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Sunday, September 7, 2014

An Interview with Patch Dulay of The Spark Project



Wazzup Pilipinas!


"Sadly, there aren’t much readily available spaces for Filipinos to start-up and get the support they need to pursue their passions. In the areas of entrepreneurship, design, arts and culture, education, health, social advocacies, and causes; these initiatives fail to start, or in some cases scale, because they lack one of the most basic and crucial resources, funds.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have people and organizations capable of funding potential projects but are not adept with the logistics of reaching out to these initiatives.

Although existing forms of funding like venture capitalists, angel investors, grant giving bodies, and banking institutions are present; they are not readily available year-round and sometimes cater only to a specific niche. At the end of the day, only a few among hundreds of equally compelling ideas get the funding they need.  
 
The Spark Project aims to change all of these and address the country’s need for more entrepreneurs and change-makers by democratizing the disproportionate distribution of funding capital.

The community that aims to showcase Filipino talent and ingenuity through an online crowdfunding platform where they can campaign to fund their creative, innovative, and passion-driven projects.

The team believes in the Filipino and its ability to create something awesome. It’s about time that we have our own crowdfunding platform in the Philippines."

Below is an interview with Patch Dulay, one of the founders of The Spark Project. Get to know more about him, his team and the "project" and be inspired to get involved as well.
 
 
1. Can you tell us about your humble beginnings as a social innovator and how you setup/got involved in your organization? Why did you choose to play an active role in this organization? 


Back in the university where I studies, in Ateneo, we were always challenged to give back to the greater community. And that orientation towards social "good" has been in my consciousness as I moved on after graduation. My experiences studying and living abroad for my masters degree has also opened my mind to the world and the realities our Kababayans experience there. With a renewed sense of purpose, I went back to Philippines and was introduced to the local social innovation scene. It was from there where I mustered the strength to pursue The Spark Project.

2. What exactly is your organization all about? What are you trying to promote or lead by example and what made you choose this social innovation among others? 

The Spark Project (TSP) is an online crowdfunding community that aims to showcase Filipino talent. It is a way for us Filipinos to raise funds for and support creative, innovative, and passion-driven projects of fellow Filipinos. Leveraging on web technologies like social media and ecommerce provides a good alternative to these enterprising projects needing that extra boost to get things off the ground.

3. Who are the other core team members or individuals responsible in running your organization? Please elaborate on their roles or functions.

We are 6 in the TSP team. Basically we have a tech team in charge of the crowdfunding platform and a community development team who plays a more external role in building that crowdfunding community we envision. We play with our strengths and share these roles among the team. Just like any startup, we need to be all around.

4. Do you have partners from private companies, NGOs, the government, and/or other organizations? Who are they and what are their contributions to your organization? Are you open to more partnerships? How can they partner or join your organization?

We don't have official partners. We collaborate a lot with other groups, like The Dream Project. We help each other out. Cross promote. Strengthen each other's bottomline. 

5. Do you have a regular/day-time job in a company aside from your organization or are you working full-time for the organization? Can you tell us your role or function in the company? Is your social innovation affecting your work?

I have a lot of part-time jobs that I keep. There are times when juggling all of them can become challenging. I just remind myself and go back to my WHY. This get things back to perspective.  
6. What is success to you? Can you say that your organization already made a significant contribution to society? In what way was your social innovation beneficial to the country or the people? Please share your accomplishments/achievements so far.

I am happy with how TSP has grown and has created impact with the projects we had on our site. These are victories for us. But this wont stop us from wanting to create the same impact for our future projects. We have to keep on innovating and finding ways to do this.

We have had 18 projects so far and raised more than 1.5M for all these projects combined. 

7. What do you think you will need to explore or work on to improve your organization and its products/services? 

Looking into how we can reach to more backers and build that backer community.

8. Please share your memorable moments and success stories as part of the organization that personally touched or affected you. Were there any personal disappointments, failures, or regrets?

Projects that we've had have become friends to us as well. It's so nice to build that good relationship with them even after their projects are over. Like Ann and Louie of Goache, Guido of Kawil Tours, and Tal of Risque, we continue to support each other.  

9. What keeps you motivated to continue running/joining this organization? Do you have a specific task or objective in mind that you want your organization to accomplish in the near future? Do you have any plans to expand or offer other/alternative products or services, or specific groups or organizations that you want to reach out to and partner/collaborate with?

See our spark projects take off after their campaigns is what keeps us going. We need to have more if these. If TSP can make help create more of those, then we are doing our job right. We shall be launching an online store soon where they can buy products for our "sparked" projects.

10. What can you share or advise to all aspiring Social Innovators/Entrepreneurs who plan to setup their own organization/business? Please share some tips on how to effectively get started and sustain the dream.

Just go for it, don't be afraid to try. Be open to learning from your customers and continuously improve. 

When the going get's tough, always go back to your WHY.


Contact information below:

A. Twitter: sparkprojectHQ
B. Facebook: sparkprojectHQ 
C. Instagram: sparkprojectHQ
D. Blog site: tumblr sparkprojectHQ
E. Website: thesparkproject.com
F. Organization Mailing Address: patch@thesparkproject.com, info@thesparkproject.com

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