Ep. 16: Justin Garrido - Social Entrepreneur, Rice Lover, Master of Getting Things Done

Justin Garrido is the Co-Founder and CEO of Social Products, which sources organic food products from Philippine cooperative smallholder farmer partners that empower rural farmers, women, and indigenous peoples with a more sustainable way to eradicate poverty.

Justin began his journey down the road of social entrepreneurship where his interest was piqued after volunteering at a soup kitchen while still working as a director of purchasing for Aldi, a german supermarket chain.  Justin made the jump from corporate, went back to school - getting an MBA at the U. of Melbourne and going on exchange to the Asian Institute of Managment, and visited the Philippines, the land of his family, with a fresh perspective.  Using his experiences in school and his early forays into the space with SocialProjects.Ph, a crowdfunding platform, Justin co-founded Social Products.  

This episode covers the unique space when passion and profit blend in positive ways.  We talk about Justin’s multiple transitions, the big challenges in using business to “give back”, the power of storytelling especially when selling what could be considered a “commodity product”, and other often misaligned business terms that everyone…including conscious lovers of food should know: strategy, networking, margins, etc.  Oftentimes many a good idea has floundered simply because the people behind it lacked the business acumen and skills required to execute the idea.  If you think that “business” is a bad word that only belongs on Wall Street, give this episode a listen.  It might just be the thing that makes sure the world-shaking ideas you dream up...will survive and thrive. 


4:45 - The road to Social Products
7:20 - Quitting a job, going back to school, and living abroad
10:00 - The "Real" Philippines
11:50 - SocialProject.Ph: Social Platform a la Kickstarter // Redirecting remittances
13:35 - Keeping the fire burning // Passion vs. Profit
18:45 - 3 key needs to grow social entrepreneurship venture: access to funding, markets, business acumen
20:00 - Transitioning into Social Products
22:30 - “The Savior Mentality” // Listening to what communities really need
24:15 - The Family connection: trading rice, wartime supplies, 
26:40 - Products: Black Heirloom Rice, Red Heirloom Rice, Cacao Nibs + Surprising rice facts
30:30 - Using business to support communities and the biggest challenges in “giving back” 
34:45 - Why target organic/natural/specialty
35:45 The challenges of storytelling // “Sex No Longer Sells, Activism Does”
39:30 - What resonates with Social Products' buyers?
43:00 - Corporate/MBA experiences that came in handy when the time came
46:45 - Skills people should being practicing if they want to move into social entrepreneurship: “heart”, research, sales, operations
50:40 - Just Do It  
51:50 - The power of your network // How Justin convinced an early investor to invest in him rather than buy a new car
57:25 - Essential daily routines and tools: Google Drive, writing down procedures

Rapid Fire:
Most Influential Person: Charlene Tan of Good Food Community
Most Useful Tool(s): Shopify / Xero Cloud Accounting
3 Ingredients That Describe Justin: Rice, Cacao, Coconut Sugar
Resource for the Common Person: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Vocab & Other Links:
Kiva (micro-loans)
Net Impact 
GK Enchanted Farm
Rags to Riches
Plus63 // Dan Matutina
Mt. Apo
Malagos Chocolate
Hermetic Cocoon
Good Food Community (GFC)  // Charlene Tan
Michael Porter
GoNegosyo // Joey Concepcion
Eighth Wonder

Follow the Story...
: SocialProducts.org
Instagram: @SocialProducts
Twitter: @SocialProducts