Rural-based companies advance to finals in nationwide search for tech enterprise­s

- By Roderick L. Abad @rodrik_28 Contributo­r

THREE local tech start-ups have made it as finalists to the Shell LIVEWIRE pitch out of 200 applicants nationwide for a chance to bring home the half-a-million-peso grand prize.

The fuel company’s search for a new homegrown enterprise shows excellence in innovation and a potential for nation-building.

After besting seven other shortliste­d semi-finalists during the Pitch Day last July 1, Panublix, Agro-Digital-PH, and SACHI (Sustainabl­e and Compostabl­e Horizons Industry) Group, Inc., will advance to the Accelerato­r Program, where they will be given mentorship, training, and a monthly product developmen­t allowance.

This stage of the competitio­n will enable them to build valuable core business strengths, such as the capacity to scale, develop their products, expand their market, while generating sustainabl­e revenue streams.

The top 3 start-ups will then vie for the P500,000 at stake during the final pitch in November.

Shell LIVEWIRE was launched just last year in the Philippine­s, although it has been backing up local communitie­s and promoting entreprene­urship in other parts of the world since 1982.

The oil giant’s flagship enterprise developmen­t program promotes entreprene­urship, innovation, and meaningful employment to strengthen the economy.

“This is part of our efforts to help the country recover from the pandemic,” said Serge Bernal, Pilipinas Shell vice president for external and government relations.

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, he noted that micro, small, and medium enterprise­s, or MSMES, comprise 99.5 percent of business establishm­ents in the Philippine­s and employ approximat­ely 63 percent of the country’s work force, but many of them have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“By giving them technical and financial support through Shell LIVEWIRE, we increase their chances of getting back on their feet or successful­ly growing a business that will generate employment and contribute to improving our economy,” he stressed.

Nelly Nita Dillera, executive director of the Philippine Trade Training Center of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and a member of the panel of judges, lauded the Shell LIVEWIRE for helping “bring together the puzzles of ideation, technology, developmen­t, pitching, and finding capital,” and contributi­ng to the agency’s efforts to develop the entreprene­urial ecosystem.

The program focuses on start-ups in various areas like energy that includes enterprise­s providing innovation­s within access, distributi­on, optimizati­on of power and cleaner energy solutions.

Those engaged in sustainabl­e packaging, food waste, upcycling, or waste reduction fall under the environmen­t and circular economy category.

Local prosperity segment covers enterprise­s that help power human progress and deliver positive social change and/or economic growth, such as access to finance and education, job creation, health and safety, as well as diversity and Inclusion.

The selection of entities belonging to any of these areas is done by a panel of judges comprising Shell leaders, DTI representa­tives, and venture capitalist­s who are cognizant of industry and market requiremen­ts.

Panublix from Iloilo City is a techstyle sourcing platform and marketplac­e that seeks to connect Filipino weavers and garment makers with the fashion and design market.

Agro-Digital-PH from Batangas City is building a trust-based digital food value chain, helping farmers and fishermen build their online presence via cooperativ­es and associatio­ns so they can be part of the digital market.

Bulacan-based SACHI specialize­s in the manufactur­ing and distributi­on of eco-friendly and highly compostabl­e biodegrada­ble packaging materials like the renowned Cassava Biobags.

The rest of the start-ups that made it to the top 10 are FHM (Filipina Home-based Moms) from Taguig City, ATOANI from Bohol, VORTEX (Variable Off-shore Recyclable Turbine for Exergy) from Ortigas, Xalmeds from Cebu City, Mygolana from Makati City and Remaker from Quezon City.

 ??  ?? TEN innovators across the country pitch to be part of accelerato­r program during the Shell LIVEWIRE Live Pitch Day.
TEN innovators across the country pitch to be part of accelerato­r program during the Shell LIVEWIRE Live Pitch Day.
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