engageSPARK founder and COO Avner Mizrahi led the pitching for the team convincing judges from the country’s key industry players of their platform’s effectiveness as a social enterprise committed to helping local communities.
Based in Cebu City, engageSPARK has locations in US, and Hong Kong. It provides a self-service website where any non-technical person can simply create and launch SMS and voice call alerts, surveys, reminders, educational curriculums, and on demand information campaigns to over 200 countries within minutes.
The champion startup bested six other finalists from different countries. Top venture capital firms, tech startup accelerators, including the government’s Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) served as judges in the contest.
engageSPARK was awarded with cash and packaged mentoring assistance from leading startup incubators.
“I liked the concept of the engageSPARK project because it focuses on enabling poor people who are mostly on feature phones,” said DICT executive director Monchito Ibrahim.
Although engageSPARK was only launched 18 months ago as a not-for-profit social business, it took two years to develop its digital platform. It served as a tool in the recovery efforts of the Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that ravaged Leyte province in 2013.
During the typhoon recovery efforts, engageSPARK served as a financial literacy component of the financial literacy program by the international NGO Mercy Corps and its partners that involved cash transfers. They were able to send out more than 725,000 SMS messages and voice calls to impart financial literacy messages.
Mizrahi said winning the competition means they are on the right track in meeting their goals in terms of growth and positively impacting people’s lives.
“We’ve been selected as one of the top 12 social enterprises across all of Asia in the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge,” he said. “It would be awesome if a Cebu-based company wins the award for Top Social Enterprise in Asia.”
Mizrahi added engageSPARK has also been selected by the Mulago Foundation for its Rainer Fellowship.
“We constantly improve our platform with more and more features on a weekly basis, so our customers always get those benefits regularly,” Mizrahi said.