Search for startups with innovative ideas is back on TV

Jerry Donato - The Philippine Star
Search for startups with innovative ideas is back on TV
‘The Final Pitch,’ hosted by John Aguilar, with judges Rosemarie Ong, Su Le, Abdul Paravengal and Glenda Dela Cruz, again welcomes individuals and startups that present groundbreaking ideas with the potential and promise to boost the country’s economy.

MANILA, Philippines — Pinoys are accustomed to reality TV, and one of which is “The Final Pitch,” dubbed as “the pioneering business reality show” in the country.

The program that looks for “Philippine-based tech or non-tech startups” and “individuals with groundbreaking ideas,” according to its publicity team, will present its 10th season soon.

“This is a milestone for us,” said John Aguilar, the host, founder and producer of “The Final Pitch” in a recent virtual press conference. “You know, the term ‘deca’ or 10 is quite significant for us. This is going to be the 10th season of the show. But it will actually be the first season of a rebrand in light of our future expansion, hopefully, into more territories across the globe.” Thus, it is titled “The Final Pitch: Philippines.”

John briefly looked back on that the show had its beginnings back in 2017 as a way for the people behind it “to give a break to a lot of startups, SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) here in the Philippines,” adding that “what we’ve found through the years is that much of the entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem here in the Philippines needed work, both on the side of the entrepreneurs as well as the investors, but what we’ve discovered also is that through the years there has been a lot of maturity in terms of, how not just pitches are done, but also in terms of valuations, in terms of the maturity of the founders themselves, even our judges through the years, I would say really, really in terms of the standards they’ve set for themselves and the ones that they’ve picked, they’ve really raised the bar each and every season.”

“The Final Pitch” had its first network partner in History Channel and aired its seasons two to nine on CNN Philippines. This time, it will be broadcast on One News on Cignal TV and GMA International’s GMA Life TV. It’s part of its expansion to go international and reach more audiences.

The latest season will have Glenda Dela Cruz, founder of the revolutionary skincare brand Brilliant Skin; Su Le, a Vietnamese-American angel investor based in the UAE; and Abdul Paravengal, managing director of venture builder Pulse 63 Healthcare Ventures as investor judges, with Rosemarie Ong, Wilcon Depot COO and senior executive vice president, as the returning special guest judge. She has been with the show for three seasons.

Given their business contexts, all judges may have similar and unique qualities they look for in entrepreneur hopefuls, as the latter first present ideas and eventually secure deals or grants from the investors.

“I’m looking for someone, an entrepreneur, you know, or a new startup company that can present to us innovative products and solutions that will help enhance our business, not only our business, but basically the home improvement sector,” said Rosemarie. “The home improvement sector is really very large… it’s everybody’s aspiration to build and improve their spaces. Just like Wilcon, our mission is really to help every Filipino improve, renovate and refine their homes, you know, in a more sustainable way.”

“I think I want to see entrepreneurs (through) the lens of sustainability, especially now that we are facing so many challenges, not just climate change, but longevity in business, how they can grow their business. I’m really looking for entrepreneurs that are, you know, focusing on growth, focusing on scalability, a company that has the passion and dedication to grow their business. I hope that we can find entrepreneurs who are dedicated, you know, (to) pushing innovative products, solutions and even services that will help the country progress. They will help stimulate the economy,” added she.

Asked if viewers will see changes in the show, format- and segments-wise, John said, “Format is the same. It is like ‘Shark Tank,’ ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘The Voice’ combined in one show.” At the beginning of it, judges will hear pitches and presentations. There’s also mentoring between established and up-and-coming entrepreneurs as shown in previous seasons.

At the end of the contestants’ participation, they will emerge as winners, in a way, since they will be equipped “with the tools and mindset needed to scale their businesses” as stated in a piece of information given to this paper. As they converse with the judges, the new entrepreneurs get insights to better their know-how and skills to make business ventures a success.

(For details, visit “The Final Pitch” website.)

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