Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pinoy entrepreneurial mind acceptable to Dutch NGO

Pinoy entrepreneurial mind acceptable to Dutch NGO
By Angela Celis
Malaya Business Insight
November 17, 2011

One day six years ago, Noel Percil and Jonah Nobleza separately surfed the internet and discovered there is a non-government organization (NGO) in The Netherlands that conducts a contest among foreigners to find out the best project the NGO could grant initial funding for.

Percil was surprised when he was notified by the NGO, called Business in Development (BID) Network, that he won the first prize for his "Palletizing Plant for Waste Plastic Material." So was Nobleza, who won second place for her "Integrated Mobile Service Unit for Coconut Processing."

Word spread like wildfire. The Dutch NGO, which also accepts entries from more than 20 other countries, was swamped with entries from the Philippines.

Including those coming from other countries, the management and operation of the entries became kind of messy and might be administratively expensive.

Not a bit irked but, on the contrary, extremely pleased, the Dutch NGO started looking for a partner in the Philippines and in 2007 found the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) as the ideal local partner.

The result of the partnership is Filipino entries are now submitted to the PBSP, still online, instead of being sent to The Netherlands.

The PBSP has been conducting the same contest for the last five years.

Eric Camacho, PBSP assistant director for the Center for Corporate Citizenship, told Malaya Business Insight that the PBSP receives an average of 150 entries each year, from small and medium enterprises that need $10,000 to $1,000,000 to start or expand a business.

Camacho said that the business ideas must be environment-friendly, profitable, and must have an impact on the community.

Out of all the entries, 10 finalists are chosen by a technical working group composed of individuals from different sectors.

The finalists will receive a start-up capital ranging from P100,000 to P300,000 each.

Two winners will be chosen from the 10 finalists and sent to join the international BiD competition. This gives them the opportunity to be visible in the international market, Camacho said.

Every year since the BiD challenge started, Filipino finalists were given awards for different categories.

After Nobleza and Percil won in 2005, Joel Abiera won in 2006 in the student category with his "Pinyas: Pineapple Industry for Youth and Society."

Peter van der Werf from Palawan province placed third in 2007 with "South Sea Exclusives." Rev. Xavier Alpasa won the grand prize in 2008 with "Rags 2 Riches."

In 2009 and 2010, Marianne Olano and Nathalie Arsonillo were the "Women in Business Challenge" winners for "Baycrafts" and "Mobile Cassava Processing Unit-Factory Goes to the Farmers," respectively.

Camacho said that aside from choosing the entries which will be sent to the international competition, the PBSP assigns advisers for good business concepts, for both winners and non-winners.

He added that the NGO also conducts "investment matchmaking," where individuals will pitch their business proposals to a group of investors, who could invest in the businesses through loans, grants, or equity.

Camacho said that entries submitted by the poor, including women, and by persons with disabilities have a better chance of making it to the finals.

He added that entries with products that are made out of recycled or local materials also have an advantage.

The fund used by the PBSP comes from corporate sponsors such as Citi, Shell, Smart, Nestle, and Accenture, among many supporters.