Philippine startups Bagosphere and The Spark Project have joined eight other regional social impact start-ups that have successfully pitched for grants totaling S$100,000 at the Singtel Group Future Makers 2018.
The program is run by Singtel of Singapore, Optus of Australia and regional associates Globe Telecom (Philippines), AIS (Thailand) and Telkomsel (Indonesia) and is open to passionate individuals and social ventures who believe that technological innovation plays a key role in making wide-scale social impact.
It helps build and support an ecosystem of change agents, innovation, capacity building and collaboration intended to help transform the lives of the needy and the vulnerable in the community as well as offers community engagements, mentorship and funding support for social entrepreneurs.
"We are grateful to be part of the Future Makers program. Together with Globe, we were able to experiment with different initiatives to bring our impact to more youths in the countryside. It has been enjoyable working with the Globe Team who is proactive in reaching out when there are opportunities that could benefit BagoSphere, and at the same time, provides us with the expertise support in areas that we do not have the resources for,” said Ellwyn Tan, Head of Business & Co-Founder of Bagosphere.
BagoSphere is an award-winning end-to-end training and upskill training provider supporting thousands of frontline workers to achieve better lives. Focusing on soft skills and digital skills, BagoSphere runs immersive, experiential training programs and connects learners directly with employers. Currently, it pipelines talents to some of the world’s top outsourcing companies and has so far, over 1,100 graduates, of which 85% have been hired.
On the other hand, Patrick Dulay, Founder & CEO of The Spark Project, said: “Being part of the Future Makers Program has given us direct access to mentors and business resources we usually wouldn't have access to. Being able to work closely with Globe helped us grow our business and scale our impact. Having the opportunity to learn, network and pitch in front of impact investors during the Impact Investment Summit this year was an experience we can never forget.”
The Spark Project is a crowdfunding website and community that helps entrepreneurs and changemakers launch their creatively conscious ventures to market. As a pioneer in the local crowdfunding scene, The Spark Project is dedicated to enabling Filipino creativity and innovation through its website and various community events and has raised over 6.5 million pesos for over 70 projects.
“A lot of innovations in the Philippines are coming from the private sector. Given this landscape, we felt we had to do our share in terms of providing more opportunities for social entrepreneurs. We support Future Makers because this allows us to build an ecosystem of innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors for social good. It is a wonderful breeding ground to use technology for scale and social impact over just profit,” said Yoly Crisanto, Globe Chief Sustainability Officer. “There are so many talented Filipinos who have big ideas but are lacking in resources and key metrics to make their business sustainable. With the Future Makers program, we have a viable platform to test scalability and repeatability in various regional markets.”
Other social startups which made it to the top 10 are VT Thai (Thai handicraft community online marketplace), XCLR8 (affordable physiotherapy treatment anywhere and anytime), AEVice Health (early medical intervention and greater accuracy in asthma diagnosis), Commsync (wearable and non-wearable devices to prevent domestic violence), Habibi Garden (IoT for precision agriculture), ImmCal (automation of complex immunization schedules), Local Alike (self-sufficient community-based tourism), and Squline (online language learning platform).
Andrew Buay, Vice President of Group Sustainability at Singtel, said: “We believe technology has the power to enrich lives and empower everyone. The Future Makers program reflects this conviction and leverages the best of our regional partners to nurture innovators to create greater social impact. We are glad to see the program extending its reach further each year and the wide range of issues start-ups are tackling with the help of technology. The judging panel was very pleased with the quality of ideas from the 10 teams which have the most potential to go to the next level and scale regionally.”
Now in its third year, the Future Makers program has attracted over 3,000 applicants from five countries with 48 selected start-ups securing more than S$1 million in funding and support after participating in rigorous capacity building and mentorship workshops over a period of four months. The Group's team of experts and external partners from the social and private sectors volunteered their time and skills to advise them on their technology solutions and business models.
Besides gaining valuable working knowledge and coaching, the start-ups had the opportunity to network with the Group’s experts and partners. Ten teams from the local programs were then chosen for the regional finals where they had the opportunity to pitch to a panel of global impact investors to win an additional S$100,000 in funding from the Singtel Group.