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Sending out an S.O.S.

The road less traveled: Offbeat Pursuits was born out of Rafael Dionisio’s desire to explore and document the uncharted landscapes of Zambales.

MANILA, Philippines - For budding entrepreneurs buzzing with ideas, attracting investors and acquiring bank loans can be a real pain in the butt. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees and without capital, ideas are just that: ideas.

After hearing too many stories from friends who had great plans for social enterprises but couldn’t launch them due to a lack of funds, Patrick Dulay took matters into his own hands. Together with a team of IT experts and social entrepreneurs, he founded The Spark Project, the Philippines’ first crowdfunding community dedicated to giving creative, innovative and passion-driven projects the support they need to get their feet off the ground.

To be perfectly clear, this isn’t a charity that doles out money. Much like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, it mediates between entrepreneurs in need of capital and backers willing to invest in new projects, although Dulay stresses that it isn’t just an online platform. The Spark Project is a community; from the very beginning, the team works closely with the people behind-the-scenes to ensure that their innovations will survive in the real world.

Being awarded as Best Pitch at the 8th ASEANpreneurs Idea Canvas, the biggest business plan competition in the ASEAN region, is just the icing on the cake for The Spark Project team; their real victories lie in their innovators’ success stories. There is Padayon Musika Inc.’s Lagon Custom Guitars, a project that supports Iloilo’s custom-made bamboo guitars industry and whose guitars will be auctioned off in the US by the Apl.de.Ap Foundation to fund education advocacies. Meggie Valdes and Roanna Medina’s Paint-Some-Happy Project began when they celebrated their birthdays by painting AFP Medical Center’s Pediatric Ward but now they are on track to paint even more public spaces to give street children “space to dream, and to dream big.”

With a new version of the site in the works and the team busy with organizing more collaborative workshops, The Spark Project’s journey has only just begun. Although it is still in its closed beta stage, Dulay says they will soon be open to handling more projects. All those interested in being entrepreneurs or backers should take advantage of this opportunity — where else can a simple click of the mouse make ideas come to life?

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To learn more about The Spark Project and to support its different projects, visit thesparkproject.com or e-mail patch@thesparkproject.com. It also has Facebook and Twitter accounts, both under the name sparkprojectHQ.

 

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