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Canva's mission is to "Empower the World to Design" regardless of location, socioeconomic status, or expertise. The online visual communication platform provides users with an easy and intuitive way to create professional designs. It offers a range of elements, templates, and AI-powered tools to create logos, presentations, and other visual content. Operating in eight countries, Canva established its presence in the Philippines in 2014 to bolster its worldwide operations.
Canva's technology supports Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, advancing the design industry by making graphic design tools accessible to a broader audience. The company also supports Decent Work and Economic Growth, empowering individuals, entrepreneurs, and businesses with design tools and templates to create professional-quality visuals. Embodying its "Be a Force for Good" value, the company also supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of No Poverty, Quality Education, Reduced Inequality, and Responsible Consumption and Production, as highlighted in this story's Social and Environmental Benefits section.
The Founders envisioned an all-in-one platform incorporating design, editing, publishing, content management, and printing. "There were different websites for different features. Canva offers a one-stop shop for all things design," said Country Lead for Canva Philippines, Yani Hornilla-Donato. Canva's innovations attribute to its:
Canva's seamless functionalities have made it a popular and valuable tool for individuals, businesses, educators, and professionals. The product is available in more than 100 languages across 190 countries. The above features of inclusivity and accessibility further support the SGDs on Industry, Innovation, Infrastructure, and Reduced Inequalities.
Canva's co-Founders are Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams. The idea was sparked in 2007 when Ms. Perkins taught classmates how to use InDesign and Photoshop. Ms. Perkins and Mr. Obrecht then founded Fusion Books, an online design platform that creates professional high-quality yearbooks. Over time, they expanded their product portfolio and recruited like-minded developer Cameron Adams. In August 2013, the three Founders launched Canva, democratizing design without the need for extensive knowledge or expensive software.
To ensure users and customers were confident with the innovative product, the Customer Happiness Team was established in the Philippines. "Their mission was to ensure users are happy, confident, and supported as they use Canva," said Ms. Hornilla-Donato. Over time, Canva Philippines has scaled its "Truly Lokal" ("Truly Local") campus to become the largest office outside the Australian home office. The campus houses Engineering, Marketing, Sales, and People (Human Resources), among other business functions.
Canva Philippines strives to uphold Canva’s overall mission. Since its inception in 2014, Canva's “Two-Step Plan” has been integral to its mission, culture, and DNA.
Step 1. Become one of the most valuable companies in the world. Canva has achieved continuous profitability in the last six years. “The Philippines is one of Canva’s fastest-growing markets and a key contributor to its user growth,” said Ms. Hornilla-Donato. By offering local content in the Filipino (Tagalog) language, Canva Philippines was able to make strides to champion product usage and pursue overall growth. Canva’s financial position enables them to grow local teams, expand product and AI innovation efforts, and build a sustainable business.
Step 2. Do the most good we can. Canva is part of the Pledge 1% initiative, where companies give back 1% of their profit, equity, product, or time to their communities. To embody its “Be a Force for Good” value, Canva Philippines also pledged to donate in all four areas. Canva for Nonprofits empowers 400,000 nonprofit organizations around the globe by providing free access and educational workshops to support them in championing global causes. Canva for Education provides free access to over 35 million teachers and students, catering to their visual communication needs. Each Canvanaut is granted three paid Force For Good volunteer leave annually, enabling them to contribute to causes they are passionate about. As of July 2022, Canva has over 510 volunteers who contribute over 2,100 hours globally.
Besides donating 1% of Canva's profits, Co-Founders Melanie and Cliff committed most of their equity (30% of Canva) to doing good in the world through the Canva Foundation.
Canva's success reflects in its substantial funding and investment. In a funding round held in April 2021, the company raised $71 million, resulting in a valuation of $15 billion. This vote of confidence solidifies investors' interest in Canva's potential for growth.
In 2020 and 2021, Canva Philippines was named one of the “Best Workplaces” by Great Place to Work, recognizing employee trust and potential within the organization. In 2022, Canva was named Time’s “100 Most Influential Companies.” Canva's evolving Visual Suite introduces design-focused alternatives, including Canva Docs, Canva Whiteboards, and Magic Write, an AI-powered writing assistant. Communication is increasingly becoming more visual, and Canva is committed to providing a full suite of products that meet the demands of the modern workforce.
Canva Philippines is committed to becoming a "Force for Good" by improving digital literacy, creativity, and entrepreneurship in the Philippines. They partner with educational institutions, organizations, and local communities to help Filipinos achieve their personal and professional objectives.
"Actions toward ending poverty is something we actively pursue across all campuses of Canva, especially in the Philippines," said Ms. Hornilla-Donato. Poverty is a real issue that occupies a considerable space in the country. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reports that 18% of Filipinos live below the poverty line. Canva Philippines partners with non-profit organizations that help alleviate poverty, hunger, and other hardships. "We are very conscious of the partners we work with locally to ensure maximum impact on the community," said Ms. Hornilla-Donato. Some non-profit organizations the company supports include Rise Against Hunger and International Children's Action Network (ICAN).
It is equally important for Canva Philippines to pay employees fairly and above the minimum wage. For Ms. Hornilla-Donato, every Canavanaut has a chance to uplift themselves from poverty or their current situation. This consideration empowers them to focus on the workplace instead of worrying about the scarcity of resources.
Canva Philippines introduced Canva Eskwela (Canva School) to support K-12 teachers and students in revolutionizing educational material. "Quality education is very close to our hearts. Our public school system has a lot of opportunities," said Ms. Hornilla-Donato. According to UNICEF, Filipino children are lagging due to low investment, outdated teaching methods, and limited attention to their emotional development. Canva's visual tools facilitate engaging educational content, presentations, and resources. It also empowers students to excel in a visually-focused society. Ms. Hornilla-Donato highlighted that Canva Philippines has a dedicated community to promote and teach this free resource. She said, "When we first launched this in the Philippines, we saw the importance of high-touch engagement. We became one of the highest markets of education users globally."
Ms. Hornilla-Donato shares that Canva Philippines values inclusivity and accessibility. She said, "We strive for equity across all demographics in Canva." The first step was to listen to the different communities and groups, especially those underrepresented. The company constantly innovates its policies, processes, and benefits to be equitable for the team. This workplace culture extends to customers and users, ensuring they are heard, equipped, and empowered, regardless of who they are or where they are from.
As the Philippine economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, Canva Philippines invests its time and resources toward Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that constitute 99.5% of businesses in the country. "We have a strong community strategy that engages business owners to use Canva to help them make a profit and expand their business goals," said Ms. Hornilla-Donato. Canva for Negosyo (Canva for Business) provides a hub of curated content for small businesses seeking resources to design, market, and manage their ventures online. In 2022, they organized the Negosyantrends (Entrepreneur Trends) MSME Summit, a multi-series event that showcased industry experts, local crafters, artisans, and small businesses. One example was Rags2Riches, a social enterprise in the Philippines that provides a sustainable livelihood for women from marginalized communities. The organization combines ethical sourcing, fair trade practices, and environmental sustainability.
Canva's growth also provides more employment opportunities at the Philippine campus. Ms. Hornilla-Donato shared, "One of the reasons we strive to make an impact and expand is precisely to provide more jobs to Filipinos." Today, Canva Philippines has over 800 Canvanauts, supporting the country's economy.
At the Philippine campus, local resources are celebrated. Ms. Hornilla-Donato said, "If you look at our office, we have a lot of upcycled materials. Canva pursues sustainable practices to ensure it reduces waste." Waste management and paperless systems are in place to support recycling and carbon footprint.
Canva's One Print, One Tree initiative contributes to environmental restoration by planting trees for each print order made within the Canva community. Through this initiative, the Philippines has over 230,000 planted trees to protect endangered species and communities against deforestation. Narra and Bitatog trees have been planted on Palaui Island to assist the indigenous population. In the Cagayan province, the program partners with the Mabuwaya Foundation to plant trees for conservation and income generation. Monkayo and Mt. Sinaka regions focus on protecting local wildlife and the endangered Philippine Eagle. The program plans to plant millions more trees to support communities and protect ecosystems.
Overall, Canva Philippines assists in local growth and strategic goals and empowers communities within the constantly expanding digital landscape. By revolutionizing visual communication, fostering cultural expression, and supporting education and other social causes, the company makes significant strides toward being a Force for Good.
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Yani Hornilla-Donato, Country Lead
Canva is an online design and visual communication platform that aims to empower everyone to design anything and publish anywhere. Through its user-friendly interface and wide range of pre-designed elements, Canva has become widely popular among individuals and businesses, allowing them to easily create professional-grade graphics, presentations, and other visual content.