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BorrowIt: An item-sharing platform by Lasallians for Lasallians

School materials, books, and various gadgets—these are but some of the goods that may be put up for borrowing online for members of the Lasallian community. 

BorrowIt is a new community-based item-sharing platform, exclusive to DLSU and De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) students, where members can sign up to lend or borrow items. To become a member of the BorrowIt community, Lasallians only need to enter the website using their DLSU or DLS-CSB email addresses containing the school’s domain. Lenders on the platform also stand to earn passive income by renting out their items on the platform.

Built by a group of DLSU student-entrepreneurs, BorrowIt is set to launch on October 15, opening its doors to the Lasallian community. 

Building the concept

Founder and Chief Executive Officer Daimler Villena (III, BS-ENT) traces back the first concept of BorrowIt as a dropbox system for borrowing and returning items owned by students. They initially planned to open a station in the Animo Labs station at Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall to store the items and handle transactions, but these plans did not materialize after the COVID-19 pandemic happened, she explains.

A shiftee to the University’s Entrepreneurship degree program, Villena conceptualized the idea of BorrowIt with several of his peers as part of a course requirement. Villena’s classmates Kenji Young (III, BS-ENT), Nikki Dailo (IV, BS-ENT), and Kobe Ligon (IV, BS-ENT) would become co-founders of BorrowIt. Diego Pineda (BS-ENT, ‘20), a friend of Villena, was also brought in to be the company’s Chief Operating Officer, while Ivan Chung (III, FIN) took the reins as Chief Financial Officer. 

Meanwhile, Jake Go, a lecturer from the Decision Sciences and Innovation Department and the founder and CEO of Springboard Philippines, served as a mentor to the BorrowIt team, helping them kick-start their business and spearheading the Springboard team behind the development of BorrowIt’s website.

Up and away

Now revamped into an online platform, BorrowIt is already accepting items for borrowing or for lending on their official website. Students can sign up as either a lender, a borrower, or both. To verify profiles, BorrowIt requires applicants to submit two valid IDs, one of them being their DLSU or DLS-CSB ID. 

Upon registration, lenders are asked to indicate their preferred payment method when items are borrowed. They also decide on how much it would cost to borrow each item. Borrowers, meanwhile, can pay the rental fee over-the-counter or through online banking. 

To keep the items safe, Villena assures that BorrowIt provides their own in-house door-to-door delivery service. “We won’t do it through [third-party delivery couriers] because we don’t want the items to be compromised…and we can’t speak for what happened to it in the event that something might go wrong,” he adds. All items will also be disinfected by the team before delivery. 

While the business was still being developed, the group submitted their venture as a contender for the Alibaba Global E-Commerce Talent Global Challenge 2020, a competition for establishments and institutions to develop digital solutions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. After passing the first three stages of the contest, BorrowIt was selected as one of the top 12 teams out of more than 200 applicants in the Philippines, later reaching the Global Top 150 out of over 2,000 competing groups worldwide. 

Young compares the challenge to her entrepreneurship courses in the University, as the event itself included online training and workshops. “They basically give you the necessities you need when it comes to building a business plan and starting up your start-up rate,” he says, mentioning how they were given lessons on eCommerce and offered one-on-one mentoring sessions.

What’s next?

Since its inception, the team aims to have BorrowIt recognized as the lead rental platform among Lasallians. The team plans to expand their customer base to cater to other colleges and universities in Metro Manila. Although deliveries are currently limited to the neighboring cities of team members due to quarantine restrictions, BorrowIt hopes to broaden its scope to areas the National Capital Region.

Once face-to-face classes resume, the team intends to revisit their earlier concept of a dropbox system within the DLSU Manila campus. 
BorrowIt serves academic communities while continuing to promote sustainability with security as their groundwork. “We want it to be used by people and be comfortable knowing that you’re borrowing from someone from the same school as you,” Young says. By borrowing from within a trusted community, he adds, customers are offered a cheaper alternative to help ease financial burdens during the pandemic—rather than purchase the products they need, they can just borrow it.

ADDENDUM: October 19, 4:30 pm

The article previously did not mention that Spingboard Philippines helped BorrowIt design their website.

By Eliza Santos

By Sophia De Jesus

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