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PhilSTAR and TriMotor’s first grand ‘InveSTAR’ promotes agri entrepreneurship

By Adam Laurena Published Dec 05, 2022 12:10 pm Updated Feb 03, 2023 2:51 pm

The Filipino farmers and the local agricultural community were placed in the spotlight in PhilSTAR Media Group (PMG) and TriMotor’s “InveSTAR: College Battles.” Young business majors showed their passion for entrepreneurship and innovation by showcasing brand-new, original business ideas centered around the 2022 Bajaj Maxima Cargo three-wheeler by TriMotors Technology Corporation, PMG’s official partner for the event.

Farm2Metro from Quezon City University and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sto. Tomas, Batangas won first place with their business pitch Agrikultura PH, a mobile farm produce stand.

“Here I am po, defending our business kasi gusto ko po talaga matulungan ’yong mga local farmers,” Farm2Metro’s CEO Angelika Del Carmen said in her short victory speech at Robinsons Metor East last November 19. “Also, as part of a low-income family, gusto ko rin po matulungan ’yong family ko and ’yong community ko na magkaroon ng sustainability pagdating sa mga local goods and affordable prices.”

(From L to R) Joel S. Lumanlan, Vice President for Operations, Marketing and Bus. Devt. Of RLC Malls, Raul Manglapus, President of Trimotors, Lucien C. Dy Tioco, EVP of Philstar Media Group, Ramon Lopez, Independent Director of SM Investments, with Investar Top 7 Groups

Apart from Farm2Metro, the other competing representatives were The Despicable Lions from San Beda University in Manila, Pathfinders from National University in Manila, Patricia Mae Quitoriano from PUP in Manila, Pearl Christabelle Francia Hernandez from Far Eastern University in Manila, and The Tristar Lions from San Beda University in Manila.

Bright minds, better future

PhilSTAR executive vice president Lucien C. Dy Tioco kicked off the afternoon competition with his opening remarks, explaining the concept behind InveSTAR.

“InveSTAR is a showcase of the talent and ingenuity of college students who are, at this point, already dreamers wanting to start their own business,” he said. “You’ll be surprised with the Gen Z. Karamihan ng mga Gen Z ngayon, hindi na gusto mag-work sa isang company but they want to start their own business.”

TriMotors Technology Corporation executive vice president and chief operating officer Raul Jay R. Manglapus III expressed how honored the company was in sponsoring such an invaluable event, how it gives him hope for the future because of the bright, talented minds of the students.

InveSTAR 3: (From L to R) Angelika Del Carmen, CEO of AgrikulturaPH, Pearl Hernandez, CEO of PharmaGo, Karlos Sta. Maria, Audrey Nicole Palmenco, Angelo Bryan Avila, Founders of Green Trails

“We know that the Philippines did have a strict lockdown. During the pandemic, it was tough but we learned a lot of things,” he said. “We learned the ingenuity, the diskarte, the resilience of the Filipino people so I think we all came out of that strong, better business people, better parents, better students. That is what gives me a lot of hope for the future.”

Addressing the InveSTAR competitors, he said: “You guys are close to graduation so going out into this world in 2023, it’s very very trying times, unsure times. We’re not sure what the economic situation is gonna be in the coming years. They’re so many things going on in this world, but the one thing I’m sure of is that the Philippines will once again become a tiger economy in Asia and I think that’s because of the youth, their ideas, their energy, the resilience they’ve learned for the past couple of years will help them become strong, become successful, and really prosperous among our Asian neighbors.”

Robinsons Malls vice president for marketing, business development, and operations Joel S. Lumanlan said he was grateful that PMG chose one of the shopping mall company’s branches as the venue for InveSTAR, placing the spotlight on the importance it brings to the Filipino business industry.

“I know that the InveSTAR competition is just the first of a series of other activities that PhilSTAR has lined up in relation to growing Filipino entrepreneurship in the country and we are so happy that we are part of Nakakalocal,” he expressed. “Judging by the preparations that you’ve all done and by the sheer effort that you’ve put into this competition, I can say that Nakakalocal has achieved its objective of nakaka-inspire.”

Industry innovators

The abovementioned collegiate representatives pitched their own unique ideas of how to turn TriMotors’ Bajaj Maxima Cargo from a sweet ride to an entrepreneurial-driven vehicle.

They had 10 minutes to pitch their ideas to the judging panel, consisting of Dy Tioco, Manglapus, and former Department of Trade & Industry secretary Ramon M. Lopez.

(From L to R) Ramon Lopez, Independent Director of SM Investments, Raul Manglapus, EVP & COO of Trimotors, Angelika Del Carmen, Grand Champion of Investar, Lucien C Dy Tioco, EVP of Philstar Media Group, Samm Alvero, Host

In the end, the Top 3 pitches were chosen by the judges, namely from Farm2Metro, Pathfinders, and Pearl Christabelle Francia Hernandez. The three representatives, then, moved on to the final round of the competition where they answered questions from the judging panel regarding their pitches.

Farm2Metro’s Agrikultura PH transforms the Bajaj Maxima Cargo into a mobile farm produce stand where farmers can directly sell their crops to the local market and export their goods in different parts of the world in support of the local farmers and the entire agricultural community in the Philippines.

Pathfinders’ Green Trails envisions the Bajaj Maxima Cargo addressing proper management by transforming paper and cardboard solid waste materials into fertilizer as a finished product.

Lastly, Pearl Christabelle Francia Hernandez’s PharmaGo sees the Bajaj Maxima Cargo as a 24/7 roaming mobile pharmacy that provides retail pharmaceutical products made accessible to rural and underdeveloped communities.

After a round of questions from the judges and detailed answers from the Top 3 pitchers, Farm2Metro from PUP in Sto. Tomas, Batangas was hailed as the first grand champion of “InveSTAR: College Battles,” taking home TriMotors’ Bajaj Maximum Cargo as their grand prize.

InveSTAR is under PhilSTAR’s Nakakalocal: Love Local, Grow Global initiative, the company’s biggest advocacy for small and medium-sized enterprises in the Philippines.