Lyka and Rojons: Checking in on Swiss Re 5 Philippines Alumni

In April 2018, Pathways to Higher Education organized the 5th SwissRe Start Up Academy attended by 48 high school students from all over Metro Manila. During the week-long academy, participants learned the rudiments of business management. The main objective of the academy, after all, is to imbue an entrepreneurial mindset among the youth.
Meet Angelika Tenorio and Rojons Evangelista from Batasan Hills National High School and Marikina HIgh School, respectively. Both are also incoming first year students at the Ateneo de Manila University.

 Angelika O. Tenorio

Angelika, or Lyka to close friends and family, is an only child in a family of 3.Photo courtesy of Rodeann Vallo. Her father works as a security guard and her mother is a dental aide/assistant. She’s part of the 15th batch of Pathways graduates and now, she’s an incoming BS Management student in Ateneo.Caption

What was your startup during the 5th SwissRe Academy? 
In the academy, we used the idea of one of my groupmates: a laundry business. Throughout the week, we improved the idea until we finalized and presented EnsuRinse on the final day. EnsuRinse ensures that the customer (students within the University belt) will have a more convenient, hassle free, and transparent pricing experience in laundry service. By this, we offer a pre-scheduled laundry appointment (LaunDate), 24/7 operations, and pick -up and delivery service.
How was your proposal in SwissRe able to help you—in school and in life in general?
Aside from my mother having a sari-sari store before, the only background that I have about business was from my entrepreneurship subject in my 11th grade. Since I was in the STEM track, I was not really able to apply my learning in school. But after the academy, I became more conscious of the laundry business within my area. I would usually see and check what they offer and compare it with what we had in our business proposal. I also became more concerned with what the customer really needs and was able to sympathize with them and identify the competitors’ weaknesses and use it as our strengths.

Lyka presenting her group’s pitch. Photo courtesy of Angelika Tenorio.

The academy gave me the experience of being the provider of the customers, which I think is what I will bring when I study management in college. Attending the SwissRe academy is an advantage for me as a management student because in that one week, I was able to have a hands-on experience of creating a feasible business. And on the last day, I made a pitch to possible investors. It was really a great way of practicing before possibly turning it and experiencing in reality.

What’s the one thing—or the one piece of advice—you learned from Pathways that you’ll always keep close to your heart?
Upon joining Pathways to Higher Education, they introduced us to the values that they wanted us to embody: CLISS (Commitment to Excellence, Love of Learning, Integrity, Solidarity, and Service to Society). At first, I thought that having these values is a requirement for all of the participants. I did not know what it really meant or what is it really to have those values and what is the purpose of having those. But through years of spending my time with them, I gradually learned each value and it actually made me a better version of myself.
What really struck me most is how to serve society. With the society that we have today, I could say some or most of the leaders do not really know what service to society is, or what it really means to serve the country. Leaders who run to serve the country only wants to serve us because they benefit from us. In relation to my experience, Pathways wanted us to embody the value of service to society, to serve others with the desire of helping them with our heart. Pathways is creating and representing a small community in which we can also practice our service to society by volunteering in the other Pathways activity. It is a community which creates a variety of potential leaders in different fields; a community who create leaders that help each other rather than competing with each other.

 Rojons A. Evangelista

Rojons took up the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) strand from Marikina High School. In August 2019, he will major in BS Chemistry with Materials Science and Engineering (BS CH-MSE).Photo courtesy of Rodeann Vallo.

What was your startup during the 5th SwissRe Academy? 
Our team’s startup was to sell affordable mushrooms in the market. People are unaware of the nutrients given by mushrooms, including the B Vitamins, Potassium, Selenium, and Vitamin D. Mushrooms are also rich in antioxidants, proteins, and fiber and are low in calories. Even though consumers are aware of the benefit, they would still not be able to afford the product due to its high price. Our startup project aimed to provide affordable mushroom products through retailing.

How was your proposal in SwissRe able to help you—in school and in life in general?
The academy helped me in doing our business plan for our high school subject Entrepreneurship. It also made me realize that being successful does not only mean hard work, but also means being smart. We should not work hard, but should work smartly instead. One of the things that people are not aware of is the edge of having a business—it builds a person's communicative skills, negotiation potential, persuasion abilities, critical thinking and the like.

"Proof of why Swiss Re 5 is super duper memorable—the adorable mentors,” says Rojons (right). Photo courtesy of Rojons Evangelista

What’s the one thing—or the one piece of advice—you learned from Pathways that you’ll always keep close to your heart?

One of the things that I would keep closest to my heart is Sir Jay Liwanag's speech. I found out that we share a common attitude-- we are easily threatened by other people's intelligence, skills, and capabilities. We both intend to put ourselves in a situation where we constantly compare ourselves to others. He talked about his past experiences in dealing with such problem, but what really inspired me is his form of motivation by comparing himself to his past self. I always think that I do the best and worst things and I always compare my work with others. I lived that with a mindset of having to be the best, to claim the best, and to know the best. What I wasn't able to see is that I am in constant progress regardless of what other people do; that even small steps should be considered an improvement. From that day on, I have lived my life thinking on how to become a better person today than I was yesterday. Yes, Sir Jay Liwanag made it clear to me how important being a better person is without having such toxic comparison.


NOTE: The article was originally published by Ateneo de Manila University last June 21, 2019 (


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