Alaina Tria, Porsha Mangilit, Raphaella Mae Sanchez, and Gwen Maurie Villaver are four senior high-school students from St. Scholastica’s College who claimed the top award at the 2019 JA Asia-Pacific Company of the Year competition as well as the FedEx Access Award. This competition is the annual celebration of the achievements of young entrepreneurs in the region. They were recognized for the innovation of their start-up company, Terra Philippines.
Terra was borne from the group’s passion for environmental preservation. The company is centered around converting reusable materials into practical and fashionable pieces for the average Filipina. According to ABS-CBN, their first product, Isla, is a “multi-purpose bag with detachable and re-organizable pockets made out of coconut coir and recycled textile sourced from local farming communities in Laguna, Quezon, and Albay.”
The group was said to be inspired by the many coconut vendors that litter the streets of Taft, right outside their campus. They noticed the huge amounts of coconut husks that go to waste and were encouraged to find a use for it. After much research, they settled on using coconut coir in the production of sustainable bags. Their next product, Bucko, will be a belt bag made of the same material.
Tria, the group’s CEO, shares:
I think what motivated me into participating was the fact that I’m an environmentalist who loves fashion. When we were conceptualizing our bag, I was researching about the coconut coir, which I think is an underrated fiber with huge potential when introduced to the market, and implementing the use of recycled textiles.
This commitment and enthusiasm for innovation, paired with the guidance of mentors and teachers, propelled them to outshine 19 other student firms from 13 countries in the 2019 JA Asia-Pacific Company of the Year competition. Different companies from Australia, Brunei, China, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand also competed.
What do you think of their sustainable products?