Innovative Filipino Climate Enterprises win at Impact Pioneers Network Climate Catalyst Pitch Competition

Impact Pioneers Network, a first-of-its-kind impact investing network in the country, recently underscored the urgent need to grow Filipino climate startups through impact investing to combat climate change.

Climate startups Hive Energy Philippines, Sinaya Corp., and Rezbin Waste Technology Inc. won Impact Pioneers Network’s Climate Catalyst Startup Pitch Competition held on June 5, 2024, at Mess Hall, Makati City. [L-R: AC Dy, Head of Incubation and Venture Support of Villgro Philippines; Diane Estepahine Bagui Program Officer of Forest Foundation Philippines; John Altomonte, Corporates for a Better Planet Program (CBPI) Lead of WWF-Philippines; Audrey Tangonan, CEO and Founder of Sinaya Cup; Joseph Amiel Camingal CEO and Founder of Hive Energy Philippines; Mari Martirez, CEO and Co-founder of Rezbin Waste Technology Inc.; James Soriano, Vice President of Investments of Pasudeco; Greg Moral-Perez, Director – Investments of Impact Pioneers Network and Director of xchange, and; Priya Thachadi, co-founder,  Impact Pioneers Network and CEO, Villgro Philippines]

Impact investing is gaining traction as a tool for driving social and environmental change alongside financial returns. During the Network’s startup showcase event Climate Catalyst: Accelerating Investments in Climate Startups, Priya Thachadi, CEO of Villgro Philippines and co-founder of Impact Pioneers Network explained that supporting climate startups can accelerate innovation that directly contributes to building resilient and sustainable communities. 

“Impact investing channels much-needed risk capital to entrepreneurs who are addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time, including climate change. Unlike traditional investments that primarily focus on financial returns, impact investing aims to generate financial, social, and environmental benefits alongside financial returns. It catalyzes solutions that can create sustainable change and push us forward to net zero,” she added. 

In response to this opportunity, Impact Pioneers Network hosted the Climate Catalyst Startup Pitch Competition, where nine early-stage startups presented their climate innovations, namely: Hive Energy Philippines, Sinaya Corp., Dewaste Solutions, Rezbin Waste Technology Inc., LITHOS Manufacturing, Galansiyang Inc., FiveDOL Upcycling Corp. (LimaDOL), The Aquaculture Group, and Young Farmers Club of Zambales Inc.The competition culminated in awarding Hive Energy Philippines with a grand prize of PHP 100,000, technical assistance, business mentoring, and investment readiness assistance. Sinaya Corp. placed 2nd and won PHP50,000, in technical assistance and business mentoring, while Rezbin Waste Technology Inc. ended in 3rd, winning technical assistance and business mentoring from the Network. 

“The award will be used to support our continuing research and development that would make renewable energy more accessible to everyone which is in line with our mission: providing energy empowerment for all,” said grand prize winner Joseph Amiel Camingal, President of Hive Energy Philippines.

The pitch competition reaffirmed the Network’s commitment to accelerating investments into climate action in the Philippines. 

Supporting Filipino Climate Startups

The event also featured a panel discussion with Filipino climate startup leaders from Agro-Digital PH, Magnus Renewables Tech Corp., and Suds Sustainable Pods who talked about their challenges and risks, including limited access to funding, regulatory hurdles, and the need for specialized knowledge and mentorship. All three startups have received investments through the Impact Pioneers Network to grow their models and increase their impact footprint.

Filipino entrepreneurs and investors explored the importance of impact investing in the Philippines, especially in terms of supporting Filipino climate startups’ growth and innovating solutions that address the impacts of climate change. [L-R: Dino Yuzon, Co-founder, Suds Sustainable Pods; Andy Coscolluela, Manager for Strategic Projects, Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, Inc.; Greg Moral-Perez, Director – Investments, Impact Pioneers Network and Director , xchange; Priya Thachadi, Co-founder, Impact Pioneers Network and CEO, Villgro Philippines; Henry James Sison, CEO and Co-founder, Agro-Digital PH; Jean Magboo-Yuzon, Co-founder Suds Sustainable Pods; AC Dy, Head – Incubation and Venture Support, Villgro Philippines; and Karl Ivan Estadola, CEO and Co-founder of Magnus Renewable Tech Corp.]

“Filipino climate startups often face difficulties in securing early-stage and growth capital due to a smaller pool of local investors focused on climate innovation versus our counterparts in other countries,” said Andy Coscolluela, Strategic ProjectsManager of Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, Inc.

Amidst the challenges, these climate startups shared that they seek more opportunities to develop innovative solutions tailored to both local and global climate needs. Their work in areas like renewable energy, sustainable personal hygiene, and agro-entrepreneurship not only addresses immediate environmental issues but also serves as scalable models for other regions facing similar problems.

“We are expecting impact investing in the Philippines to grow more over the next decade. We are currently the second-largest impact investing market in Southeast Asia in terms of number of deals,”  said Greg Perez, Director of xchange, one of the Network’s co-managers. “Increased awareness of environmental issues as well as the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions, along with a growing ecosystem of socially conscious entrepreneurs, are likely to drive sustained growth.”

Impact Pioneers Network addresses headwinds by providing financial support, comprehensive mentorship programs, and access to a vast network of industry experts and investors. 

The Network also recently announced three new investment deals facilitated through their Working Capital Facility to provide financial support to three local impact enterprises Magnus Renewable Tech Corp., Agro-Digital PH, and Suds Sustainable Pods to scale their operations. 

The Working Capital Facility provides collateral-free, short-term loans of PHP 250,000 and upwards to early-stage ventures tackling social and climate challenges. This aims to bridge the critical funding gap that many Filipino entrepreneurs face, ensuring they have the resources needed to scale their impact. 

By investing in enterprises that prioritize social and environmental outcomes, Impact Pioneers Network not only drives innovation but also cultivates a more inclusive and sustainable economic landscape.