THE Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI) Foundation and the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) have allocated P10 million for its joint-program, dubbed as BPI Sinag Acceleration, a national search for entrepreneurs with a social mission.

The two non-government organizations launched Wednesday the initiative in the province, next to Iloilo, during the program orientation seminar held at the Sugar Industry Foundation Inc. (Sifi) Training Center in Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

It was attended by about 40 entrepreneurs in the province who are into food processing, gifts, décor and houseware manufacturing, garments, furniture, furnishing and other industries.

Tessa Calalang, program manager of BPI Foundation, said that BPI Sinag Accelerate is a breakthrough of the mother program BPI Sinag Business Challenge, which was first launched last year.

For this year, the program is comprised of two categories: the BPI Sinag Accelerate for community development, and the BPI Sinag University, which is mainly for student entrepreneurs, she said.

“The BPI Sinag Accelerate, which is in partnership with PEF, is aimed at capacitating, accelerating and scaling up social enterprises which have been existing for at least two years,” she said, adding that the two NGOs have equal sharing of the total fund.

The guidelines of the competition include: entrepreneurs must be 18 years old and above who are leading a registered social enterprise that addressed specific social problem and defines social impact, while the enterprises must also have financial statements and records, as well as admin and operations staff.

Thirty-five best enterprises will be initially identified. From which, 10 awardees will be chosen and will each avail of the P500, 000 minimum investment funding in the form of loans, credit line, equity and business grants.

Through series of bootcamps and business plan development sessions, semi-finalists can also avail of the support like mentorship, access to industry network and impact investors, performance-based grants and access to financing.

Calalang said the program targets social entrepreneurs, whose enterprises are ready to scale up and expand, while deepening their impact in the community and country-side development.

“It will put special focus on enterprise catering to agricultural communities, indigenous people’s communities, Muslim Mindanao and other marginalized communities,” Calalang said, adding that it will help entrepreneurs to become sustainable and profitable businesses that contribute in building more inclusive growth.

Deadline of submission of requirement, including the concept papers and project proposals, is on June 30, while the announcement of winners is in November.

After Negros Occidental, the groups are also set to launch the program in different places in the country.

For Sifi’s part, which served as local host agency of the program, its president Edith Villanueva said this will further boost enterprises in the province not only for profit opportunity but really to help communities grow.

With the potentials of local entrepreneurs, they are optimistic that enterprises in Negros Occidental will excel on the national search, added Villanueva, who is also the treasurer of PEF.