ACSEnt partners with the BPI Foundation to promote student social entrepreneurs

June 07, 2016
(From Left) Ricardo Torres, Executive Director, Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF); BPI Foundation Executive Director Fidelina Corcuera, Danilo Ocampo, Director of the Ateneo Center for Social Entrepreneurship (ASCENT) and Noel Altamirano, VP, BPI Ka-Negosyo

The Ateneo Center for Social Entrepreneurship (ACSENT) is partnering with the BPI Foundation in launching BPI Sinag U.  This is the first half of the BPI Sinag Business Challenge 2016 which supports social enterprises, or businesses with the triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit.  The program aims to identify and assist the development of new business models to solve either a social or environmental problem.
This first half is directed at inspiring student entrepreneurs.  Together with ACSENT, the program will engage selected universities across the country to encourage and select student entrepreneurs with the best business ideas to submit their business plans, and become eligible to participate in regional and national boot-camps, mentorship programs and finalists to receive seed funding to make their social enterprise a reality.
“When we first invited millennials last year to share their social enterprise ideas as part of BPI Sinag 2015, we were encouraged by the immense energy, creativity, dedication, and heart exhibited by our participants,” said BPI Foundation executive director Fidelina Corcuera. “This was our inspiration to create a category for university students for the 2016 round. We hope to fuel their passion for social change while they are still young, and provide guidance, tools, and networks so that they can transform their ideas into viable and sustainable social enterprises.”

BPI Sinag’s two categories
BPI Sinag Business Challenge for 2016 has two categories, the first is BPI Sinag U and the second is BPI Sinag Accelerate. Whilst the BPI Sinag U aims capture the youth whilst they are in their senior year of school and in the idea-stage, the second category, BPI Sinag Accelerate, aims to give the extra boost to accelerate and scale existing social enterprises that are duly-registered and have at least two years in operation. The BPI Sinag Accelerate targets social entrepreneurs up to the age of 45 years. 
BPI Sinag Accelerate enables the BPI Foundation to expand its partnership and collaborate with the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) to reach a wider network of start-up social entrepreneurs whose enterprises focus on new business models that address social and environmental problems, particularly in agri-based communities, coastal communities, and other marginalized sectors across the archipelago.  Included in this, will be a special focus on Muslim entrepreneurs, since their investment requirements, such as Islamic compliant finance offer new models in enterprise development.
What is at stake?
Both BPI Sinag U and BPI Sinag Accelerate will offer their respective participants targeted mentorship programs through regional and national boot-camps, industry networks, and access to the appropriate financing options such as seed funding grants, debt and equity to the tune of P100,000 each. For the BPI Sinag U alone there will be 5 winners.
“We have decided to support social enterprises as they have proven to be among the most effective channels to promote inclusive growth,” said BPI Foundation executive director Fidelina Corcuera. “By applying commercial methods to address problems in society, they are not only able to deliver great social impact and make a difference in people’s lives and the environment, they are able to do so in a financially sustainable manner.”