startups in the Philippines

Pilipinas Shell’s LiveWIRE acceleration program is ‘Sandbox’ for PH startups

Marj Casal Handog

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Pilipinas Shell’s LiveWIRE acceleration program is ‘Sandbox’ for PH startups
Like in the popular K-drama, startups vied for the program's mentorship and financial support

If you’ve seen the popular K-drama, Start-up, you’re probably familiar with the concept of acceleration programs. That’s what “Sandbox” was in the drama. They help promising start-ups like Samsan Tech and Injae Company scale their businesses by providing mentorship, resources, and financial support.

Last year, Pilipinas Shell launched something similar in the Philippines for the first time – the Shell LiveWIRE acceleration program. While it’s new to the country, this flagship enterprise development program has been supporting local communities and promoting entrepreneurship in other parts of the world since 1982.

What makes Shell LiveWIRE different from “Sandbox” though is they mainly focus on startups in the following areas: energy, environment and circular economy, and local prosperity. In other words, it’s not just about having the potential to make money, but to make the world a better place to live in. The goal is also to potentially make these start-ups a part of the Shell business ecosystem.

This is Shell’s way of helping strengthen the economy – by boosting local business industries and creating jobs as a result. By starting the program in the Philippines, they hope to revive the local economy that suffered because of the pandemic.

In 2019, the program supported a total of 1,269 businesses and created 1,399 jobs globally. And in 2020, 9 promising Pinoy startups were chosen out of the hundreds of applicants to join the inaugural acceleration program.

Meet the startups:


NANOTRONICS. The winner of Shell LiveWIRE 2020.

Produces cellulose nanocrystals made from indigenous plants to help reduce plastic waste sustainably


Developed a device that helps measure air quality in order to safeguard and enhance people’s health


Created a simple and affordable digital banking platform that helps small business owners manage their financial transactions


POWERED BY WOMEN. What goes on behind the scenes of SIBBAP Multipurpose Cooperative.
SIBBAP Multipurpose Cooperative

Helps local community women generate income by offering their products and services like garment production

Coco Hub – UNA MPC

Educates coconut and copra farmers to expand their livelihood and create high-quality products

Ecobricks Macalajar Wharf Porters Association

Helps porters achieve a sustainable source of livelihood and support activities like solid waste management and recycling 


HANDMADE. Paper products especially handmade by Oro.
Green Factory/ Oro handmade innovations

Engaged in the manufacturing and exporting of handmade paper products. They’re also currently producing 100% origami abaca face masks.

MagzWheel furniture

Upcycled discarded tires found on landfill areas to create furniture, planters, and fashion accessories.

Revolve Eco. Logical

Recycles used PET bottles to create new products

The grand prize winner, Nanotronics, founded by Dr. Jerome Palaganas, took home a cash grant of P500,000. 

“We are committed to making a significant difference in the environment and community, leveraging on our natural resources here in the Philippines. We see good synergy with our products and the Shell ecosystem,” said Palaganas.

The 3 community enterprises were also given P75,000 each as part of Pilipinas Shell’s vision to empower local communities and encourage sustainability.

“Most entrepreneurs still lack the resources to reach their full potential, especially as they adapt to a digital world,” said Cesar Romero, President and CEO of Pilipinas Shell. “We bridge that gap by connecting them with government and fintech institutions as part of our LiveWIRE program. This is our contribution to nation-building.”

This year, Pilipinas Shell will once again be calling for applications to the 2021 Shell LiveWIRE acceleration program to find and support Pinoy startups that will help keep moving the Philippines forward. –

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Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation represents the downstream operations of the Shell companies in the Philippines, a network of companies involved in oil and gas exploration, importation, distribution, marketing, and other services. It is the longest running energy company in the country.