News Release

Filipino-Led Social Enterprise in BYU-Hawaii Wins Enactus USA National Championship Back-to-Back

A social enterprise based in Laie, Hawaii and Pampanga, Philippines that empowers Filipino farmers recognized as the best in the US

RiceUp Farmers, Inc. a Filipino-led social enterprise, championed the 2019 Enactus United States National competition on Tuesday 7 May 2019 at the Enactus United States National Exposition in Kansas City, Missouri.


Presented by Hallmark Cards, Inc., the award earned the social enterprise $10,000 to further develop their project initiatives.

A project of Brigham Young University-Hawaii, RiceUp Farmers, Inc., made history as it is the first time in 23 years for a former Enactus United States National champion to win the same award two years in a row.

Over 100 senior executives from renowned companies in the United States, including Hallmark Cards, Inc., Coca-Cola Company, BIC Corporation, Unilever, KPMG LLP and Post Consumer Brands, networked with more than 1,000 students from 87 universities and colleges across the country and judged the entrepreneurial projects that Enactus teams created and implemented.

RiceUp Farmers, Inc. will represent the Enactus United States in the 2019 Enactus World Cup on 16-18 September 2019 in San Jose, California and will compete with others from 36 countries.

"On behalf of Hallmark, I congratulate everyone who participated in this year's Enactus competition," said Dave Hall, President, Hallmark Cards, Inc.

"All of this year's students should be proud of what they have accomplished and feel good knowing that their desire to change lives and to make measurable, meaningful and lasting contributions will have a significant impact on the world's sustainability, and we think that's remarkable."

The goal of RiceUp Farmers, Inc. is to bridge the wide gap between Filipino farmers and consumers. The project employs innovative technology to simplify food supply logistics. It also educates farmers to further enhance their skills and help develop models to increase sustainability.

The social enterprise established 30 RiceUp Farm Schools with over 300 farmers who graduated from their program. In 2019, RiceUp partnered with the Davao City government to establish farm schools in the area to empower indigenous people and improve their farm operations.

The project has improved the economic status of individuals in active locations with 260 jobs created and 2,100 people lifted above the poverty line.

During the competition, teams delivered live, multimedia presentations of their projects to panels of senior business leaders. The presentations focused on the sustainable impact of their projects in terms of economic, social and environmental through the use of entrepreneurial actions.

During the presentation of RiceUp, a judge shared, “I came here as a teacher, I left the room as a student, RiceUp is truly an inspiration of how one idea can transform communities for the better.”

RiceUp rooted out from an idea of Elvin Jerome Laceda, a Pampanga-native member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who studied agricultural engineering at the Bataan Peninsula State University-Abucay before landing a scholarship at the Brigham Young University-Hawaii.

Through the university’s intensive entrepreneurship program, Laceda received mentoring from successful entrepreneurs and joined competitions to get initial funding for his RiceUp project.

RiceUp had only 50 farmers in December 2016. This year, the RiceUp network is expected to have 5,000 farmers from not only in the Philippines but in Cambodia as well.

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