In order to have a culture that promotes enterprise, we must constantly strive to explore creative ideas that inspire and encourage Filipino ingenuity towards craftsmanship and innovation. Adopting such a culture will act as the positive catalyst to turn around a persistent negative mental attitude among the youth that dwells in the tradition of lifelong employment and lack of enterprising spirit.
BPI’s Sinag Award, now on its fourth year, is taking the lead with its annual recognition of select social enterprises that demonstrate profitable pursuits of profound impact in both today’s and tomorrow’s societies. As the flagship program of BPI Foundation which is marking its 40th anniversary this year, the Sinag Award is bent on the aim of producing a new, more engaging batch of entrepreneurs bearing clear and powerful concepts about the following sectors outlined to be recipients of support: agriculture, education, energy, and health care.
It’s a milestone for the Foundation to have reached its fourth decade of existence in the area of corporate social responsibility. The stakes for Sinag Award participants, expectedly, shall be higher. According to BPI Foundation executive director Maricris San Diego, the four named as priority sectors had the most potential to make a great impact in Philippine society today. In determining the main criteria for this year’s award, San Diego emphasized that the challenge is for the chosen social enterprises to not simply alleviate poverty but create actual wealth for Filipinos.
Since its inception four years ago, the Sinag program has become a platform for people with business acumen to draw up effective concepts to the points of workability. This year, the BPI Foundation has gone through the length of launching road shows to some key cities, inviting participants to present their business proposals. The qualified applicants will be included in the magic 40 list that will be streamlined later on to about half of that, before finalists are then named.
From the 20, the Foundation will select the 10 Sinag Award winners for 2018, with the first five receiving P500,000 each and the last half getting P100,000 each. The winners’ circle will also receive cash grants and continuously avail of the mentoring from business experts.
As seen in previous years, the Sinag awardees represent the brood of innovators in the business sector that brings in exciting and useful products. In the 2015 edition, there were concepts like Habi Footwear and Bayani Brew. The following year saw the emergence of pitchers like Organic Options and City Hub. Last year there were winners that quickly intrigued with such names as Coffee For Peace and Happy Helpers.
Last year’s contest alone proved to be potpourri of new and original business concepts concocted by the winners, generating healthy excitement in the course of the awards. There was the Accents and Petals Crafts and Accessories, a novelty shop that sell flowers made from recycled wood and paper. Another one called Zarraga Integrated Diversified Organic Farmers Association (ZIDOFA) initialized a community of farmers revolutionizing rice growth with rich organic fertilizer. A furniture-maker employing people with disabilities also made the cut, together with an eco-tourism service in Sorsogon promoting the attractions of the Buhatan River. San Diego iterated that “social entrepreneurs aim to permanently and systematically transform an unfair societal condition.”
Each year, the BPI Sinag challenge is solidifying even more these paths to entrepreneurial empowerment and the creation of ideas that foster help and cooperation, environmental awareness, and revenue generation. This year, the competition levels a notch up with the welcoming of new partners such as impact investor Villgro Philippines and incubator StartUp Village. Apart from embarking on the nationwide roadshow, there is also the endeavor to assess impact on past BPI Sinag awardees.
BPI Foundation is officially the social innovation arm of the Bank of the Phlippine Islands. Its 40th anniversary, bearing the theme “planting the seeds for the future”, is in response to the ever-changing society Filipinos have come to know.