MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo de Manila University students who founded Murch, an e-commerce platform, won the Innovation Champion award at the recent ASEAN Young Business Youth Association (ABYA) LEAPS (Leadership, Exploration, and Progress) Demo Day. The hybrid event was held on October 29, 2022, in Singapore at DBS Asia X and online.
The team members are Arvin Martin Santos, Joshua Taningco, Benedict Tyler O’yek, Frances Therese Ong, Ma. Ysabel Aurora Poe, and Jason Jon Reyes, all of whom are fifth year students of the BS Information Technology Entrepreneurship (BS ITE) program while Mary Pauline Baterna, co-founder and chief product officer, graduated from the BS ITE Program in the class of 2022. Baterna is also currently a faculty member at the John Gokongwei School of Management (JGSOM).
Murch is an end-to-end merchandising platform that supports communities such as student and youth organizations and non-profits. Murch supports communities throughout their fundraising efforts, from design and manufacturing to e-commerce and distribution.
Six teams were chosen as finalists out of hundreds of participants for the ABYA LEAPS Demo Day from across the ASEAN region, with only three winning significant awards. The only Philippine team to advance to the finals was Murch.
Through the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) network, of which Arvin Martin Santos is a member, Murch learned about the LEAPS opportunity. They submitted an application along with several university-level startup teams from ASEAN countries. The program ran from August to October 2022, and Demo Day was held both online and in person at DBS Asia X, a hub in Singapore for innovation and creative thinking. Andy Koh, the product management lead of Rakuten Viki, guided Murch along the way.
The ABYA LEAPS (Leadership, Exploration, and Progress) program was created to prepare students for careers in ASEAN-related industries. The program this year is focused on technology and digitalization and is co-presented by multinational firm Deloitte SEA. Participants are taught drive concrete action by working on real-world projects with industry mentors. – with reports from Septian Marhenanto/Rappler.com
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