It makes me incredibly proud to say that I work for a company with strong social responsibility programs. Just this morning, I was fortunate enough to be part of an audience of young students, faculty and entrepreneurs witnessing the unveiling of a new and exciting project. This project, a joint venture between BPI Foundation, Inc. and the Ateneo Center for Social Entrepreneurship (ACSEnt), is called BPI Sinag.
Sinag, a Filipino term which means a burst of light, aims to promote inclusive growth through sustainable development. We are not blind to the fact that the last couple of decades have been rough for the Philippines. However, in the last few years, we have experienced growth and a better economy. Yes we are no longer the ‘sick man of Asia’, but there’s still so much we can do in terms of alleviating poverty and empowering the Filipinos. This is where the project comes in. BPI Sinag is a business plan competition that aims to empower social entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge that would help them effect change in the country, and possibly the world.
Social entrepreneurship is not a new concept to me, but it still is not a household name. And I think it is about time that it becomes one. Social enterprises focus not only on profits, but basically how to do well and do good at the same time. It is having a profitable business, that allows other stakeholders to profit as well. One good example is Rags2Riches, where women from Payatas transform rags into world class bags, accessories and household items.
The BPI Sinag program concept is quite simple. Young social entrepreneurs ages 18-35 with startup organizations of not more than 3 years, or potential social entrepreneurs with a vision for change and betterment, may apply to join the contest. Top entries will experience a social entrepreneurship boot camp with excellent insights from practitioners. Five finalists will be chosen and will receive P200,000 each, 6-month mentoring, access to the Ateneo business incubation center and if qualified, will also receive access to financing via BPI Family Bank’s KaNegosyo Loan to help sustain the enterprise.
This morning’s Davao launch left me wide-eyed, with my brain going overdrive on all the amazing possibilities that could transpire from simple geniuses. I was even more inspired when I saw this:
It is my hope that BPI Sinag becomes a catalyst for change in the perspective of budding entrepreneurs from a profitability to a sustainability point-of view. If this goes where I see it will, then perhaps there is hope for our country after all.
*Submission of entries for the challenge starts on May 22, 2015 and ends on July 20, 2015.