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The Go Negosyo 2nd Filipino Technopreneurship Summit last Monday at the SMX Convention Center was one of the best summits we have had in recent years in terms of the quality of forum discussions, speakers, panelists and participants. We got so much good feedback especially from technopreneurs who said that they were greatly inspired by the speakers and learned a lot during the day. The SMX was packed with more than 5,000 participants, and over 4,000 of them who are students and teachers from 80 schools were given FREE entrance as part of our advocacy. Some of these students even came from as far as Tuguegarao, Visayas and Mindanao. In addition, around 600 entrepreneurs in the technology industry were also present. Thanks to the PLDT Group, led by its chairman Manny Pangilinan, PLDT president Poly Nazareno, Smartâ€™s chief adviser Doy Vea, PLDT EVP Eric Alberto, and PLDT SME Nation head Kat Luna-Abelarde, for working with us in mounting this summit.
It is really nice to hear that all the panelists in the summit share the same positive view about the Philippines. After my opening remarks, Poly Nazareno followed with a short speech about the rapid growth of technopreneurship and how the country should be able to create an environment where aspiring start-ups in the field of technology can thrive. What came next was the inspirational message and informative presentation from Silicon Valleyâ€™s top technopreneur Engr. Dado Banatao, who shared his words of advice on how Filipinos can excel and make it big in technology-based businesses. According to him, this can actually be done if students today will be more focused in studying, especially in the areas of math and science. The keynote forum followed, where Silicon Valley technopreneurs Winston Damarillo, Eric Manlunas, Myla Villanueva, Paco Sandejas, and Smart Communications co-founder Doy Vea, shared their humble beginnings, their path to success, challenges that they have faced, and their tips for aspiring technopreneurs. Again, the importance of identifying your market, what products are needed, and technical competence are key success factors identified.
The afternoon sessions were as content-heavy as the first. We had a forum that featured specific technology-related business models such as e-commerce platforms, mobile applications and software development, and each of the panelists shared how they managed to put up such businesses here in the country. During the forum, Calen Martin Legaspi of Orange and Bronze Software shared his observation that Filipino technologists are as talented as their foreign counterparts, but the companies that they work for does not engage in practices that will help them develop their potential. Because of this, he made sure that his companyâ€™s priority is to help these young minds by sharing their own resources to train them. Ryan Escarez of MRT Trackr mentioned that anyone can come up with a brilliant idea for an app, but what they needed to work on is the skills to build the app themselves. Meanwhile, Unyx Sta. Ana of Orchestronix mentioned that young and starting technopreneurs should not be afraid to push their ideas forward because there are organizations today that are willing to help them out, just like how PhilDevâ€™s Hack2Hatch program helped her.
The third forum gathered technology enablers in the countryâ€”from the government sector, the academe, up to the companies in the private sector. The panelists shared that although there are areas that need to be worked on for us to be at par with other countries, closer coordination between the enablers and the technopreneurs will help the Philippines get there faster. Lastly, the fourth session is a bloggersâ€™ forum where prominent bloggers in the country shared their experiences in maintaining and maximizing their online presence. They also encouraged people, especially the young ones, to consider this as a first step should they wish to be entrepreneurs someday.
There were side stories that were heard during the summit which are testaments that technopreneurship can indeed guide a person towards success. One of the stories is that of 19-year-old Gian Javelona, a college student from a state university who developed an app that lets students view their grades through their mobile phones. Gian was actually there during the summit, and I was told that he attended because aside from Steve Jobs, he looks up to Filipino technopreneurs as his inspiration to continue what he is doing, and that this summit gave him a chance to meet them personally. Another story that was shared during a forum was that of Multiplyâ€™s Kim Lato. She was one of Go Negosyoâ€™s youth entrepreneurs featured in our book, and her journey was recalled by Multiply Philippinesâ€™ country manager Jack Madrid himself. At that time when Multiply was still a social network site, 18-year old Kim opened an account and used it as her avenue to sell brand new, original electronic devices that are relatively cheaper compared to those sold at the mall. With her perseverance, she was able to establish her reputation as one of the trusted online sellers not only in Multiply, but in the country as well. Kim knew that she would not be able to attain this status if not for her willingness to embrace technology as a medium of her business venture, and she hopes that other Filipinos can learn from her example.
These are just some of the highlights of the Technopreneurship Summit. We shall be doing our forthcoming Youth Entrepreneurship Summits in the provinces, which will gear towards technopreneurship. We hope that we were able to teach more Filipinos on how they can be top technopreneurs one day and rise up from poverty and become successful in life.
Letâ€™s Go, techno-negosyo!