We all probably know someone who holds a full-time job, perhaps in the corporate world, yet deep down they have this dream of someday putting up his or her own bakery or coffee shop.
Sometimes, all it takes is the courage and faith in one’s self as well as in the product or service one dreams of offering. These are the common traits of some select Filipino entrepreneurs who recently vied for a chance to make their business dreams come true with the help of Rakuten Viber.
Rakuten Viber, which is part of Rakuten Group, Inc., one of the world leaders in e-commerce and financial services, in partnership with Pinoy Dream Negosyo gathered last July 14 six budding Filipino entrepreneurs for a chance to level up their side hustles and small businesses. The event rounded off the series of online challenges and activities that the top three participants from the Raket PH as well as FoodPH Viber channels had to go through for an opportunity to pitch their business ideas and more importantly, receive a business grant from Viber Philippines, as well as its partners for this event, the Inquirer Group of Companies and Grab Express.
In the end, Mon Cabsag of The Bistro Box won the Grand Bestie of Food PH, while Richmond Argosino of Ken Goods and Apparel was the champion for the Raket Mo ‘To of Raket PH. The winners were chosen under the supervision of DTI representative Edsel John Lingon.
Cabsag, during the media Q&A segment of the event, said that he will use the prizes to upgrade his business equipment to better serve his customers. “It was a memorable and exhilarating experience for me. I met and interacted with many other fellow entrepreneurs and gained more perspective about running a business,” he shared.
A partner of Filipino MSMEs
Viber, one of the world’s leading apps for free, secured, and easy communication, has been instrumental in helping Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)grow and stay connected to their consumers and each other, especially during the pandemic.
“During the Covid-19 lockdowns, Viber found an increase in the use of its channels, and saw this as an opportunity to help entrepreneurs reach out to potential customers and like-minded individuals, allowing them to grow and manage their businesses. Among the helpful tools for small businesses were the Raket PH and FoodPH Viber channels,” said Lana Macapagal, APAC PR Lead for Rakuten Viber.
Raket PH serves as a Viber channel for MSME owners and side hustlers who want to promote their side businesses. Since its launch, Raket PH now has over 203,000 subscribers.
Food PH, on the other hand, is an online food channel that helped small and micro food entrepreneurs adapt to the “new normal” during the pandemic through contactless online purchases. It has since evolved, via its bot, serving as a transaction point for buyers. The Food PH channel has grown significantly attracting over 560,000 subscribers to date.
Making dreams a reality
Pinoy Dream Negosyo joins Rakuten Viber in its mission to educate, enable, and empower Filipino MSMEs by giving them a platform to share their entrepreneurial journey, and by providing business owners with the know-how and tools to help implement their business plans, as well as scale their business operations.
Pinoy Dream Negosyo has opened the doors to MSMEs who want to share their business journeys and acquire the knowledge and tools to make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.
“Pinoy Dream Negosyo didn’t happen overnight. It is a byproduct of the team’s hard work to meet and answer the needs of the Filipinos back in 2020,” Macapagal adds. “When we saw that there was a surge in users and communities actively using Viber, we asked ourselves how we could help them further. That led us to our goal, which is to champion Filipino MSMEs.”
Selection of the grand champions
In selecting the Grand Bestie of Da Best of Food PH, Viber sought the help of an esteemed panel of judges, such as writer and editor Ruth Navarra-Mayo, restaurateur slash celebrity chef Gerick Manalo, as well as Rakuten Viber’s Business Development Manager Veronica Feleo.
For Raket Mo ‘To of Raket PH, the judges were: Joseph Arnold De Guzman, Go Negosyo mentor and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of First Food Link Distributors, Inc.; Jennivev “Nene” Tamayo-Plamio, a celebrity mompreneur and one of the pioneer members of the GrabExpress Madiskarteng Boss Club, and; Chris Aguilar, APAC Marketing Director for Rakuten Viber.
“To our finalists and the channel members of FoodPH and RaketPH, thank you for inspiring us. I’m hopeful that through your stories, Pinoy Dream Negosyo will continue to inspire more Filipinos to finally take that leap in pursuing their business dreams,” says Rakuten Viber’s Aguilar.
Viber’s global user base has access to a range of features like one-on-one chats, video calls, group messaging, and updates and discussions with their favorite brands and celebrities. Viber ensures that its users have a secure and free environment to share their emotions. Also, it has been a long-time supporter of entrepreneurs in the country and looks forward to the next set of enterprising individuals whose dreams they can help make a reality. And oh, btw, Viber is the official instant messaging and calling app partner of the Golden State Warriors. Good job, Viber Philippines team.