Koh Onozawa: Loud and proud

Koh Onozawa is an Innovator finalist for the Rappler Do More Awards.

Filipino-Japanese entrepreneur Koh Onozawa is making noise – in a literal and figurative way.

The 23-year old Innovator is the co-founder and CEO of loudbasstard, a Cebu-based company that makes music products out of natural materials. The company gained popularity for their bamboo sound amplifier.

An archaeologist by profession, Koh worked for 5 years in Okinawa and Cebu before coming up with the concept of loudbasstard with his partner Franz Ignacio.

“I’m fascinated about culture and discovering more, learning more and contributing more to our heritage and that’s what got me into this field. Loudbasstard came out when I was in vacation from my work,” he says.

He adds that his passion for culture was his motivation.

“Music just brings people together and that’s one of the motivations and inspirations that we had and still have in developing the brand,” Koh says.

Watch a profile video of Koh Onozawa and the other finalists of the Innovator category below.

Social enterprise

All products of loudbasstard are handmade by artisans from a poor community in Cebu. The product serves as the community’s main source of income.

“We’re able to employ and empower the community. Everyone in the factory lives 5 minutes away… It’s giving them (people) a source of income and it also teaches them certain skills that nobody else would know,” Koh says.

Koh also adds the importance of sustainability as one the company’s core values.

“Everything from harvesting to creating the product is a sustainable practice. (That’s why) we use rattan and bamboo, the fastest growing plants,” he adds.

For its 1st year anniversary, Koh and his team is giving 100 free recorders to 100 students and orphans. They will also support the kids’ in singing and instruments classes.

“We wanna transform other lives through music. If we do that with this product and this brand, then that is success in the long run,” Koh says.


Making noise

Despite being only a year old, loudbasstard has made noise in the industry. It has entered the international market and has already been covered by various blogs, magazines and television shows.

Koh defines doing more as living beyond himself. This is a value he also tries to inculcate in his company.

“To do more is to go beyond yourself, to realize that the world is bigger than yourself, to be able to help out people in our manufacturing. It’s beyond yourself, it’s beyond the company, and that’s one of the most powerful things that can drag an individual,” Koh says.

As Koh and his partner expands his company’s market, he also tries to spread his advocacy of using music as a way of giving back.

“Doing more is contagious. And it’s (loudbasstard) is a model that we’re trying to replicate in all the other countries where we have our product and our brand. You have different companies jumping in with you and everyone else would strive to do more. That’s the beauty of it,” Koh concludes. – Rappler.com

Follow Koh Onozawa on Twitter: @kohonozawa


Get to know other finalists by clicking their names below:
Rolando dela Cruz Matthew Cua

These figures reflect the result of the public voting phase held from October 24 to November 24, 2013.

The final score for each finalist will be computed from the ff:

Public Vote – 40%
Panel Vote – 60%
Total – 100%

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