Striking gold: What do start-ups get out of PVCIG?

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Eireen Diokno-Bernardo is an online merchant who heads Dekada Arts Philippines, a firm trading in collectibles. She is als a consultant for PayPal Philippines, eBay, and a product endorser for Eon Visa Electron. She gives workshops on how to start or expand businesses online. “I launch my projects in PVCIG. Presenting at the meetings has harnessed my speaking skills. And now, I regularly have corporate speaking engagements and make money from that.” Two of the projects she presented caught the interest of business angels who immediately made their offer. “Getting an interested investor made me feel that I was interesting, that I was being trusted.”

Marjo Villarosa-Reyes teaches business at the Mapua Institute of Technology and runs EcoPlanet Enterprises (, a paper recycling and waste management service. She has been attending PVCIG meets since her college days entrep mag 02in Ateneo way back in 2000. As a student, members would ask her to do papers, logos, or profiles. Later she got interested franchisees for her previous company, and got her current business from another presentor this year. Now she is currently expanding operations to Luzon and to include other services. “When I started attending, there were a lot of grassroots projects: fisheries, mining, lumber, coconut production, tuna, lambanog, etc.,” she recalls. “At least half of the attendees were foreign nationals with businesses in the Philippines. Then in mid-2000, many of the attendees were in Information Technology. I think now, the attendees are again presenting grassroots businesses and small companies for expansion.”


Need funding? Look for angels


So you want to start a business but you don’t have the cash. Banks have many requirements, and your relatives don’t have that kind of money. Don’t fret: go to investors. Many budding entrep mag 01entrepreneurs know nothing of them, or think they are fabled unicorns. However, these groups are for real, and easy to find, if you know where to look.

The Philippine Venture Capitalist Investment Group (PVCIG), is one such group. It has steadfastly held the fort for a quarter of a century now at the Asian Institute of Management every last Thursday of the month. The forums, held at 7 to 9 AM, result in investors’ and business owners’ successful pairings, which have helped keep the business landscape thriving since 1987. Each meeting is sure to have business angels or representatives of venture capitalists in attendance.

Venture capitalists are more interested in funding mid to late stage businesses with financing involving millions. Business angels, on the other hand, are wealthy, entrepreneurial individuals who come to the aid of small and early stage enterprises. They can provide funds at relatively moderate amounts. Some invest for profit, while others (usually angel investors) do so out of a sense of social responsibility. Both kinds of investors may want equity holdings and interest themselves in the company’s management.


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