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Mimaropa women-led social enterprises enter WHWISE Innovation Challenge

Island Harvest Agriventures, CnelleJ Souvenir Shop, and Iconik Travel Services-- a three women-led social enterprises from the Mimaropa region have emerged as top contenders in the Women Helping Women: Innovating Social Enterprise (WHWISE) National Innovation Challenge held on June 23-24, 2023, in Metro Manila. (Photo courtesy of DOST MIMAROPA)

Three women-led social enterprises from the MIMAROPA region have emerged as top contenders in the Women Helping Women: Innovating Social Enterprise (WHWISE) National Innovation Challenge recently held in Metro Manila.

WHWISE aims to inspire and support female social entrepreneurs by providing access to technologies, training, skills development, mentorship, and business incubation, ultimately benefiting local communities.

Island Harvest Agriventures from Marinduque, Iconik Travel Services from Palawan, and CnelleJ Souvenir Shop from Oriental Mindoro have secured their spots among the selected social enterprises in the top 20. These enterprises have demonstrated their significant contributions to community support and innovation in products and services. As a result, they will receive a cash prize and become eligible for a grant of up to P5 million, funded by the WHWISE Program in 2024.

Island Harvest AgriVentures focuses on diversifying farmers’ income by processing crops and offering farm stays for tourists. Iconik Travel Services promotes local products, including gourmet sardines, dried lamayo, and fish tocino, while also promoting Community-based Sustainable Tourism (CBST). CnelleJ Souvenir Shop in Oriental Mindoro supports Iraya Mangyan Women Weavers in crafting weaving products such as baskets, coasters, and trinkets made of Nito.

The said three social enterprise qualifiers were among the five regional finalists chosen by DOST-Mimaropa, DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and Palawan International Business Incubator (PITBI) through the WHWISE Regional Pitching event held last June 16.

The regional finalists were selected based on the venture’s technical and commercial viability as well as the social or environmental impact that results in generating jobs for local communities.

A total of P50,000 was awarded to the top 5 finalists and consolation prizes to the other participating women-led enterprises.

DOST Mimaropa Regional Director Dr. Josefina P. Abilay said that all participating groups of women entrepreneurs are winners and she also advised them to continue to dream big, persevere and believe in the extraordinary impact that women can make.

“The WHWISE program will support women social entrepreneurs and this platform will harness the full potential of women-led enterprises, and we, the DOST Mimaropa with our partners will provide the necessary support, resources, and networks to assist and thrive on your ventures,” Abilay emphasized.

Aside from Mimaropa, there are eight other implementing regions running the WHWISE Regional Search, including regions I, VIII, IX, X, XI, CAR, NCR and CARAGA. (DOST)

About the Author

Gene Ace Sapit

Regional Editor

Region 4B

Ace is the Regional Editor and Social Media Manager of PIA MIMAROPA.

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