RYLA awards Top 3 Rotaractor Start-ups

By Philippine Rotaract Magazine | Posted on May 27, 2021

Sweaty palms, trembling hands, shaky voices—no matter how one prepares, almost everyone feels the jitters come show time. 

Despite the nerves, seven groups have made it to RYLA’s D-day, the Start-Upportunities Pitch Day. Adjusting to the new normal situation, District 3830 held the event via Zoom on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, just two days into May. 

One by one, the leaders of Little Rockwell, The A-Team, RAC Makati Start-up, Young Entrepreneurs of Taguig West, The Olympians, GK Sunshineville, and the Sentinels presented their business pitches. After the presentations, judges PDG Sonny Coloma, PDG Edwin Afzelius, PDG Al Montecillo, DGND Jay Tambunting, and IAG Buddy Madrigal grilled the young entrepreneurs with practical questions to help them decide who would bring home the bacon. In the end, Young Entrepreneurs of Taguig West’s food truck business won third place, The Olympians’ coffee shop concept claimed the second spot, and RAC Makati Start-up’s merienda delivery service was named the Grand Winner. They each took home plaques and cash worth P10,000, P15,000, and P20,000 respectively with the grand winner also earning an exhibit at the Start-Upportunity Weekend Flea Market. 

We caught up with the teams behind the Top 3 start-ups to answer some questions about their one-of-a-kind experience. 

What was the inspiration/story behind your pitch?       

RAC Makati Start-Up: Because of job insecurity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its pressure on the average working class Filipino parents, we founded MAMABEARZ, a merienda delivery service that aims to utilize the culinary skills of unemployed mothers and provide a platform for them to earn and at the same time, satisfy the cravings of Makatizens. We will be providing mothers from our Rotary Community Corps (RCC) an online selling platform and TESDA-certified training to continue developing their culinary skills. We guarantee that we will deliver food that would satisfy the cravings of our customers, called BABY BEARZ, and keep them coming back for more.  

The Olympians: We wanted to make our presentation simple, direct, and easy to understand. We want everyone to easily get a grasp of our objectives, goals, and the message of our business which is bringing back our traditional culture in modern society. 

Young Entrepreneurs of Taguig West: Through starting a food truck business, we could make people smile by eating our food with varieties of local flavors from the Philippines. Not only that, we would also be promoting Filipino culture through the design of our trucks which would be seen by people passing by in the streets. 

What sets your business apart from your competitors in the industry? 

RAC Makati Start-Up: We all know that the food industry is saturated including on-demand food delivery services like Foodpanda and Grab Food. But what will make MAMABEARZ standout is the quality of our food made by our trained RCC mothers. We also intend to outperform our competitors by making our order platform via Facebook automated by way of Messenger bots and with widely accessible payment options such as GCash, PayMaya, or Cash on Delivery. 

The Olympians: We are in trend and our coffee shop offers not just a great coffee experience, but also historical knowledge to our customers. We introduce to the Filipino youth our country’s custom of “pandesal  sawsaw sa kape” which makes us unique.

Young Entrepreneurs of Taguig West: The food truck business can take space in different locations that also means we could increase our profits by not staying in just one place. 

What were the highlights and challenges you encountered throughout the whole Start-Upportunities’ experience?

RAC Makati Start-Up: It’s like preparing or conducting a Thesis or School Research. We had a series of zoom meetings, coaching with Mentor Toni Urrutia. Some of us took a leave of absence in their place of work just to do research and formulate or prepare a business plan. Most of all, we had an instant friend, our very own Mentor, Rtn. Toni Urrutia.

The Olympians: There were lots of challenges, one of these is we don’t actually have any background knowledge on start-ups or even on making a good business proposal. Time was also a hurdle because we are Grade 11 and 12 students who are busy with school work but with dedication, we were able to make a good presentation. We will never forget the week before Pitch Day when everything seemed to fall in place—from looking for suppliers, which we thought would be asked, and calculating the estimated start-up capital.  

Young Entrepreneurs of Taguig West: Building the confidence that we as one team could take this business plan to a whole new level and the feeling of excitement on Pitch Day when we won 3rd place were definitely the highlights. The challenges were during the early planning stages when we had no actual plans on how to do the pitch since we are still beginners. We struggled thinking about what idea to propose but through collective effort, we were able to get through it. 

How did your mentor help you with your project?

RAC Makati Start-Up: Mentor Toni Urrutia appreciated our work from the very beginning. She always initiated scheduling mentoring/coaching sessions and offered her Zoom account for online meetings. She adjusted her schedule just to meet us even late at night or on weekends. She checked our business plan word by word, page by page. She coached us well and perfectly and now she’s like a big sister to us.

The Olympians: Our mentor, Rtn. Rose Acoba, gave us an idea on how our coffee shop can be different from others. She introduced us to the Filipino tradition of “pandesal sawsaw sa kape,” which most of us were not very familiar with. 

Young Entrepreneurs of Taguig West: In the first meeting together with Sir Arfel Austria, it was a mixture of nervousness and excitement for our group. We thought he was a very serious man but we were proven wrong because he’s actually cool—not too strict nor too chill. He listened to our ideas, helped us to be confident in our business proposal and improve our business thinking and skills. Also, the project became easier because he kept us motivated to do the tasks.

What did you feel about the results? 

RAC Makati Start-Up: Galatians 6:7 “Whatever one sows, he shall also reap.”  We are so grateful for the results. All the sleepless nights paid off. Indeed, there are no secrets to success. The victory the club attained is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure that each and every member has exemplified during the two-month preparation. RACMAKATI STARTUP extends its biggest thanks to our mentor, Rtn. Toni Urrutia of RC Makati Premier District, for her untiring and unwavering support since day one. It is true when she said that “Winning is not important, learning is! But it’s also great to win. At the end of the day, I hope we all come out of this experience enriched and inspired.”

The Olympians: The results exceeded our expectations. We would already be happy even if we were not included in the Top 3 but when our group name was called as the 2nd placer, I (Mary Mae, leader) personally cannot explain the feeling and made me just say, “Yeah, that’s The Olympians, that’s my team.” 

Young Entrepreneurs of Taguig West: In general, we went through phases where we were hopeful and anxious at the same time because we were really hoping to get one of those three spots. When we won third place, we felt very happy and motivated. We have never imagined that we would get this far, given our ages and the fact that our rivals have some interesting ideas and are more knowledgeable than we were. But, at the end of the day, we were truly satisfied and our bodies were stimulated.

What’s the most important lesson that you learned from the project?

RAC Makati Start-Up: Start Strong, Finish Strong. Never Give Up. Direct your determination to action because there’s no amount of wanting that will accomplish anything if you don’t act on it. Word Hard, Pray More.

The Olympians: Actually, there are lots of things we learned from this experience. All throughout the process, we already had a thinking of the real reward. Here was the experience and the learnings that  we got—they are incomparable. 

Young Entrepreneurs of Taguig West: Competitions like this give us the opportunity to gain valuable experience, demonstrate our abilities, interpret and assess results, and discover our personal abilities. It inspires us students to try new things and improve our ideas and skills. We had a great time and learned a lot of important lessons and gained useful knowledge that we could use and put into practice at some point in the future.

What is your advice for young entrepreneurs like you? 

RAC Makati Start-Up: Everybody can do what we did provided that they are committed. Most people nowadays would opt to venture into something that is more profitable than something that is fulfilling. The scenario is either you go for something profitable or something that is fulfilling and purposeful. You have to find a balance. Pick a problem and change the world but you have to think like a businessman. Otherwise, it will not be sustainable for a long time.

The Olympians: Never be afraid to take the risk. No matter how the world becomes against you, still do your  best and never forget God on your journey. The way you take the challenge can be the start of making your own success story in the business industry.

Young Entrepreneurs of Taguig West: Have faith in your ability to achieve what you want or your objectives. Of course, be prepared for the challenges that will arise, and be open to valuable suggestions that will help your business improve. Nothing else is more important than thinking wisely. Good luck on your career!

Share and Enjoy !