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Many years back, I was appointed Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship by the former administration. On my first year, I remember visiting the top Filipino technopreneur Dado Banatao in his Palo Alto Office about eight years ago. It was the same time I founded the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship â€“ Go Negosyo, a purely private endeavor since my philosophy was for the private sector to lead this movement.
I shared my vision then with Dado, that the solution to the countryâ€™s problem of poverty is entrepreneurship or negosyo. He gave his view on how he is helping in a small way by bringing potential Filipinos in the tech field or even professors called â€œBanatao fellowâ€ if I remember right . It was two years ago that we met again in a friendâ€™s house, Mikey Cojuangco, and by this time the Ayala Foundation in America became Philippine Development Foundation or PhilDev.
I invited him to give the keynote address at the Technopreneurship Summit in 2013, where close to 6,000 people and the entire PLDT group headed by Manny V. Pangilinan, Poly Nazareno, Doy Vea, Eric Alberto and Kat Luna Abelarde, and top technopreneurs attended to hear Dado speak.
This year, in the 2014 Technopreneurship summit, we invited Engr. Dado Banatao once again and MVP to have a dialogue with the technopreneurs, professors, and students, and as usual the SMX was packed. This was followed by a private gathering at my home with the countryâ€™s top technopreneurs to meet Dado and MVP in person.
Another Filam technopreneur, Sheila Marcelo, was supposed to attend our event but had to cancel. She just recently took her company, Care.com, public and her firm is now valued at about $600 million. She was, however, able to join the women summit dinner which I hosted at home, honoring 50 women of passion and she addressed in a forum the 200 womenpreneurs who attended the event.
This time I was invited to attend their event â€“ IDEA Global Entrepreneurship Symposium 2014 held at Edsa Shangri-la Hotel. The event was mounted by the Philippine S&T Development Foundation (Phildev S&T) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
In his keynote speech, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo highlighted the need to have leaders for innovation because that is whatâ€™s lacking. His insightful discussion focused on what the government is doing to achieve a globally-competitive and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem. He also mentioned that the passing of the Go Negosyo Bill will surely help the entrepreneurs.
Commission on Higher Education chairperson Dr. Patricia Licuanan zealously shared the role of the academe in molding an entrepreneurship mindset in the university. She noted that more electives should be incorporated in the educational curriculum and there is a need for more technopreneurship panels and discussions. She also highlighted the importance of including entrepreneurship in science and technology courses.
Together with former National Economic and Development Authority director general Dr. Cayetano Paderanga Jr. and Phildev chairman Engr. Dado Banatao, I was seated as a panelist to discuss the private sector/ entrepreneurshipâ€™s role in nation building.
Dr. Paderanga noted that for us to be at par with the current technological advancements, what is really needed is risk-taking. He said that the root of that is really in the first level, when we were students. Science and technology, including mathematics, are not easy subjects so majority wonâ€™t pursue those fields even if they have the potentials.
Starting a foundation that focuses on upgrading S&T in education is what Engr. Dado Banatao noted during the discussion. He said that we need to put our ideas and concepts into designs and co-invest and show technology can produce certain products. He also pointed out that learning is about making mistakes. Risk-taking could also be rewarding in the long run, the thing that one needs to find out is how to create a successful company with technology.
For me, to build a better nation, we should have a mindset change among the people. This can happen if we teach the youth the proper and right values that would help them grow into better individuals. Technology is challenging and it requires higher level of education. Young kids need to understand and be more focused on technology.
Also, I believe that inclusive growth is the way forward and it starts with a proper entrepreneurial attitude and mindset because poverty springs from the lack of big ideas. It takes good professors and mentors to bring about change in mindset. It is true that technology have revolutionized our ways, so it is up to us to maximize it and put it to proper use. The first step to further understand technologyâ€™s power is to have more technology symposiums. Plus we need more local entrepreneurs whom the youth can look up to for inspiration.
Senator Bam Aquino, shared his insights about government policies to help entrepreneurs to start their ventures. He also noted that one way of getting people out of poverty is to involve marginalized groups.
In a forum about government strategies to remove barriers for scaling-up and commercialization, Sen. Grace Poe said that transparency is very important because everything is influenced by good government and its policies and that we need to focus on research and development and train more young people.
Sen. Sonny Angara mentioned that the worst economic problem is the lack of jobs so there is really a need for us to look at ways of creating innovation that creates jobs.
This endeavor of Phildev is a good way to promote technopreneurship in the country and yes, Fil-Am entrepreneurs are starting to come home and give back. Dado and Sheila, thru the foundation of PhilDev, is bringing more Pinoy abroad to come and help our country fight poverty. I always believe that the Filipinos are not destined to be poor.