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PBSP, Citibank, Dutch group want 100 Pinoy MSMEs in online biz tilt

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The country’s largest corporate-led social development foundation has joined hands with Citibank in the Philippines, Citi Foundation in New York, and a Dutch-funded organization in inviting 100 Filipino entrepreneurs or innovators to participate in the 2010 edition of an annual international online business plan competition that has already awarded Philippine winners in the Netherlands for the last two years.

Together with Citibank and the Citi Foundation, the Phil. Business for Social Progress (PBSP) is working closely with the Dutch-funded Business in Development (BiD) Network Foundation as well as the organization United Way in initiating the PBSP-Citibank BiD Challenge Philippines 2010.

PBSP, Citibank, and the BiD Network Foundation specifically cited micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) or individuals with innovative business ideas to submit their entries online through the BiD Network website (www.bidnetwork.org/philippines).  Winners get the chance to compete with international entries from Africa to Latin America.

The PBSP-Citibank BiD Challenge Phils. 2010 aims to promote poverty reduction through enterprise development, with the view of generating new and innovative business ideas combining poverty reduction and profit where viable ideas are being matched with potential investors.

Sanjiv Vohra, Citi Country Officer for the Philippines, urged aspiring entrepreneurs to send in their entries.

“We strongly encourage entrepreneurs to send in business plans and benefit from the exposure that the PBSP-Citibank BiD Challenge Phils. 2010 offers,” Vohra said.  “This is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to get exposure into a worldwide network in order to make their business plans more visible, and for them to receive professional feedback and assistance from business coaches.”

Entrepreneurs also get exposure to a network of investors, experts, and business partners, plus a chance to win prize money.

The BiD Network has encouraged individuals, non-government organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations (POs), and cooperatives with innovative business ideas to take the BiD Challenge, stressing the development of MSMEs as a means to spur economic activities in the country.

The competition further aims to stimulate and support business ideas that combine making profit with the improvement of living standards in the country, as well as stimulate private sector development in the country by creating a platform where entrepreneurs, experts, networks, and investors can meet.

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.

Interested participants have until 30 October 2010 to submit their social enterprise ideas.  PBSP is particularly encouraging entrepreneurs from outside Metro Manila to submit their business plans.

For their part, investors in the PBSP-Citibank BiD Challenge Phils. 2010 can get exclusive access to quality small and medium-sized business plans in need of financing, while companies and non-government organizations get the opportunity to share their competence and expertise with local entrepreneurs.

In 2008, the Philippine winner and the country’s main entry to the international BiD competition in the Netherlands eventually won the grand prize.

Rags2Riches, the winner of the 2008 BiD international award, specialized in transforming 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 the bags.

In 2009, Baycrafts won in the category of women in business retail challenge.  It 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.

In 2007, South Sea Exclusives was the overall third-prize winner.  This aquaculture company catered to the export market and specialized in producing sustainable-bred spiny lobsters in Palawan.




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