BPI Foundation, the social development arm of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), today launched its 7-year running business challenge called “Sinag Spark 2021”, part of the BPI Sinag program that aims to nurture, develop, and empower the local social enterprise (SE) sector.
The BPI Sinag program was introduced in 2015. While it was initially conceived as a business challenge for SEs, it has now evolved into a growing ecosystem (over 180 SEs) that continues to bring together not just the country’s visionary entrepreneurs, but also mentors, investors, and other stakeholders who share the same goal of achieving inclusive and sustainable growth through social entrepreneurship.
“We live in a vast and complicated world and it needs our cooperation and commitment to do all we can to ensure a better and brighter tomorrow for future generations,” said Owen Cammayo, BPI Foundation Executive Director. “As part of our commitment, we aim to shed light and give hope – give a Spark to our struggling social enterprises (SEs) who, in spite of the pandemic, continue to pledge their cooperation by focusing not just on profit, but also on people and planet.”
This year, the program continues its partnerships with social impact organizations such as Bayan Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Development, Endeavor Philippines, Start-Up Village, and Villgro Philippines, as well as BPI Direct BanKo, the microfinance arm of BPI. For the first time since its conception, BPI Sinag has also partnered with Ayala Land, a subsidiary of Ayala Corporation, to help expand the market access of SEs.
In the “Sinag Spark” business challenge, 40 SEs will be included in the shortlist, of which, 20 will move on to the finals. Out of the Top 20, 10 social enterprises who are best able to showcase their business viability and social impact will be named the BPI Sinag Spark awardees. Aside from exclusive mentorship opportunities, the awardees will also receive cash grants amounting to P300,000 for the top five SEs and P100,000 for the rest.
In addition, BPI Foundation will provide Sinag SEs with an MBA-like experience through virtual mentoring sessions, which will include sessions on business strategy and planning, marketing, operations, finance, organization & HR development, and social innovation, among others.
New resources, opportunities
According to Mr. Cammayo, the publication of a book on social entrepreneurship is among the many exciting activities and initiatives lined up for this year’s BPI Sinag program. “We will be publishing our second BPI Sinag Book later this year to document and share more of the best practices and inspiring stories of growth from the BPI Sinag community members,” he said.
“We will also be working on a National SE Strategy Paper to engage the public sector in supporting the development of social entrepreneurship across the country,” he added.
With the help of BPI Sinag’s program partners, the collection of case studies and impact assessments on social enterprises will serve as the primary sources for crafting a national strategy for social enterprise development in the Philippines.
Open for applications
BPI Sinag Spark is open to social entrepreneurs who are 18 years old and above and leading a registered social enterprise that has been operating for at least six months. Interested applicants may check the complete eligibility requirements via https://www.bpifoundation.org/page/bpi-sinag. The application period will run until July 6, 2021.
To know more about BPI Foundation and its programs, visit www.bpifoundation.org.