Mark Joaquin Ruiz
Ruiz left a senior management role in customer development to co-found MicroVentures Inc., an organization that empowers women entrepreneurs at the base of the pyramid. As its current president, he oversees the organization with a specific focus on strategy and new business development.
Ruiz said he felt the need to leave the corporate setting because he wanted to do something “with more social impact.” His motivation for setting up MicroVentures was the desire to be able to set up a business that, fundamentally, can also help people. At that time, he didn’t know what social enterprises were.
MicroVentures’ Hapinoy Program does just that. A social enterprise that supports sari-sari store owners in rural areas, Hapinoy provides these microentrepreneurs access to microfinance, training and new business opportunities. It has now been able to work with 7,000 to 10,000 sari-sari stories and train roughly 2,000 microentrepreneurs.
Apart from leading MicroVentures, Ruiz is a founding partner and board member at Rags2Riches, an enterprise which helps urban poor communities create fashion-designer items from upcycled materials, and a partner at PolyGreen, a clean tech startup that converts plastic waste into fuel. He is also a GSBI online mentor at Santa Clara University, and a social entrepreneur-in-residence at the INSEAD Center for Entrepreneurship.
Ruiz has been recognized as a Philippines 21 Young Leader for Asia Society in 2008, Go Negosyo Young Inspiring Social Entrepreneur 2010, 2011 Global Social Benefit Incubator Fellow and 2011 Social Entrepreneur of the Year for Asia by the World Economic Forum’s Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs.