PH startups win international youth competition

Keb Cuevas
PH startups win international youth competition
Startups LawKo, AroogaHealth, and Phinix bag 3 of the 4 awards

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine representatives LawKo, AroogaHealth, and Phinix emerged as top prize winners at the Youth Co:Lab Regional Social Innovation Challenge 2018 held in Bangkok, Thailand on Wednesday, March 28.

Grand champion #HackSociety team LawKo and runner-up AroogaHealth won in the competition’s Startup Track. Phinix, meanwhile, won the Scale-up Track, together with China’s team Hands On. Maldives’ Project Blue Hearts bagged the social media award.

LawKo, founded by Alex Austria and Keisha Mayuga, is a social media initiative that aims to empower Filipinos in making informed decisions about legal and government process. (READ: Standout solutions: The winning ideas from #HackSociety 2017)

AroogaHealth, founded by Nina Samantha Sanchez and Dominique de Leon, is a platform that matches individuals with trusted healthcare providers for their emotional and mental wellness. (READ: #HackSociety 2017: Ways technology can improve public health)

Phinix, founded by Pamela Nicole Mejia, is a textile upcycling social enterprise that creates high-value products such as designer shoes and accessories. (READ: #HackSociety 2017: Ideas to manage waste, sustain food production)

The 3 startups bested 1,750 teams from 9 countries within the Asia Pacific region. A total of 21 teams qualified to present for the regional competition in Bangkok.

In December, AroogaHealth won MaGIC Malaysia’s Pre-Accelerator Bootcamp. Meanwhile Phinix also bagged the United Nations Environment Asia Pacific’s Low Carbon Business Challenge in March. 

Youth Co:Lab

Launched in 2017 by United Nations Development Programme with support from Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab is a regional program that aims to tackle social and unemployment challenges by harnessing youth leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation. (READ: UNDP, Citi Foundation launch youth innovation program)

HackSociety, the Youth Co:Lab qualifiers competition in the Philippines, is an ideathon that crowdsources “hacks” to society’s problems – a spin-off of the Social Good Summit, jointly organized by Rappler and the United Nations Development Programme Philippines. –


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