(From left) Noreen Bautista, Ryan Pelongco, Patricia Lalisan, and Anne Krystle Mariposa
Turning a feasibility project into a real business isn’t a given for most college students. But for the owners of Jacinto & Lirio, a company that sells fashionable bags made from the plant “leather” of water hyacinths, not only has their concept come to life, it also won for them an award that has helped jumpstart their venture.
Management graduates Noreen Marian Bautista, Ma. Charmagne Celine Cruz, Patricia Anne Lalisan, Anne Krystle Mariposa and Ryan Pelongco make up J & L. It started as a group project they submitted in 2009 as seniors in the Business Accelerator Program of the Ateneo de Manila University’s John Gokongwei School of Management. [Learn how to start a home-based business in six steps here]
The venture has paid immediate dividends: Jacinto & Lirio beat 33 other contestants to win the grand prize and two special prizes in the Business in Development (BiD) Challenge Philippines for 2009. This earned the quintet a total of P350,000, a website development package and a trip to The Netherlands for the BiD Network Week from May 28 to June 5 this year.
They were to join 20 other international participants in the Global BiD Challenge, all aiming for a grant of 20,000 euros (about P1.2 million).
The Philippine Business for Social Progress organizes the local leg of the BiD Challenge, a business plan contest run by the BiD Network Foundation. [See 42 offbeat entrepreneurial ideas here]
Named after the Spanish words for hyacinth and lily, Jacinto & Lirio is joining the growing eco-fashion trend, while finding a productive way to use a plant deemed as a nuisance and providing jobs for the poor communities who make their raw materials—despite suffering from the blight of water lilies.
Garbage into gold
“Jacinto & Lirio was born because we saw the potential of water hyacinths as high-end products for the fashion industry, while being part of an active initiative to clear up lakes and rivers,” explains Noreen, J & L’s research, development and social entrepreneurship director. “More than value creation, water hyacinths also provide a source of livelihood for the marginalized communities who transform its stalks into sheets.”
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