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


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-DigitalPH, 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 tech-style sourcing platform and marketplace that seeks to connect Filipino weavers and garment makers with the fashion and design market.

Agro-DigitalPH 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.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

Leave a Reply