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Lemon grass spray vs. dengue? New enterprise inventions eyed

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An insect repellant made from lemon grass or citronella oil that could ward off mosquitoes carrying diseases such as dengue.  Bicycles with body frames made out of strong bamboo. World-class toy blocks made from eco-friendly wood.  And much more.

These were some of the top ideas that came out of last year’s Business in Development (BiD) Challenge Philippines, an annual international online business plan competition that promotes poverty reduction through enterprise development.

The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) has announced that interested participants to this year’s BiD Challenge have until October 30 to submit their social enterprise ideas.

PBSP executive director Rafael Cojuangco Lopa said BiD Challenge Philippines aims to generate new and innovative business ideas combining poverty reduction and profit, with viable ideas being matched with potential investors.

Lopa said he is particularly encouraging entrepreneurs from outside Metro Manila to submit their business plans through the BiD website: www.bidnetwork.org.

Last year’s competition attracted over 80 entries nationwide. Previous entries such as organic corn coffee from the Sumilao farmers of Bukidnon in 2008 and the aromatic droppings of civet cats in the mountains of Cordillera (including Coffee Alamid in 2007 and Hagiyo Brew in 2008) made enterprise milestones.

“Participants can receive personal and professional coaching to develop a solid, bankable, and complete business plan, as well as get exposure to a network of local and international financiers, investors, and other business contacts,” Lopa said of the BiD Challenge.

The competition aims to have 10 winners who would receive start-up capital from a P1-million prize money pool, while the top two winners would be sent overseas to join the International BiD competition.

Further, participants should have business financing needs equivalent to between U.S.$10,000 and $1 million to qualify in the competition, and their respective businesses aiming to be profitable within the next three years, with growth potential in employees and sales of more than 30 percent per annum.

Two years ago, the BiD Philippines 2008 winner and the country’s main entry to the BiD International competition in the Netherlands eventually won the grand prize.

Rags2Riches, through Rev. Xavier Alpasa of the Society of Jesus, was the international-winning social enterprise that aimed to transform scrap fabric into bags from the designs of renowned Filipino designers Rajo Laurel and Amina Aranaz, with women weavers from the Payatas dumpsite in Quezon City actually producing these bags.

Past local BiD winners and Philippine entries that won internationally included Baycrafts in 2009 in the category of women in business retail challenge, and South Sea Exclusives in 2007 as the overall third-prize winner, with the Pineapple Industry for Youth and Society (Pinyas) winning the student category in 2006.

Baycrafts has produced and sold costume jewelry made from both indigenous and synthetic materials such as pearls, wood, fiber, seeds, crystals, and glass, with a complete line of jewelry including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, hair ornaments, rings, and anklets, among others.

South Sea Exclusives, an aquaculture company catering to the export market, has specialized in producing sustainable-bred spiny lobsters in Palawan, while Pinyas has helped pineapple farmers in Camarines Norte, Bicol in producing dehydrated or dried Formosa pineapples.

Before organizing the BiD competition in the Philippines in 2007, PBSP first handled promotions for the competition in 2006.  Prior to that, all entries were submitted directly to the Netherlands, as no local competitions were held for submissions for 2005 or earlier.




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