By Yvette Tan

Young people with bright ideas rarely have the financial means to turn their plans into reality. The Mindoro Outstanding Ventures (MOVE) program is out to change that.

MOVE is an angel investment competition open to students and young professionals ages 18-35. It aims to bring to life viable and sustainable business ideas from two promising young businesspersons from anywhere in the Philippines while injecting new commerce into the province of Mindoro.

The competition is backed by the Mindoro Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI). “There was no Chamber of Commerce in Mindoro. We wanted to put up a network where we could discuss ideas and… discuss concerns. We want the chamber to be the voice of the industries,” says Francis Cusi, Mindoro Chamber of Commerce and Industry member and Co-Chair of the Mindoro  Outstanding Ventures program. “This is the first program of the chamber of commerce. The reason we chose it is because… we want to be a more forward-thinking chamber of commerce.”

Giving Pinoy Youth Room to MOVE

The MCCI is seeking to invest in promising, innovative, profitable, and sustainable business ventures across any of the following market sectors: Information Technology, Agri-Tech,Manufacturing,  Hospitality, Hotel and Restaurant, Supply Chain & Logistics, Health, Wellness & Pharma, Environment; Green Tech and Sustainability, Social Development and Art & Culture.

“It’s an angel investing program,” Cusi says. “We’re looking for that unique, promising, and of course sustainable idea to be based in Mindoro. We’ll find the program, of course in tranches, and the nice thing about it is we’ll provide mentorship. For the mentorship, it will be exerts in that industry also, not just the Chamber. The Chamber will provide support of course, but we’ll bring experts in that certain industry to help guide.”

The competition is specifically geared towards young entrepreneurs because, “We see that… the younger generation have a lot of unique ideas… but sometimes (lack) the means of how to realize it, that’s what we want to bridge,” Cusi explains.

Everyone is Encouraged to Join

Entrepreneurs can come from anywhere in the Philippines and their products need not be specific to the Mindoro market. The only two things that the competitions stipulates is that the winning entries be incorporated in Mindoro and that 30% of its workforce come from the province. “A lot of good, smart people are from Mindoro, but the opportunities are not that present, (so)… just like any other developing province, they go to Manila for the opportunities. They leave their family behind and they stay here and go home every so often. That’s a very noble sacrifice,” Cusi explains. “We would like to have that opportunity to be in the province so that there will not be a tradeoff.”

“We want (the entrepreneurs) to be successful. Aside from that, we want them to take pride in their product and off course to be proudly Philippine made,” Cusi says, “From the Mindoro Chamber side, we… want our presence to be known in a good way, that Mindoro is on the map, that we are welcome to investors, that… it is a good place to start a business… because it’s logistically practically almost in the center of the Philippines.”

Aside from the 1 million seed funding that will be awarded to the top two winners, the MCCI is awarding P5,000 to organizations with entries who reach the top 10 finalists and an additional P10,000 will be awarded to the organization of the winning venture. “We want to be able to give them the chance and the opportunity not only to be entrepreneurs but to be great leaders,” Cusi says. “Kids are getting smarter and it’s a good thing but the Philippines is a developing country. We realize that there are issues when it comes to financing problems, and we want to bridge that, that’s why we put up this venture, because we want (to support) their ideas. Who knows? It might change the world.”

MOVE Mechanics

The MOVE program search is open to Filipino or young professionals ages 18-35. After a series of pitch and screening session, the MCCI will select an outstanding venture who will receive a seed investment of 1 million pesos to jumpstart the business venture in Mindoro. The search runs from September 10 to March 30, 2018.

Entries may be submitted from October 1, 2018 to February 15, 2019 via the following ways:
1) Submit filled-up form found in www.mcci.com.ph to MCCI office: Plaza Building, Paras Street, Ibaba East, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro
2) Fill-up online form found in www.mcci.com.ph
3) Email filled-up downloadable registration form to move@mcci.com.ph

For more information, you may refer to www.mcci.com.ph or email inquiries at pcr@mcci.com.ph.