Aboitiz’s ‘Byaheng Digiskarte’ campaign wins IABC Gold Quill Award

The CSR initiative was crafted to spur the recovery and growth of micro, small and medium enterprises and cooperatives adversely affected by the pandemic.

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF ABOITIZ GROUP | The award-winning ‘Byaheng Digiskarte’ campaign of the Aboitiz Group empowers MSMEs and cooperatives to adapt to digitalization through digital tools and innovative approaches to doing business.

The Aboitiz Group won the prestigious 2023 International Association of Business Communicators Gold Quill Award of Merit for its groundbreaking corporate social responsibility initiative, “Byaheng Digiskarte.”

The initiative was crafted to spur the recovery and growth of micro, small and medium enterprises and cooperatives adversely affected by the pandemic. “Byaheng Digiskarte” comes from “byahe,” meaning journey, and “digiskarte,” a portmanteau of “digital” and “diskarte,” meaning strategy.

Leveraging digital tools and innovative business approaches, the pioneering project empowers beneficiaries to adapt swiftly to an ever-evolving business environment. This included onboarding members to digital platforms so that they could start online businesses.

Going beyond economic revitalization, “Byaheng Digiskarte” also aims to foster financial inclusion by encouraging the unbanked segment of the Filipino population to open their first-ever bank accounts through the Aboitiz-led Union Bank of the Philippines.

Renowned globally as a community of accomplished communication professionals, the IABC confers its highly coveted Gold Quill Awards to acknowledge excellence in strategic communication. The Gold Quill Blue Ribbon Panel evaluators, made up of communication experts boasting decades of experience, reviewed 395 entries from 16 countries against the IABC Gold Quill Award criteria and Seven-Point Scale of Excellence.

The Gold Quill Awards reception will be held in Toronto, Canada on 6 June 2023, where the Aboitiz Group’s “Byaheng Digiskarte” program will be recognized among exceptional communication works from around the world.

Said one of the judges: “The entry was easy to understand and the opportunity, audiences and goals were easy to follow. It is apparent the team put thought into the different audiences, how to reach them and how to reinforce the key messaging.”

Praising the Aboitiz Group’s exceptional work, another judge added, “You demonstrated a strategic mindset in showcasing a well-executed project that not only accomplished but exceeded its stated objectives during a challenging pandemic. Great work!”

After planting and harvesting their own farm produce, farmers and agripreneurs were provided equipment by the Aboitiz Foundation to process food products such as pickles, tea and jam.

As the Aboitiz Group advances on its “Great Transformation” to become the Philippines’ first “techglomerate,” “Byaheng Digiskarte” reflects this commitment to innovation, digital transformation and drive to positively impact surrounding businesses and communities. By leveraging technology to uplift businesses and promote financial inclusion, the Aboitiz Group sets the stage for a future where technology and innovation are at the forefront of operations.

“This project is close to our hearts as we believe in the power of innovation to transform lives. We saw the need to bridge the digital divide in underserved communities, particularly in the area of digital literacy. Receiving the Quill Award is a great honor, but it is also a reminder of the responsibility we have to continue making a positive impact in the communities we serve. We take this recognition as an inspiration to do even more and to do it better,” Aboitiz Foundation president and chief operating officer Maribeth Marasigan said.

Since its launch in April 2021, Byaheng Digiskarte has made significant headway, involving extensive visits to remote areas across the Philippines, collaborative consultations and partnerships with government agencies and private enterprises. Through mentoring sessions and the provision of cutting-edge tools, this initiative has assisted farmers and agripreneurs affected by the pandemic, leading to income growth.

As of December 2022, over 127 cooperatives with nearly 10,000 members have received comprehensive training, which includes digital marketing, equipment handling, reputation building and financial management, among other vital skills. Two cooperatives, comprising over a thousand members, have successfully digitized their internal coop processes, while 19 cooperatives with more than 6,000 members have ventured into new cooperative businesses.

“Byaheng Digiskarte” has also facilitated almost a thousand beneficiaries in opening their first bank accounts with UnionBank, solidifying the Aboitiz Group’s commitment to providing accessible financial services.

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