Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation has narrowed its nationwide search for tech startups showing excellence in innovation and a potential for nation-building to three after the Shell LiveWIRE Pitch Day last July 1.
Panublix, the online marketplace for indigenous weavers; Agro-DigitalPH, which connects farmers digitally to their customers; and SACHI (Sustainable and Compostable Horizons Industry) – Group Inc., a manufacturer of eco-friendly materials, will move on to the Accelerator Program, where they will be provided mentorship, training, and a monthly product development allowance.
The three tech startups bested seven other shortlisted finalists from 200 applications to Shell LiveWIRE, the oil company’s global flagship enterprise development program.
“This is part of our efforts to help the country recover from the pandemic. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, MSMEs comprise 99.5% of business establishments in the Philippines and employ approximately 63% of the country’s workforce, but many of them have been severely impacted by Covid-19. By giving them technical and financial support through Shell LiveWIRE, we increase their chances of getting back on their feet or successfully growing a business that will generate employment and contribute to improving our economy,” said Serge Bernal, Pilipinas Shell vice president for external and government relations.
Nelly Nita Dillera, executive director of the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and a member of the panel of judges, expressed appreciation for Shell LiveWIRE for helping “bring together the puzzles of ideation, technology, development, pitching, and finding capital,” and contributing to DTI’s efforts to develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The advance of Panublix, Agro-DigitalPH, and SACHI-Group Inc. into the accelerator program of Shell LiveWIRE will allow them to build valuable core business strengths such as the capacity to scale, develop their products, expand their market, while generating sustainable streams of revenue. The top three startups will be given a chance to make a final pitch in November, and win the P500,000 prize.
Shell LiveWIRE was launched just last year in the Philippines, although the flagship enterprise development program has been supporting local communities and promoting entrepreneurship in other parts of the world since 1982. Last year’s winner was Nanotronics, which produces cellulose nanocrystals made from indigenous plants to help reduce plastic waste sustainably.
The program focuses on startups in the areas of energy, environment and circular economy, and local prosperity, with the selection done by a panel of judges comprising Shell leaders, DTI representatives, and venture capitalists who are cognizant of industry and market requirements.
Panublix from Iloilo City is a tech-style sourcing platform and marketplace that aims to connect Philippine weavers and garment makers with the fashion and design market.
Agro-DigitalPH from Batangas City, , on the other hand, is building a trust-based digital food value chain, helping farmers and fishers build their online presence through cooperatives and associations so they can be part of the digital market.
SACHI from the province of Bulacan, meanwhile, specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of eco-friendly and highly compostable biodegradable packaging materials like the renowned Cassava BioBags.
The rest of the startups that made it to the top 10 are FHM (Filipina Home-Based Moms) from Taguig City, AtoANI from Bohol, VORTEx (Variable Off-shore Recyclable Turbine for Exergy) from Ortigas, XalMeds from Cebu City, MyGolana from Makati City and ReMaker from Quezon City.