(Article published in the May 5,2003 issue of TODAY, Business Section)
Monday, 28 April 2003, the P.J. Lhuillier Foundation, Inc., the social
responsibility arm of the P.J. Lhuillier Group of Companies, in addition
to recognizing the scholars that it had supported during the year, awarded
the second set of winners of the annual “Create a Business Contest”
that it started last year.
those who missed my column that came out on 08 July 2002, the annual
“Create a Business Contest” was set up by the P.J. Lhuillier
Foundation, Inc. with the College of Business Administration of the
University of the Philippines for the purpose of encouraging the members
of the graduating class of that school to test whether what they had
learned in class is sufficient to enable them to set up a business that
has a reasonable chance of success. The
winner of the contest is the group of students that submits what the
Foundation considers the best business proposal in terms of, among other
factors, relevance, innovation and financial viability.
While each of the finalists, short listed by the committee set up
by the school for that purpose, is given a modest amount of Php 10,000 for
submitting a good proposal, the Foundation backs its seal of approval to
the best by offering to put in Php 300,000 in the form of equity in the
enterprise should the group decide to put their proposal into actuality.
Last year, the winner was Inkwell, Inks, Inc., which proposed to engage in
the business of refilling the ink of printer cartridges.
year, the best proposal was a company in the business of developing and
supplying art and craft kits for students in elementary and public high
schools. Naming the
enterprise that they envision as “Module, Inc.”, Joanna Katrina
Magalong, April Lou Castillo, Edielyn Agac-ac and Lady Jocelyn Mejia
propose to do continuing market research and product development in order
to offer trendy, innovative and age-suited art and craft kits designed to
complement and reinforce the contents of the prevailing elementary and
high school curriculum. Their
product catalogue will be a relief to parents who all have at one time or
another experienced their children coming and home saying that, for art
the next day, they had to bring to class an item or material that was not
in season or, most certainly, impossible to produce or buy at a moment’s
notice. Art and crafts
teachers will likewise welcome the catalogue because they will be able to
plan their student’s projects and activities without having to worry
about whether their assignments are realistically “do-able”.
Schools will be able to order in bulk thus be in a position to
either pass on to the parents or generate income for its operations
arising from savings resulting from the obvious economies of scale.
The Department of Education itself would have no problem endorsing
the kits because the products in the catalogue will be chosen on the basis
of the content of the approved curriculum.
It is no surprise that this “win-win-win” proposal was adjudged
the winner among this year’s finalists.
runner-up, which like last year’s was likewise offered Php 150,000
though technically the Foundation only promised equity support to the top
proposal, wanted to set up an events organizer, a recent phenomenon seen
today in big weddings and similar celebrations. The group, which also won the award of best oral
presentation, extends the concept to funerals. The general idea is to
spare the bereaved family of the stress and inconvenience related to
burying their dead, thus giving them time to reflect, pray, grieve the
loss and celebrate the life of their loved one, or otherwise mourn in
their own way. Partnership
ties will be made with the major funeral service providers, such as the
funeral parlors, memorial parks, caterers, florists, car rentals, etc., in
order to gain access to and expand the enterprise’s market.
Abigael Joy Valencia, Marc Brian Nicdao, Jennifer Non, and Marivic
Barrota call their envisioned business as “Funeral Archangels, Inc.”
group finalists, who each got a Php 10,000 for their team’s efforts,
propose to pioneer, as “911-To-Go”, in providing food delivery services to various restaurants,
supplementing the delivery capabilities of the subscribing eateries as
well as giving customers the convenience of a single number access to many
outlets, to provide a better alternative to the standard internet cafés
by renting leasing laptops to university students, as “Rentalaptop,
Inc.”, to combine linen rental and pick up/delivery laundry services, to
establishments like hotels and motels, as “Sheets and Linen”, and, as
“Pharma-Go”, to ride on the convenience of the stores now situated in
many a gasoline station, provide pharmaceutical products to those gassing
characteristics dominate the current crop of winning proposals: first, the
budding entrepreneurs focused on existing market trends and practices and
built on the prevailing infrastructure, through the specific services they
respectively offered, by
providing their value-added contribution.
Second, like last year, the list of the members of the finalist
groups read like the school’s honor roll, two magna
cum laudes and eleven cum laudes.
these suggest, I trust, that, despite all the gloom and doom that media
had projected from the stumbling and the bungling of their elders, the
best of our young are still reasonably optimistic about the country.
They take what is and propose to enhance its value.
This they want to take on themselves, instead of rushing with the
herd to grab a position in our very limited job market.
more talented young have hope and, if we can extrapolate from the
experience of last year’s “Create a Business Contest” winners, their
hope is not misplaced. Tanya
Hotchkiss, leader of winning group, reports that their Inkwell Inks,
Inc.will roll-out their first products by next month, June 2003.
She busied herself, from the time she started working on putting
reality into her dream, in meeting their supplier from the United States
(who by the way is a Filipino), learning refilling techniques, and meeting
with the major players in the
US remanufacturing industry by attending the 2002 World Expo in Las Vegas.
Operations were due to start last January, but had to be deferred
when the supplier was unable to hurdle the challenge of the
“self-destruction” feature that a major printer cartridge manufacturer
had imbedded in its products. Undaunted,
the company revised its business plan and adjusted its operations schedule
to overcome what it considers a temporary set-back.
The P.J. Lhuillier Group of Companies, the new enterprise’s first
buyers (and most likely, the most difficult of its customers to please)
will be taking delivery of products soon and see the fruits of the seeds
it planted on good soil a year ago.
leader of last year’s “Create a Business Contest” has an interesting
story to tell. During the
awards night last Monday, he told the second batch of finalists how the
allures of a well-paying job in a well-established multinational company
in the country almost chocked the passion that made him start the Healthy
Harvest, Inc., a company seeking to produce vegetables through the
technology called hydroponics. But
in time, he got hold of himself, listed to the inner call within him that
would not be denied, and, against the advice of parents and friends, quit
his employment, one that gave and offered training, trips abroad, upward
advancement to the best and the brightest willing to stick it out. He is
now full-time in the business. He
and the P.J. Lhuillier Foundation, Inc. are looking forward, in a sense
more than one, to a good harvest soon.