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From mobile ride-hailing apps and virtual shopping centers to courier services that literally deliver items to our doorsteps – the impact of digital platforms in our day-to-day lives can no longer be denied.
Digital technologies, especially in recent years, have been knocking down barriers to entry in technology, entrepreneurship, and services sectors. All over the world, digitally-driven tools are enabling more businesses to do tasks that were only previously possible in more costly, traditional business operations. In the Philippines, a lot of brick-and-mortar businesses are now moving online to catch up with the shift to digitalization.
But a huge block remains, especially for start-ups and aspiring micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the countryside. While digitalization is rapidly transforming the lives of urban city dwellers, many in the rural communities are only barely aware of the vast opportunities digitalization is bringing about.
Our vision in Go Negosyo and my office as the presidential adviser for entrepreneurship is to address this problem. Together with our expanding Angat Lahat sa Digital Alliance, we aim to democratize MSMEs access to the 3Ms (mentor, money, and market) in the digital arena. We want Filipinos all over the country, especially the youth, to have an avenue where they can learn about and get connected to the right market linkages in the growing digital economy.
Last Monday, that vision came one step closer to reality upon the launch of the SIGN-UP Summit 2019. The launch gathered our digital partners Grab Ph, Angkas, Shopee Ph, Lalamove, Lazada, PayMaya, Mynt-Gcash, Coins.Ph, Cashalo, Magpie, Quad X, Zennya, Carousell, and Mober who have all strongly supported this vision since day one. On Sept. 23, the day we hold the SIGN-UP Summit, will be the materialization of the digital platform revolution in the country. It will be held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
In the summit and expo, we have invited more than 100 mobile digital apps, and tech start-ups, alongside budding online platforms in the country, these platforms will come together to introduce their programs as possible revenue-generating opportunities to MSMEs, students, members of the workforce, and others anticipated to attend the event. We are expecting around 20,000 to attend. The biggest number so far of participants Go Negosyo is pooling together in a summit.
The participants will have the whole day to learn more about each of the digital platforms, and should they wish to sign up for one, they may do so right there and then. At the same time, digital sign-ups will also take place in five other areas in the country: Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Iloilo, and Cagayan de Oro.
Those residing near said areas, therefore, can easily access these platforms as Go Negosyo is already bringing them – complete with booths, free consultation sessions, and on-the-spot activation – to said localities.
But we also know, this private sector effort will not create ripples without the hand of the public sector. Go Negosyo can attest to the magnitude of the impact programs can have when private and public institutions link arms to initiate them.
Hence, our summit will also be an avenue for our country’s policy enablers to take on the important agenda of digitalization. In fact, I, together with Go Negosyo’s entrepreneurs, already had a fruitful discussion on this topic with Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno last Friday. For Mayor Isko, digitalization is the way forward. In fact, the mayor is also attending our upcoming SIGN-UP Summit. He vows to support our efforts in bringing digital access closer to, and creating decent and sustainable jobs for, Manileños who have the skills – whether in driving, plumbing, electrical work, computer design, massage, and other services.
These are only a few examples of how digitalization can create jobs, and how institutions can work together to generate livelihood for the people. There is still more that digitalization can offer, and Go Negosyo, along with our Digital Alliance partners, will remain faithful to our advocacy. Ultimately, we hope to see all Filipinos, especially those living below the poverty line, fully capacitated to sign up for a better future.
The SIGN-UP Summit is only the beginning. Go Negosyo and my office hope to bring in more mayors, governors, private organizations, and other stakeholders to stand with us, in our goal of achieving inclusive growth through digital app and platform revolution. Already, the Digital Alliance is looking forward to plotting its next projects and events after the summit.
To succeed in this digital revolution, Go Negosyo understands that the key is to equip our people with the necessary skills so they can thrive in such a society and in such an economy. Empowering the poor is the real driver of profound and lasting digital transformation anchored on sustainable growth and inclusion. More than technology, the digital revolution is, after all, about transforming the lives of our people.
I am encouraging all of you to join us in our SIGN-UP Summit. We are still accepting registrants, as well as school and youth organization partners through www.signup.ph. This event is for free.