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The Philippinesâ€™ biggest names in technology gathered last Jan. 21 at the SMX Convention Center for the 2nd Filipino Technopreneurship Summit. From the Filipino-American technologists who became very successful in the Silicon Valley to the countryâ€™s most promising technopreneurs, the speakers and panelists made the day inspirational and full of learning. More than 5,000 participants filled the halls of SMX; 4,000 of which were students from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. It was an overwhelming crowd, and the experience was even more overwhelming with the presence of PLDT chairman Manny Pangilinan, who stayed until lunchtime.
After my short welcome speech, PLDT president Poly Nazareno delivered the opening remarks, where he emphasized the countryâ€™s role to create an environment where aspiring entrepreneurs can thrive, and how PLDT is doing its part to achieve this. Following him is Silicon Valley top technopreneur engineer Dado Banatao, who actually took his time to prepare a slide presentation for the summit. This gesture was really appreciated by the audience who were taking down notes during his talk. He reminded the participants that the key to be successful in the technology industry is to start young by focusing on their studies. Dado also reminded the technopreneurs who were present of the importance of knowing the market trends, having a relevant product and technology roadmap, continuously working on objectives and key result areas, and having a strong management team and an active board of directors in their respective companies.
The keynote forum came next, where other successful Fil-Ams in Silicon Valley served as panelists. We had Winston Damarillo, Eric Manlunas, Dr. Paco Sandejas and Myla Villanueva, as well as Smart Communications co-founder Doy Vea, who willingly shared the experiences that they encountered during the time when they were still starting. They all have the same belief that the Filipino talent is at par with the technologists from other countries. According to them, all that we need is the right assistance, and they are more than willing to serve as mentors through their foundation called PhilDev.
Three more forum sessions followed in the afternoon. The first one featured existing businesses in the countryâ€™s technology industry, and the panel was composed of Bernie Abis (Webcast Technologies Inc.), John Bibal II (Philippine Blackberry Developer Group), Alvin Edwald Chan (game developer), Gerry Cruz (Andgage), RJ David (Sulit.com), Michael Ngo Dee (Tripid.ph), Ryan Escarez (developer, MRT Trackr), Calen Martin Legaspi (Orange and Bronze Software), Jose Julio Lopez (EMC Corporation), Unyx Sta. Ana (Orchestronix), Jeffrey Siy (Galleon.ph), and Alvin Tan (Siglo). They shared their individual entrepreneurial journeys, as well as the best practices that their companies do. It is worthy to note that most of them believed in helping other practitioners in the realm of technology, even if it would sometimes require them to share their own resources and knowledge.
The next forum featured the enablers in the technology industry, which are either helping start-ups fund their projects, develop their ideas further, or provide a strong physical infrastructure or software for their businesses. We had James Ayson (Smart DevNet), Ken Lauren-Dagano (technology evangelist), Reena Estuar (Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center), Jojo Flores (Silicon Valley S&T Advisory Council), Alvin Gendrano (Microsoft Philippines), Monchito Ibrahim (Information and Communication Technology-DOST), Tom Russel (SeedAsia), Jack Madrid (Multiply), Dr. Luis Sison (DOST-UP Enterprise Center for Technopreneurship), Marica Uchida (Developers Connect Foundation), and Earl Martin Valencia (Ideaspace Foundation).
Meanwhile, the last session was a bloggersâ€™ forum featuring prominent names in the blogging industry such as Mark Joseph Delgado (Bloggers4Change), Anton Diaz (OurAwesomePlanet), Ira Giorgetti (male fashion), Tricia Gosingtian (female fashion), Ivan Henares (Ivan About Town-tourism), Mae Ilagan (When in Manila-tourism), Michael Lim (Fashion Pulis), Abe Olandres (Yuga Tech), Carlo Ople (UnBox.com), Patricia Prieto (female fashion), Jeoff Solas (Loveyourself.ph), and Janette Toral (Philippine Blogging Summit). It was a great way to cap the content-heavy day, because they shared their entertaining yet inspiring experiences in blogging. Their stories prove that anyone can use technology not only to practice their writing skills or share their experiences in life online, but also as an avenue to earn.
Thank you to PLDT Cloud, PLDT SME Nation, Smart Communications, Meralco and Multiply.com Philippines, for helping us mount this summit. Go Negosyo hopes to inspire more Filipinos to be techies and consider this industry as a means to get out of poverty. Watch out for our next summit on March 1 at the World Trade Center Manila.