Igniting the spark of hope among the youth | Inquirer Opinion
Business Matters

Igniting the spark of hope among the youth

It was in 2018, way before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we announced the very first Ramon V. del Rosario Siklab Awards. This coincided with the 100th birth anniversary of Phinma founder, Ramon V. del Rosario, fondly called RVR by many, and the 60th founding anniversary of the Phinma Group.


The RVR Siklab Awards recognizes young trailblazers who have had some degree of success in their respective industries, with the hope of paving the way for more young people to follow in their path. To find our awardees, we launched a nationwide search for young individuals aged 25 to 40 who exhibit an entrepreneurial spirit, a passion to make lives better, and a commitment to nation-building. We recognized five inspiring young leaders during our first awarding ceremony in 2019, each one truly deserving of recognition for their entrepreneurial efforts and advocacies for better communities in various parts of the country.

The first-ever Siklab awardees were Clarissa Delgado, cofounder and CEO of Teach for the Philippines; Edgar Elago, founder of Project Scholar, Cooltura Couture, and Project ADAMMS (Adopt a Mamanwa, a Manobo Student); Gary Ayuste, founder of Beengo Farm; Melissa Yeung-Yap, founder and executive director of Got Heart Foundation, and Jan Bernard “JB” Tan, cofounder of iVolunteer and The Good Store Philippines. At their young age, they exhibited that same spark RVR and his fellow Phinma founders had when they were starting the company: an entrepreneurial spirit anchored on love of country. Unfortunately, their stories cannot be told in this limited column, so let’s reserve that for future opportunities.


Despite a promising start, Siklab had to be paused for three years as the global community faced challenges posed by the pandemic. This year, Phinma and the De La Salle Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business are bringing back the Siklab search and awards night, which commenced with a kick-off event on March 18. The event gathered youth organizations, foundations, and enterprise groups to help us find bright young movers and shakers, and recognize their role in providing viable solutions to issues our country faces through entrepreneurial endeavors and social enterprise initiatives.

Dr. Aris Alip, himself an awardee of our Ramon V. del Rosario Award for Nation Building (2019), talked about the humble beginnings of CARD MRI, a group of institutions with the common goal of uplifting the lives of Filipinos. He shared his work in poverty eradication, which, to him, begins with empowering the socially and economically challenged women and families in the country. His story of beginning with P20 and a small typewriter is legendary in the microfinance community. Karl Pacolor, the division chief of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) innovation and collaboration division, talked about the various government-led programs and initiatives to boost start-ups and micro, small, and medium enterprises.

We are excited at the prospect of an awards program being supported by the DTI this year and in the coming years. JB and Gary from our first batch of Siklab awardees later joined the panel for a discussion on the vital role of the youth in introducing positive change. They recalled the challenges they faced when they were starting and growing their businesses, and the passion that kept them going.

As we lay the foundation for a better and brighter future, we turn to our next generation of leaders. It gives me much hope to see the youth, as exemplified by our Siklab awardees, taking the lead and creating lasting impact. I invite our readers to help us find, recognize, and reignite the spark in these young leaders who are building our better tomorrows. We are looking for someone who (a) embodies the entrepreneurial and patriotic spirit of RVR, (b) demonstrates exceptional leadership through initiatives in organizing and managing a sustainable business, social enterprises, or self-initiated programs that make life in their community better, and (c) exhibits a passion for nation-building. Groups and individuals may nominate a potential Siklab awardee by filling out our online nomination form at bit.ly/RVRSIKLAB2023_CallForNominations. The nomination period will be open until April 15, 2023. Let’s ignite the spark! Nominate now!


Peter Angelo V. Perfecto was former executive director of the Makati Business Club, works with the Phinma Group, and chairs Oxfam Pilipinas. Email: [email protected]


Business Matters is a project of the Makati Business Club ([email protected]).

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