Business plan making contest launched

Jun. 20, 2008

Davao City-The launching of a Dutch-funded business plan making competition was held here to encourage more Mindanaoans to participate in the contest.

Business in Development(BiD) Challenge 2008 is both a business plan making contest and a matchmaking mechanism that provides a forum for entrepreneurs and investors to come together. It is meant to spur innovation in small and medium scale enterprises; and stimulate transfer of wealth, knowledge and skills for these business enterprises.

BiD is funded by the Dutch national committee for international cooperation and sustainable development (NCDO), the main civil society promoting the millennium development goals in the Netherlands. In turn, the NCDO is fully funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Philippine BiD Challenge country manager Rene M. Fortuno said there are not enough participants in Mindanao that is why they came to campaign for more entries from the island.

He said that the plan could be a start up business or an expansion and must be profitable in the next three years with funding requirements from 420,000 pesos to 4.2 million pesos. It has to double its sales and employment within three years and must meet social and environmental requirements.

BiD aims to promote poverty reduction in developing countries through their profit-generation programs. It aims to engage with Dutch companies and their employees in initiatives for market-oriented sustainable development.

According to Fortunato, two participants made it to the international competition in the Netherlands in 2007, Gene Bonggo for tire recycling and Romy Miranda of King’s Grill for the coconut based charcoal briquette project.

The opportunity, Fortunato said, gave the winners a chance to meet investors and promote their product that brought in fresh investment and new markets for the two firms.

Fortunato explained that about 50 to 75 of the most innovative and most feasible proposals will be chosen from among the entries this year. Professional coaching shall be extended to the proponents of these proposals so they can develop these into solid, bankable and full blown business plans and better participation in the investment matching forum.

The best ten of business plans will be awarded seed capital from a pool of prize money while the top two will be represented in the International Challenge in Amsterdarm in the Netherlands along with 11 other participating countries.

The international winner will receive 20,000 euros.

Aside from the Philippines, other countries participating in the BiD Challenge are India, Columbia, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Tansania. (PIA)

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