Six local businesses will participate in Shell Livewire, a global enterprise development program by energy company Shell and its government partners. The program launched in the Philippines this September.

The six participants are NextPay, an inclusive banking platform for small businesses; Nanotronics, a production materials manufacturer that utilizes nanotechnology; uHoo, an air quality monitoring system; MagzWheel Furniture, a company that converts rubber tires into furniture and apparel; Green Factory by Oro Handmade Innovations Inc., a manufacturer of handmade paper products; and Eco Explorations PH, an eco-tourism business providing sustainable livelihood to locals while taking care of the environment and cultural heritage sites.

“In many cases, the resources are there, but they can be hard to find without the right connection. We want to help fill that gap … not only so that entrepreneurs can successfully execute their ideas, but also so that society can benefit from the solutions that they bring to the table,” said Serge C. Bernal, vice-president for external and government relations at Shell Philippines.

Shell Livewire supports businesses through mentorship, technical expertise, financial assistance, and inclusion in Shell’s supply chain. Since launching in 1982, the program has helped more than 1,300 businesses in 20 countries. 

Representatives from Shell’s government partners also discussed their efforts to support startups. The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will launch their Innovative Startups and Acceleration Program this year. It includes the development of the Startup Philippines Portal, a website that will serve as a central hub for projects and services for startups. Other efforts include building Innovation Studios across the country, where startups can work, and the establishment of a Philippine Startup Grant Fund.

The Department of Trade and Industry Philippine Trade Training Center (DTI-PTTC), the training arm of the said agency, offers an incubation program that includes skill-building and use of their spaces, facilities, and equipment. The center aims to help Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who had to come back home due to the pandemic, start their own businesses

“We have always been offering that enterprises, or becoming an entrepreneur, is one thing better than being employed. Because when you’re an entrepreneur, it’s not only helping yourself but you’re also helping other people. You’re also adding value to the very resources that are available in your area,” said Nelly N. Dillera, executive director of DTI-PTTC. — Mariel Alison L. Aguinaldo