True to their long-time commitment to supporting Filipino micro, small, and medium enterprises, Rakuten Viber recently gathered budding Pinoy entrepreneurs for a chance to level up their side hustles and small businesses.
Select Filipino entrepreneurs vying for a chance to realize their business dreams came to a head last July 14 at the Pinoy Dream Negosyo event in Makati City.
The event rounds off the series of online challenges and activities that the top three participating entrepreneurs from the Raket PH and FoodPH Viber channels had to undergo for the opportunity to pitch their business ideas and receive a business grant from Viber and its partners Inquirer Group of Companies and Grab Express.
Pinoy Dream Negosyo is in line with Rakuten Viber’s 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, and scale their business operations.
Championing Filipino MSMEs
Viber, one of the world’s leading apps for free, secured, and easy communication, has been instrumental in helping small businesses grow and stay connected to their consumers and each other, especially during the pandemic.
Viber saw an increase in the use of its Channels feature during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Viber Channels helped 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.
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. FoodPH eventually evolved through its bot, serving as a transaction point for buyers. The Food PH channel has grown significantly to attract over 560,000 subscribers.
Making MSME dreams a reality
Pinoy Dream Negosyo opens 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,” said Lana Macapagal, APAC PR Lead for Rakuten Viber. “When 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.”
Pinoy Dream Negosyo has two categories, Raket Mo ‘To and Da Best of FoodPH.
At the event, three entrepreneurs from Raket PH and three from Food PH had the opportunity to inspire other aspiring Filipino entrepreneurs by sharing their stories and pitching their final business ideas for a chance to receive a business grant from Viber and its partners.
In selecting the GRAND BESTie of DA BEST OF FOOD PH, Viber sought the help of an esteemed panel of judges, including writer and editor Ruth Navarra-Mayo, restaurateur, and celebrity chef Gerick Manalo, and Rakuten Viber’s Business Development Manager Veronica Feleo.
For Raket Mo ‘To of Raket PH, the panel of judges was: Joseph Arnold De Guzman, Go Negosyo mentor and Chairman and CEO 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.
Chef Gerick Manalo praised the Pinoy-preneurs during the event: “It was a privilege to get to know the participants and see them do their best as they take part in the Pinoy Dream Negosyo initiative of Viber.”
Another judge, mompreneur Nene Tamayo, thanked Viber for organizing Pinoy Dream Negosyo. “I think this competition is an amazing opportunity for Filipinos to showcase and grow their knowledge and business skills.”
Rakuten Viber’s Chris Aguilar, one of the judges for Raket Mo To, thanked the finalists for sharing their stories. “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,” he said.
In the end, two budding Filipino entrepreneurs became one step closer to fulfilling their entrepreneurial dreams as they each received a business grant from Viber and its partners. The judges chose Mon Cabsag of The Bistro Box as the GRAND BESTie of FOODPH and Richmond Argosino of Ken Goods and Apparel for Raket Mo ‘To of RaketPH.
The winners were chosen under the supervision of DTI representative Edsel John Lingon.
Cabsag, during the media QnA 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 a lot of entrepreneurs like me and gained more perspective about running a business,” he added.
Viber, a long-time supporter of entrepreneurs in the country, looks forward to the next set of enterprising individuals whose dreams can help make a reality.
About Rakuten Viber:
Rakuten Viber connects people. No matter who they are, or where they are from. The 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 our users have a secure and free environment to share their emotions. Rakuten Viber is part of Rakuten Group, Inc., a world leader in e-commerce and financial services. It is the official instant messaging and calling app partner of the Golden State Warriors.