of the Philippines’ most vulnerable young people, including formerly abused, trafficked, incarcerated, and homeless teens. By cultivating their innate potential and empowering them to succeed, the company is building a strong foundation for future growth – through selling products that keep the country’s water clean.”
As the company has grown, it has begun partnering with other companies in order to replicate its inclusive model. In 2015, the HOUSE Foundation was established to allow Messy Bessy learners to train with other enterprises such as Happy Skin Cosmetics, Starbucks Philippines and Straightforward Clothing. By 2020, Messy Bessy aims to engage at least 50 private and non-profit partners in sourcing learners, supporting their development through knowledge and technology sharing, and providing additional training and employment opportunities.
With the HOUSE Foundation, the company has already assisted more than 250 young adults and now boasts 20 high school graduates, 55 college enrollees and 18 college graduates. As it cultivates its workforce, its sales have grown steadily; in 2016 alone, they grew by 40 percent. In the next year, there are plans to open additional kiosks and expand the biodegradable product line to include pet-care products. By 2020, the company expects to graduate an additional 45 learners from college.
“Through our network of partners, Messy Bessy and the HOUSE Foundation will continue providing a unique and meaningful training ground for learners, and preparing them for the future,” said company Founder and CEO Kristine Reyes-Lopez. “We look forward to expanding this partnership as we continue empowering our learners to become integral members of our growing company.”
For further information:
BCtA: Aimee Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org
Messy Bessy/HOUSE Foundation: Sofia Almira H. Atanacio at email@example.com
BCtA membership does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.
About Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that yield both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is a unique multilateral alliance among donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), UK Department for International Development, US Agency for International Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme — which hosts the secretariat. For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org or find us on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative.
About Messy Bessy: Messy Bessy Cleaners, Inc. manufactures and sells natural and biodegradable household and personal-care products while providing education, employment, and empowerment to at-risk young adults. Established in 2007, the company’s inclusive business model focuses on training and employing formerly abused, trafficked, incarcerated, out of school and homeless youth from low-income communities. This approach is strengthened by complementary psycho-social and life-skills support provided through the company’s affiliated HOUSE Foundation. To date, Messy Bessy has assisted more than 250 young adults while expanding its network of sales kiosks and affiliated retailers. For more information about Messy Bessy and its social impacts, visit: www.messybessy.com.