I’ve always thought that the Project GO initiative by GoDaddy is a tribute to people with entrepreneurial spirit who mustered enough courage to follow through with their brilliant ideas and business models.
In a recent media conference officially presenting the Top 4 finalists of the reality series airing on AXN Asia, I asked them their thoughts about the key elements that made their business models stood out from the hundreds of entries from aspiring Filipino entrepreneurs as well as their biggest fears in joining the competition.
The four finalists vying for the 1 Million Pesos cash prize to help make their dream business a reality are: AO Innovations Tech, Loop Store PH, Mindoceo and Staffz.
AO INNOVATIONS TECH
True to their motto “Life protected,” AO Innovations Tech, represented by Arnel Andal, is actively helping in the fierce battle against the pandemic through the sale of their innovative technical mask to healthcare frontliners at subsidized rates. The product, dubbed “AO Healthcare Fullface Mask”, offers two-way filter protection and fan-assisted airflow management, providing added safety and comfort to the people who need it most. It has been tested successfully by doctors in surgeries and procedures of up to six hours and claims to be the maximum compact protection available in the market. Currently, this invention by AO Innovations Tech is helping protect hundreds of healthcare workers in the Philippines against COVID-19.
For Andal, what stood out for AO Innovations Tech is basically the group’s reputation as inventors and innovators, as well as their product’s capacity to save lives. He also said that their biggest challenge so far is that they are not used to the production set up.
LOOP STORE PH
Poor waste management has created a monstrous problem worldwide. Hoping to promote a more sustainable and conscious lifestyle, Dominique Trinidad and Pocholo Espina, along with a few other collaborators, created Loop Store PH, which offers plastic-free, reusable or recyclable alternatives for everyday items. Their latest product concept is a new sustainable food packaging made from banana leaves, inspired by the increase in food deliveries that the team has observed in this current period of quarantine. Banana leaves are sturdy, water-tight, clean and, being abundant in the Philippines, cheap and accessible. Loop Store PH envisions that the production of such products would not only lessen waste, but also create jobs for many Filipinos across the country, making it an ideal solution for both people and the planet.
For Loopstore PH, they believe that what made their idea stood out is that their business model is future-proof and will last beyond the pandemic. Their biggest fear however before joining Project GO are their backlogs of school work and the perception that judges might see them as too young and inexperienced.
Mindoceo currently operates as a digital private tutoring service for elementary and high school students, but founders Ryan Marcel Ibay, Calvin Lorenzo Borja and Noelle Sofia Mison, have even bigger dreams for it. They hope to grow Mindoceo into a full-fledged on-demand tutoring platform, accessible via mobile app and web service, that connects students of all ages and levels to professional tutors and educators. The business idea is inspired by the team’s own experiences: having been products of homeschooling themselves, they want to empower students by giving them access to tutorials, review services and other quality educational materials anytime and anywhere. Also having worked as tutors, they want to provide others the same opportunity to enjoy a flexible work environment. Mindoceo means “to teach the mind” and is a portmanteau of the English word “mind” and the Latin word “doceo”, which means “to teach”.
Mindoceo said that they were intimidated at first because their competing with people who are more experienced and are really good at what they do but soon learned to turn their fears into a challenge. The group elaborates efficiency, uniqueness and accessibility as the key elements that made their idea stood out.
Staffz, represented by Pearl Janine De Guzman, is a business solutions portal offering services such as SEO, administrative support, copywriting, communications and graphic design. What sets it apart from many others of its kind is that its roster of skilled workers consists of young professionals from less privileged communities. De Guzman, having experienced being a freelancer, found in the growing demand for offshore workers an opportunity not only to build a business, but also to train less privileged youths in skills that would allow them to hold financially rewarding professions. She, along with her collaborators, founded Staffz with the goal of making dreams come true on both sides: to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses through the services their portal provides, and at the same time give the gift of opportunity to those who help them provide it.
Pearl laments on the lack of a partner and the fear of not being able to deliver or meet the expectations of the mentors and judges. She however sees her enormous belief in the proposed business model as the future of work in the country and the main strength that will propel Staffz to win the competition.
Project GO is all about giving Filipino entrepreneurs a chance to pursue their dream business ventures. With their entrepreneurial spirit and keen business mindset, these four finalists are set to impress audiences with solutions they’ve created that the nation can benefit from.
Derek Wong, KC Global Media Asia’s Vice President and Head for Production and Creative Services, said, “From the beginning, Project GO has hoped to seek out ingenious, innovative ideas that have the potential to turn into fruitful and thriving businesses, and the hundreds of Filipino entrepreneurs that heeded the call did not disappoint. It was not an easy task for the Mentors to shortlist only four candidates out of the many promising ones that they reviewed. All of the contestants demonstrated a very high entrepreneurial spirit, which shone through despite the challenge of not being able to be physically present on set.”
From hundreds of entries received from aspiring Filipino entrepreneurs during the Open Auditions held for three weeks in August, selected hopefuls with the most promising business ideas moved on to pitch directly to the show’s Mentors: Maggie Wilson (Owner, Acasa Manila); Bea Cupin (Lifestyle & Entertainment Editor, Rappler); the Tung Brothers: Mikko (CEO & Co-Founder, Odd Job Bob), Macky (Vice President of Advertising, Ligo and Co-Founder, Odd Job Bob) and Mark (Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Ligo); and Tina Shieh (Marketing Director for Asia, GoDaddy).
Tina Shieh, GoDaddy Marketing Director for Asia and a Project GO Mentor remarked, “This whole process has deepened our understanding of the Filipinos’ admirable entrepreneurial spirit. With high hopes, we intend to further hone their skills, build on their ideas’ potency, and help them bring their dream ventures into reality. No matter what happens, they are all winners and we wish everyone the best of luck.”
Who will come on top and make their dream business a reality? Viewers can tune in to Project GO every Thursday at 8.25PM on AXN. Weekly simulcasts will also be available on AXN Asia and GoDaddy Asia’s YouTube channels.
For more information on Project GO, visit the official website: www.axn-asia.com/ProjectGO.