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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, June 16, 2016
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NIR enterprises offered
chance to win P.5 million

The Peace and Equity Foundation and the Bank of the Philippine Islands Foundation are inviting registered enterprises in Negros Island Region to join the BPI Sinag Accelerate with a minimum of P500,000 at stake for each of the 10 winners.

A program orientation on BPI Sinag Accelerate was conducted with entrepreneurs at the Sugar Industry Foundation Inc. training center yesterday.

BPI Sinag is looking for proposals from enterprises operating for at least two years that address a specific social problem and defined social impact. The program is giving a special focus on enterprises catering to agricultural communities, indigenous people communities, and Muslim Mindanao.

Aside from winning the half a million pesos in form of equity, loan or grant, the finalists will gain access to industry networks and impact investors, and business boot camps and in-depth mentoring, BPI Sinag Program Manager of Tessa Calalang said.

“More than just the grants, it's the friendships they form, the network they build, the partnerships and collaborations, which are expected to happen during the course of Sinag Accelerate,” she said.

Launched this year, Sinag Accelerate is one of the categories of the BPI Sinag Business Challenge with the other Sinag University, accommodating university students, she said.

“BPI Sinag Business Challenge, now on its second year, we decided to form categories with Sinag Accelerate aimed to capacitate or scale up enterprises on operation for at least two years,” she said.

The deadline for the proposal will be on June 30, and those in Negros may submit their forms through local host, SIFI, or directly to sinag.bpifoundation.org.

The business challenge will draft 35 proposals that will undergo the phase one boot camp in August. Twenty semi-finalists will then be chosen to undergo a second boot camp on business development in October, and will get the chance to pitch their proposal to judges and impact investors, she said.

She said that the judges of the competition will include incoming Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, who also served as judge last year.

“SIFI has invited some members of the Association of Negros Producers as part of our goal to scale up and grow the social enterprises in the province and the region,” Edith Villanueva, PEF Board Treasurer and SIFI President, said.

Villanueva said Sinag Accelerate is an opportunity for those existing businesses to gain additional capital, and even attract potential impact investors to their business proposals anchored on social responsibility.

Sinag Accelerate is a partnership between PEF and BPI Foundation with an initial allotment of P10 million, Calalang said.

The program orientation in Negros Island is the second of a series of sessions nationwide, along with Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, General Santos and the Bicol Region, she also said.*KBC


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