Wednesday, 1 July 2009

RP wins HSBC Young Entrep Top Prize

The Philippine team of Karl Satinitigan and Timothy Huelva won the “Best of the Best Award” grand prize and a cash prize of HK$100,000 in the HSBC Young Entrepreneur Awards in Hong Kong.

The duo from the Ateneo de Manila University won over other champion teams from Hong Kong (which won the Diamond Award), Bangladesh (which won the Jade Award), Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei.

The YEA is an annual business plan writing competition that challenges young people in Asia to work together to create innovative and commercially-viable business ideas.

The board of judges were led by Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. Limited CEO Sandy Flockhart, HSBC deputy chairman Laura Cha, DHL Express (Hong Kong) Limited co-founder and Chairman Emeritus Po Chung, McKinsey & Company Hong Kong managing partner Dr. Allen Fung and HSBC Limited head of Global Banking in Asia Pacific Frank Slevin.

Early this year, the six teams from the six countries bested a total of 902 undergraduate college student teams from all over Asia in order to compete here in the regional finals in Hong Kong.

One of the judges, Hong Kong businessman Po Chung, was so impressed with the Philippine team’s presentation and answers to judges’ queries, he surprised the audience by uncharacteristically asking: “Okay, when can I invest?”

Accompanied by the Ateneo’s Gokongwei School of Management Dean Prof. Rudy Ang and HSBC Philippine executives Johanna Garcia and Cat Avelino, the Philippine champion team used the team name “Team Beleavers” and its project of “Areka! Leaf Tableware” is an eco-iconic product using coconut leaves from Quezon province as a proposed replacement for non-biodegradable plastic and Styrofoam food containers in fast-food chains.

The Ateneans were fourth-year BS Legal Management students who just graduated this March.

The closest challenger to the Philippine team was the articulate Hong Kong team comprised of three freshmen students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, with their proposed alginate burgers (named “NuBurgers”) and hoping to supply the USA market with this healthier alternative to traditional obesity-inducing hamburgers. Prof. Rudy Ang said: “I feel like Roger Federer in tennis, because the Ateneo has been representing the Philippines already for five years in this prestigious HSBC competition and it’s only now that we had won. In the Philippine competition this year, our Ateneo students had teams that won the first, second and third places.” In the last six years of this HSBC competition, the Ateneo has represented the Philippines five times while the University of the Philippines had competed here for the country once.

The judges in the Philippine competition in March this year included top business leaders like HSBC Philippines CEO Mark Watkinson, SGV chairman David Balangue, Asian Institute of Management president Francis Estrada, DBP president Reynaldo David, JG Summit Holdings president John Gokongwei, Jr., Ayala Group CEO Jaime Augusto de Ayala, Store Specialists, Inc. EVP Anton Tantoco Huang, publisher Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, Landco Pacific President Alfred Xerez-Burgos and fashion designer Rajo Laurel. (


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