Workshop participants mapping their ideas. Photo: E Tagudando

El Nido Eco-Biz Challenge Update

Businesses and entrepreneurs the world over need support if they are to succeed and grow and in El Nido, it is no different.  Over the last three months, members of the CCRES Business Development Team have been working with stakeholders and people in the El Nido community to identify and develop a framework that could help businesses in their community get started and grow, in Preparation for the rollout of the ‘Eco-Biz Challenge’ in El Nido.

Residents of El Nido have the opportunity to participate in the Eco-Biz Challenge to make their eco-friendly business idea a reality. The competition will encourage business ideas that address four key environmental issues identified - food insecurity, fish catch decline, deteriorating water quality, and loss of mangroves. Finalists will be selected on the merit of their idea which must have a positive impact on the environment and be commercially viable.

To kickstart the competition, two workshops will be held between July and August on the following topics:

  • Opportunity and Customer Identification
  • Opportunity Feasibility Assessment and Planning

This structure will facilitate identifying local people and local ideas to fix local problems that impact the environment.

For more information contact Andy Harvey

Andy Harvey (The University of Queensland) with the Eco-Biz Challenge banner. Photo: M. King

Opportunity and Customer Identification Workshops

With the help of Mariglo Laririt (Technical Advisory Committee), Elaine, Kubi Follosco, Roy Bero and Jo-An Concepcion (El Nido Local Government), the team conducted a trial workshop with five businesses owners.

“The participants were fantastic and provided great feedback on what worked well and what didn’t and have helped us immensely to design what needs to be done to help local entrepreneurs identify an idea that could have a positive environmental impact and get started,” said Andy Harvey, from the University of Queensland and member of the Business Development Team.

“We are now planning to hold a series of workshops at barangay-level to help people develop the skills to identify opportunities, identify more precisely who their customer might be and to assess how it could benefit the environment.

“Those who are ready to take their idea to the next level will be able to participate in the second- stage feasibility and planning workshops.”

Workshop participants with Andy Harvey (The University of Queensland. Photo: Sea Slugs staff

Opportunity Feasibility Assessment and Planning Workshops

The feasibility workshops will help participants to evaluate the following more effectively:

  • The potential environmental, social and economic benefits
  • The development required to take the idea to market
  • The advice and support they will need
  • Who their competitors might be
  • What their pathway and costs to market might look like

“Providing training on how to see an opportunity and identify a customer, and the feasibility of an idea, will encourage more entries into the Eco-Biz Challenge,” said Mr Harvey.

The Challenge has now been extended until the last feasibility assessment and planning workshop has been held.

The three prizes of php50,000 will be staggered and awarded after each of the three planned opportunity feasibility assessment and planning workshops. To motivate barangays to submit entries, the barangay of each of the three winners will also be awarded php5,000.

Continuing Business and Entrepreneur Support

After the workshops, up to 10 finalists will be offered continued mentoring and support by a combination of local and international mentors, to help fast track their business

“We also want to help embed a business support network to help provide ongoing guidance to businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Mr Harvey.

“If this can be established and gain momentum, it could deliver benefit to the El Nido community long after the completion of the CCRES engagement.

“We would like to express our gratitude to Mariglo Laririt and Elaine Tagudando at Ten Knotts, Janina and the PSU team, and Melanic King, Carl Smith and Kubi Follosco for providing amazing support and facilitating meetings and local engagements.

“We would also like to thank Mayor Nieves and her team for their ongoing support. We are looking forward to helping more El Nido businesses and entrepreneurs to succeed and grow”

For more information visit: