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BPI’s Sinag Award Year 4 challenges social enterprises to create actual wealth for Filipinos

Creating a culture that welcomes entrepreneurial endeavors entails a consistent push on ideas and craftsmanship that empower the Filipino ingenuity. It is by all means an antidote to the traditional thinking positioning the young toward lifelong employment instead of becoming entrepreneurs themselves.

BPI Foundation executive director Maricris San Diego

BPI’s Sinag Award, now on its fourth year, is taking the lead with its annual recognition of select social enterprises that showcase profitable pursuits of strong 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 promises to produce an interesting new batch of aspiring entrepreneurs with clear-cut concepts belonging to the sectors chosen as 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 field of corporate social responsibility. Naturally, the stakes for Sinag Award participants are higher.

BPI Foundation executive director Maricris San Diego was quoted in a recent interview, stating that the four priority sectors had the most potential to make a great impact in the Philippines. She said 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 pathway for people with business acumen carrying workably effective concepts. For this year, the BPI Foundation launched road shows to some key cities and invited participants to present their business proposals. The qualified applicants will be included in the magic 40 list that will be later trimmed down to half and named as finalists.

From the 20, the Foundation will choose the 10 Sinag Award winners for 2018, with the first five receiving P500,000 each and the bottom half getting P100,000 each. The winners’ circle will likewise receive cash grants and continuously avail of the mentoring from business experts.

As evident in the previous years, the Sinag awardees represent the bunch of innovators in the business sector that brings in exciting and useful products. In the 2015 edition, there were stuff like Habi Footwear and Bayani Brew. The following year saw the triumph of pitchers like Organic Options and City Hub. Last year there were winners that instantly solicited interest by their mere names, say, Coffee For Peace and Happy Helpers.

Last year alone, the varieties offered by the winners created a picture of healthy business atmosphere. There is the Accents and Petals Crafts and Accessories, a novelty shop that sell flowers made from recycled wood and paper. One called Zarraga Integrated Diversified Organic Farmers Association (ZIDOFA) is a community of farmers revolutionizing rice growth with rich organic fertilizer.

A furniture-maker employing people with disabilities also made the winners list, same as the eco-tourism service in Sorsogon promoting the attractions of the Buhatan River.

San Diego pointed out that “social entrepreneurs aim to permanently and systematically transform an unfair societal condition.”

Each year, the BPI Sinag challenge is solidifying even more its empowerment of social enterprises that basically help people, care for the planet, and ensure profit.

This year, the competition has scaled up by welcoming new partners such as impact investor Villgro Philippines and incubator StartUp Village. Apart from embarking on the nationwide roadshow, it is also addressing impact assessment efforts on past BPI Sinag awardees.

BPI Foundation is officially categorized as the social innovation arm of the Bank of the Phlippine Islands. Its 40th anniversary embraces the theme “planting the seeds for the future” in response to the ever-changing society Filipinos have come to know.

(Sinag entries may be submitted through the www.sinag.bpifoundation.org or via the email info.bpisinag@gmail.com. Deadline for submission is April 30. To learn more about BPI Sinag Year 4 follow its official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/BPIFoundation and www.facebook.com/bpisinag).

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