CELEBRITY WORLD PH
By Crispina M. Belen
‘The Final Pitch’ returns in search of business solutions for the new normal
With the theme Virtual Edition, “The Final Pitch,” the Philippine’ first and only business reality show, returns for it’s seventh season on CNN Philippines. The new season offers a hybrid setup where the show’s investor-judges will virtually interact with the contestants as they pitch their businesses on-location at “The Final Pitch” studios.
A virtual mediacon was held on September 7, spearheaded by John Aguilar, host and creator of “The Final Pitch,” and whose statements were preceded by a short but full of pride intro by his wife and partner Monica Aguilar. In return, John acknowledged the fact that it’s really worth the while if you’re working with one you love and trust.
In the show, aspiring entrepreneurs and start-ups with business solutions equipped for the country’s transition to the new normal, will have a chance to pitch their innovative ideas to a diverse panel of investors looking to fund and back their initiatives.
Aguilar explained that the Virtual Edition of “The Final Pitch” encourages Filipinos to pursue entrepreneurship and continue with their plans despite the current pandemic surge.
“We want to make a statement with this season that just because there is a pandemic and a delta variant out there, it doesn’t mean that we should stop conducting businesses, trying to look for solutions, and even making a living. This is also a very aggressive call out for entrepreneurs with solutions for all of the challenges we face and to those who had their businesses particularly adapted to the new normal,” Aguilar said.
This year’s distinguished panel of investor-judges include Dennis Uy, Chief Executive Officer of Converge ICT Solutions; Bernard Dy, Cauayan City Mayor; Ricky Villarante, Chairman and CEO of 8Ventures; Rose Ong, Senior Executive Vice President – COO of Wilcon Depot; and David Almirol, Founder & CEO of Multisys Technologies Corporation.
According to Dennis Uy: “As a self-made entrepreneur myself, I am looking for ways to help budding techpreneurs achieve their goals. The economic downturn and the wave of unemployment resulting from the pandemic made many Filipinos into reluctant entrepreneurs. In this transition from worker to entrepreneur, Converge is there to handhold the displaced Filipinos. I am on the lookout for those who are able to harness the power of technology and connectivity to find ways to uplift the lives of others.”
David Almirol Jr. said that MultiSys has always been supportive of Filipino start-ups. The company has already invested in several startups across various industries like agriculture, motor parts, hospitality, food & beverage, fintech etc. “For The Final Pitch, we look for new ideas and innovations with a focus on real estate, fintech, academe, and eGames.” The show is also a great opportunity to showcase Multisys and the talent of the Filipino IT community.
Rose Ong said that Wilcon Depot has been a strong supporter of start-up companies and aspiring entrepreneurs. “Wilcon is a long-time partner of Go Negosyo in fulfilling its advocacy to engage and encourage the Filipinos in their entrepreneurial journey. With the growing interest of many Filipinos in entrepreneurship, I am confident that this season of ‘The Final Pitch’ will be its biggest and best season yet. I particularly am looking forward to hearing business ideas and allow our entrepreneurs to present and prove that those ideas have a good chance of succeeding.”
Right now, Wilcon Depot has 68 stores and before the year ends, they hope to increase that number to 72. In the next five years, their goal is to have a hundred branches, Rose said. “We are looking for unique ideas and products related to home,” she added. She believes there are a lot of Filipinos out there with brilliant ideas to transform into interesting products.
Meanwhile, Cauayan City, Isabela Mayor Bernard Dy, hopes to be able to find a sustainable solution that would make not only the City of Cauayan but the rest of the cities in the Philippines to be truly smart and sustainable communities. “I’m looking for a smart innovation that has a positive impact in such a way that it could help improve people’s lives. I want to be able to use this solution for the citizens of Cauayan City, which can likewise be adopted by other cities. The support that I can extend to the participant’s business is to act as a linkage to other cities to promote the marketability of the solution or business.”
On the other hand, technopreneur investor Jay Villarante said that he is looking to invest in technology companies that are led by passionate and dedicated teams. ”Since 2016, it has been my mission to grow organizations that create and use new technologies to develop profitable businesses through my company, 8Ventures Pte Ltd. We aim to provide the participating startups the resources they need including the financial support, network, mentorship, and cybersecurity services, via our subsidiary, Secuna.”
All contestants will go through a virtual business mentorship with selected business mentors, namely Dean Bernales, Managing Director, Uniquecorn Strategies; Patt Soyao, Managing Director, Icon Executive Search; and Hiyasmin Neri-Soyao, Managing Director, Shoppertainment Live.
The show is set to air on CNN Philippines this October 2021.
To join “The Final Pitch,” applicants will be required to fill out and submit an online entry form through this link: thefinalpitch.ph/application via its official website www.TheFinalPitch.ph. The deadline for submission of applications is until September 17, 2021. Filming begins on Sept. 24.
From “nation-building” to “nation rebuilding”
“The Final Pitch” ultimately aims to continue its mission to make an impact in nation-building. However, considering the pandemic’s current dilemma, the show now wants to focus on nation-rebuilding.
“Before, we used to always emphasize nation-building, but with the challenges we continue to face, we realize that it is first and foremost a collective nation rebuilding effort. That’s the focus of this season— to give a break to these entrepreneurs and introduce them to the right people who may be in a position to help them, whether it’s through funding, resources, or network,” shared Aguilar.
Aguilar added that the show intends to help the nation through entrepreneurship. Aside from giving breaks and opportunities to these start-ups and entrepreneurs through potential funding, the show can also be their bridge to create strategic partnerships and provide access to the market in a multitude of ways. All of these are in the hope of solving the big problems that the Filipinos find in their day-to-day lives.
“We want to inspire people to be creative on how they can also find opportunities for themselves. We might all have these setbacks that make it hard for us to do the things that we usually did or aspire to do. But that doesn’t mean that we should remain complacent and accept the cards we’ve been dealt. So that’s the kind of thinking that we want for the audience to be able to adapt in their respective businesses and even their careers,” Aguilar concluded.