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Spark lights flame of entrepreneurship

/ 05:02 AM March 22, 2019

Young, technology savvy entrepreneurs have gone to “space” to get funding for their startups or fledgling businesses.

Guided by and using The Spark Project platform, the new entrepreneurs have successfully reached out to potential investors and/or sponsors in cyberspace.

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And some of them will be telling their effective use of the online funding platform during Spark Fest 2019 on March 23, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Globe Tower in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

The one-day conference brings together thought leaders and industry movers who seek to inspire Filipino talent to build, earn and make the world better with their ideas.

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Participants will not only be able to learn from successful entrepreneurs but also get a chance to pitch and consult with them.

Creativity, social impact and entrepreneurship will be the main themes of the dialogues.

Patrick “Patch” Dulay, Spark founder and chief executive officer, pioneered in the Philippines some six years ago the crowdfunding online platform for creative and social enterprises to “support talent that gets overlooked.”

Dulay, a 2018 Alumni Impact awardee of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative of the US Department of State, said, “In the Philippines, there is a vast resource of talent left untapped. The success behind the Spark Project was that by creating a shared space for talent to build on talent, we were also able to build a community with a shared vision of helping aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs. It’s modern-day ‘bayanihan’ at its finest.”

The 35-year-old Dulay said, “What makes Spark unique as funding source is that it’s online. It allows individuals to support small enterprises.”

But he admitted that when Spark started, they had a lot of explaining to do about how it worked.

Their first converts were people they knew personally. But in the six years of Spark’s existence, the initial four projects grew to more than 70 last year. Although most of the project proponents were young people eager to launch new business endeavors, Spark also accepted into its fold creative projects like indie films that could not get financing from established movie companies.

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Dulay said they set no age limit to who could join Spark. Among the projects the platform supported was a book writing project of a retired academic.

This year’s Spark Fest will showcase once again successful initiatives that received crowdfunding.

Speakers include RJ Ledesma and Bianca Gonzales Intal.

Ledesma is cofounder of Mercato Centrale, the biggest night food market and food business incubator hub in the Philippines. Television host and lifestyle columnist Intal is the author of the best-seller “#PaanoBaTo,” considered by many as the ultimate fun life guide.

Also addressing the conference are Anna Oposa of Save Philippine Seas and Kirk Damasco of Worship Generation and Get Blued.

Spark Fest will be attended by startup founders, creative entrepreneurs and social innovators like Christian San Jose, cofounder of Make by Saatchi and Saatchi, Sherill Quintana of Oryspa Solutions, Anya Lim of Anthill Fabric Gallery, the Instagram famous trio @pereastreet and The Bloomfields.

Dulay said Spark Fest would challenge Filipino talents “to reimagine the way they create.” It would seek to inspire and teach emerging entrepreneurs by linking them with people who had succeeded.

“Entrepreneurship, creativity and social change could be challenging,” he said. “But that’s how you make the world better. Our goal is to encourage those who are ready to level up.”

Dulay said entrepreneurs who sought crowdfunding needed a lot more resources than those offered by microfinancing institutions.

Funding requirements could range from P100,000 to P600,000, much higher than what cooperatives and savings and loans associations could provide, hence, the need to go into cyberspace.

He said there was no set minimum amount for contributions from investors/sponsors although funding did not fall below P500 per person. Fundraising is done from one to one and a half months and sometimes the objective is not reached. The entrepreneur has to make do with whatever money is collected. —CONTRIBUTED

Register for Spark Fest 2019 at https://www.sparkfestbytsp.com/

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TAGS: Entrepreneurship, The Spark Project
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