A unit of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) launched on May 31 a financing window for millennial entrepreneurs still in school.
Called BPI Sinag U, the financing window was added to the category of a competition by the BPI Foundation Inc. to develop student entrepreneurs.
Together with the Ateneo de Manila University’s Center for Social Entrepreneurship (Acsent), the program will tap universities around the country to find student entrepreneurs with business ideas and submit their business plans. After making it to the list, the selected students will get the opportunity to participate in the regional and national booth camps and mentoring sessions. Finalists will receive seed funding to make their social enterprise operational, according to BPI Foundation Director Fidelina Corcuera.
“When we first invited the millennials last year to share their social enterprise ideas as part of the BPI Sinag [last year], we were encouraged by their immense energy, creativity and dedication,” Corcuera said. She added that led the bank’s corporate responsibility arm to create a category for university students for this year’s round.
“We hope to fuel their passion for social change while they are still young,” Corcuera said. She added they also hope the foundation can “provide guidance, tools and networks so that they can transform their ideas into viable and sustainable social enterprises.”
In their testimonials, Virtualahan founder Ryan Gersava and Siglo founder Alvin Tan urged more student entrepreneurs to join the competition and have the opportunity to show their ideas.
Tan, who is also the president of Technominds Easco Inc., said he developed Siglo for the BPI Sinag Business Challenge last year to enable small businesses and medium-scale enterprises to use the mobile technology as a platform for their business.
Established in October 2015, Gersava’s Virtualahan provides people the opportunity to work online as virtual assistants through skills training and employment support, according to documents provided by the BPI Foundation. “The social enterprise helps boost the employment opportunities for Filipinos, especially to people who suffer from employment or workplace discrimination because of their health condition or disability.”