The Aboitiz Group, known for its unwavering commitment to innovation and cutting-edge solutions, won the prestigious 2023 International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Gold Quill Award of Merit for its groundbreaking corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, ‘Byaheng Digiskarte.’ The same entry won an Award of Excellence in the 2023 Silver Quill Award from the IABC Asia Pacific Region based on the high score it earned.
The initiative was meticulously crafted to facilitate the recovery and growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) 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 (UnionBank).
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 Aboitiz Group’s ‘Byaheng Digiskarte’ was found to meet the high standard of achievement.
One of the distinguished judges remarked, “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!”
As the Aboitiz Group advances on its Great Transformation to become the Philippines’ first Techglomerate, Byaheng Digiskarte stands as a testament to their commitment to innovation, digital transformation, and their drive to positively impact the businesses and communities around them. 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.
Aboitiz Foundation President and Chief Operating Officer Maribeth Marasigan expressed heartfelt gratitude to the IABC for the esteemed recognition.
“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,” she said.
The 2023 Gold Quill Awards reception will be held in Toronto, Canada on June 6 while the 2023 Silver Quill Award from the IABC Asia Pacific Region will take place in Bali, Indonesia from September 4 to 5. During the ceremonies, the Aboitiz Group’s ‘Byaheng Digiskarte’ program will be recognized among exceptional communication works from around the world.
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. Byaheng Digiskarte has emerged as a beacon of hope, reinvigorating the Filipino spirit in the digital age.
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.
Furthermore, Byaheng Digiskarte has facilitated almost a thousand beneficiaries in opening their first bank accounts with UnionBank, solidifying the Aboitiz Group’s commitment to providing accessible financial services.
Having not only achieved but surpassed its goals and targets, the Aboitiz Group proves that it is a reliable partner in bringing positive change and progress in society.