BIOTECHNOLOGY firm Nanotronics clinched the championship title for its biodegradable material that can be used as alternative to plastics.
The event was during The PitchFest culmination for Shell’s 2020 search in the Philippines for startups that was held recently through the web.
Co-founded by Dr. Jerome Palaganas, the company produces a bio-based nanomaterial called cellulose nanocrystals made from indigenous plants.
The decomposable materials are designed to reduce plastic waste in an ecologically friendly way.
“We are committed to making a significant difference in the environment and community, leveraging on our natural resources here in the Philippines. We see a good synergy with our products and the Shell ecosystem,” Palaganas said.
The innovation made Nanotronics beat other 154 startup candidates in Shell’s LiveWIRE program.
The program provides the next generation of innovators with opportunities for mentorship, financial assistance, technical expertise, and an opportunity to be part of the oil giant’s supply chain.
As the grand winner, it took home a cash grant of P500,000, a big help to grow its business.
“Most entrepreneurs still lack the resources to reach their full potential, especially as they adapt to a digital world. We bridge that gap by connecting them with government and fintech institutions as part of our LiveWIRE program. This is our contribution to nation-building,” said Cesar Romero, president and chief executive officer of Pilipinas Shell.
Joining Nanotronics in the roster of top three tech companies for the 2020 LiveWIRE program were uHoo and NextPay.
Established by Dustin Onghanseng and Lilet Camara, uHoo developed a device that helps measure air quality, alerting users to possible health risks and threats and enabling them to address these challenges.
“We want to bring clean air for all. The way we view the company is all about impact and enhancing people’s well-being. This is a global movement that we’re trying to build long-term, and Shell LiveWIRE has helped bring us closer to our goal.,” Ongshangheng noted.
NextPay is a financial technology, or fintech, provider that offers a simple and affordable digital banking platform for small business owners to collect, send and manage their money.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. By approaching that market and helping them succeed, this helps the Philippines as a whole, especially as we move toward digitization,” cited NextPay founder Don Pansacola.
“Shell LiveWIRE’s mission is to empower entrepreneurs, and that’s also our mission and vision,” he added.
True to its significant social impact, Shell also tapped three community enterprises to join the LiveWIRE program, with each of getting a cash grant of P75,000.
The are MagzWheel Furniture, which specializes in transforming used rubber tires into furniture and apparel; Green Factory by Oro Handmade Innovations Inc., which produces handmade paper products and is currently in the process of building a sustainable factory; and Revolve Eco.Logical, which recycles used PET bottles and creates new products.
“Great ideas are among the best investments any sector or company can make. Since launching LiveWIRE in the Philippines, we’ve seen hundreds of entrepreneurs apply to the program, and it proves that there’s so much more to be done at the grass-roots level to nurture businesses,” Romero said.
Shell LiveWIRE started in 1982 and since then it has been the energy industry leader’s global enterprise development program.
To date, it has cultivated over 1,300 businesses in 20 countries—from Argentina and Egypt, to Indonesia and now in the Philippines for the first time.