The future of entrepreneurship in Southeast Asia is digital, socially influential, and powered by women. On this International Women’s Day, Creatella Impact and Villgro Philippines, in partnership with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), Investing in Women (an initiative of the Australian Government) (IW) and UN Women, are proud to present “WE Rise – SheDisrupts Philippines 2022”, a fully virtual venture competition, mentorship, and pre-accelerating training program for women entrepreneurs in the Philippines. Applications are now open at https://she-disrupts.org/werise .
Unlocking the potential of women entrepreneurs in the Philippines
What does sustainable development have in common with tech-driven, female entrepreneurship? They both represent the future of one of the most promising economies of Southeast Asia.
After successfully implementing SheDisrupts programs in Indonesia and Vietnam, Creatella Impact is proud to join forces with Villgro Philippines to organize WE Rise – SheDisrupts Philippines, a new venture competition, mentorship, and pre-acceleration programme in the Philippines, in partnership with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), Investing in Women (IW) and UN Women. A particular focus of this program will be to facilitate more gender lens investments (GLI) into women-led startups in the Philippines. The program will leverage Villgro Philippines’ WE Rise Community of women entrepreneurs, investors, ecosystem enablers, and agencies that support women entrepreneurship, to support ambitious women entrepreneurs in the Philippines to scale their businesses and raise growth capital. The community offers not only technical knowledge and skills, but is also creating a safe space for Women Entrepreneurs to connect, learn, collaborate, and grow with each other.
Along with mentorship and world-class training, participating startups will have the opportunity to get cash prizes in the form of a non-dilutive capital of up to 10,000 USD from the program partners, an entry to Techstars, AWS credits from AWS EdStart, fee-free processing with Stripe, a 2-hour design workshop with Styliff Tech, up to 82,000 USD savings with Hubspot, 50,000 USD worth of Segment credits, 10,000 USD worth of Freshwork credit, up to 20,000 USD from Creatella, and software donation from Oracle Netsuite.
In the Philippines, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) account for up to 99.6% of total enterprises and employ at least 62% of the Philippines workforce. One in 4 MSMEs are women-owned with women entrepreneurs making up the majority of the top sectors, 88% in retail/wholesale, 70% in food processing, 74% in materials and manufacturing and 44% in agriculture. Ironically, women founders in the Philippines are facing higher barriers as entrepreneurs. Among the gaps are lack of knowledge and business skills, lack of access to finance, limited connections, and more attention to housework and child or elderly care compared to men. With the efforts of Villgro Philippines and Creatella Impact, the combined “WE Rise – SheDisrupts Philippines” programme will help bridge the existing gaps by supporting women-led startups in the Philippines.
About the programme and the eligibility criteria
The programme features a venture competition, mentorships, and pre-acceleration training for women-led and women-owned innovative startups. It is fully conducted in a remote and digital format, connecting participants with seasoned mentors, judges and facilitators from the Philippines, Southeast Asia, Europe and USA.
The program will commence with online application and venture competition from March 8 to April 4, 2022. Up to fifty teams will be selected for the mentoring and judging sessions, scheduled from 4 to 29 April, 2022. The mentoring sessions are designed to provide founders and their teams with essential business and pitching skills, as well as offer a platform to showcase their businesses to an international audience, including investors.
The 20 most outstanding participants will then be invited to join an intense 3-week pre-acceleration program starting on May 9, 2022, which will cover topics including business development, technology, marketing, and financial skills, as well as topics specific to impact measurement and women’s economic empowerment. At the end of the pre-acceleration training, all participants will pitch live in front of GLI investors. WE Rise – SheDisrupts Philippines will run from April – June 2022.
The application criteria for the venture competition at a glance:
The program welcomes applications from early-stage startups ideally with a clearly developed product idea and some traction, and with at least one woman among the founders or in a leadership role, with women having 20% ownership of the entity. The program targets entrepreneurs who are either from the Philippines or target their products and services to the Philippines market. Businesses need to address market inefficiencies and offer solutions that contribute to one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and preferably have a positive impact on gender parity and women’s economic empowerment and are tech or innovation-driven. The program is industry agnostic: candidates may come from the world of health-tech, edtech, fintech – or any other.
The organizers encourage women entrepreneurs from rural provinces and component cities, as well as minority representatives to apply for this program. For entrepreneurs and founding teams who are interested in taking part in the programme, please apply at https://she-disrupts.org/werise/ . The application deadline is April 4, 2022, at 23:59 PhST.
About the Organizers and Partners of WE Rise – SheDisrupts Philippines 2022:
For early stage social enterprises in emerging markets, committed to providing entrepreneurial innovative solutions for the achievement of SDGs by generating measurable social and environmental impact, Creatella Impact provides venture building, technology execution, mentorship, advisory support, other acceleration programmes, impact investment including financial capital, deal syndication, blended funding and diverse financial instruments.
Villgro is the oldest and largest social enterprise incubator in the world. In its 20-year journey, Villgro has funded 340+ enterprises, which have gone on to raise US$ 72 million in follow-on capital, impacting 36 million lives. We inspire, fund, and mentor innovative enterprises that are building solutions to impact the lives of the poor. We focus on supporting early-stage companies to test and validate their models and prepare them to raise capital from institutional investors. Villgro Philippines is a franchise partner of Villgro, we currently support 34 impact enterprises in the Philippines. What makes us unique is our expertise in early-stage investments and hands-on incubation support. Radical collaboration is at the core of our ethos, and we have partnered with more than 40 entrepreneur support organizations and funders to bring the right support to high-potential impact entrepreneurs in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
The Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF)
SPF is a Japanese private foundation established in 1986 to enhance international cooperation. In 2017, SPF announced the formation of the Asia Women Impact Fund (AWIF), which aims to invest up to USD 100 million from its endowment to work towards a future where all women in Asia are empowered to reach their full potential. The fund aims to realize this vision by making investments to achieve favorable outcomes for women across Asia and to support women entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia.
During the program, the Gender Lens Incubation and Acceleration (GLIA) Toolkit developed by SPF and DFAT Frontier Incubators, will be used.
Website: SPF https://www.spf.org/en/ , AWIF https://www.spf.org/awif/
Investing in Women
Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian Government, catalyses inclusive economic growth through women’s economic empowerment in South East Asia.
Established in 2016, Investing in Women tackles one of the most critical social and economic issues of our time: gender inequality. Investing in Women uses innovative approaches to improve women’s economic participation as employees and as entrepreneurs and to influence the enabling environment to promote women’s economic empowerment in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar through: Workplace Gender Equality (WGE), Impact Investment for Women’s SMEs, Influencing Gender Norms.
UN Women leads UN’s advocacy to further promote gender equality by enhancing women’s economic empowerment, ending violence against women and girls and improving women’s access to justice, and making gender equality a key part of the national legal framework, policies and plans.
During the program, WeRise Acceleration Toolkit developed by UN Women will be used.