Paula Patrice M. Dela Cruz, Keith Elgin E. Caasi and Rio E. Abrenica, fourth-year Marketing Management students of the College of Commerce and Business Administration, bagged the championship in the University of the Philippines Junior Finance Association (UPJFA) Venture 2015 last August 8 at the Asian Institute of Management. Venture 2015 is dubbed as the biggest competition for entrepreneurs, and participants were given the opportunity to pitch their business idea or existing business.
There were 140 groups during the first elimination, which was trimmed down to twelve and then six. The final six groups were given 6 minutes each to deliver a presentation about their business plan. The judges were: Mr. Mark Yu, CFA, President and CFO of SEAOIL, President of Novel Capital, Inc.; Ms. Cristalle Belo, Managing Director of Belo Medical Group and Belo Essentials; Mr. Patrick Pasengco, Co- founder of the Philippine Vending Corporation; Ms. Sheila Ramos, Chairperson of GSEA Philippines, Director of ROI Corp. Investments; and Ms. Victoria Jardiolin, President of Natasha Clothing.
They were given a cash prize of Php 50,000.00 and a guaranteed a slot in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (EO GSEA). This is the premier global competition for 1,700 student entrepreneurs from 30 countries who actively run a business. The Global Finals will be held on May 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand.
“Project Mushroom” was the business plan presented by Ms. Dela Cruz, Mr. Caasi and Ms. Abrenica. Project Mushroom is intended to help uplift the country’s agribusiness by using fresh mushrooms for value-added products, such as food seasoning and canton noodles. The group believes that the Philippines is rich in biodiversity, so they included in their business plan the sourcing out mushrooms, not only from privately-owned farms, but also from the local cooperative in Siniloan, Laguna. The development of the cooperative can address the livelihood concerns of the local farmers and unemployed housewives.
The group emphasized on three factors: profit, planet and people. The community, though working on a limited capital, can increase their profit through the promotion of agribusiness. Since agricultural materials are used, specifically mushrooms, this will help lessen industrial wastes, thus contribute to the improvement of the planet’s condition. This business will also uplift the lives of the people in the community through employment.
When asked what motivated them to pursue this business plan, the group emphasized about corporate social responsibility. This is their way to contribute a worthwhile act to society and that even as students, they can contribute in improving the lives of our countrymen.