5 digital game-changers win at the #BeTheBoss Awards

Jason Tulio
5 digital game-changers win at the #BeTheBoss Awards
MobKard, Kimstore, Messy Bessy, Jason Magbanua and TimeFree Innovations were the winners of the very first #BeTheBoss Awards

MANILA, Philippines – Technology has changed everything, including the ways that entrepreneurs address common problems through savvy and progressive business ventures. 

Rappler, in partnership with Smart SME Nation, launched the very first #BeTheBoss Awards as a new kind of initiative – it’s a social media crowd-sourced search that aims to recognize next generation entrepreneurs at the forefront of the digital shift. 

Over 500 nominations came in from across the country. Public voting came down to 15 strong finalists, each with a case for victory. In the end, five entrepreneurs were awarded as new Bosses on #BeTheBoss Awards night on Wednesday, October 28, at the Palace Pool Club in Bonifacio Global City. 

The winners are:

  • Boss for E-Commerce: Kim Lato from Kimstore, an online tech store and e-commerce pioneer in the Philippines.
  • Boss for Social Media: Jason Magbanua, the top wedding videographer in the country.
  • Boss for Customer Service: Chino Atilano of TimeFree Innovations, a virtual queuing solutions company that’s also available in Malaysia and Hong Kong.
  • Boss for Social Responsibility: Kristine Reyes-Lopez of Messy Bessy, an online seller of biodegradable and nontoxic cleaning and personal care products.
  • Boss for Mobile Readiness: Carlo Calimon of MobKard, a mobile app with over 300 merchant partners that brings discounts and special deals directly to customers’ phones.

DIGITAL MOVERS. Rappler’s Maria Ressa and Manny Ayala discuss how technology is also changing entrepreneurship today. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler.

Modern business leaders

The night opened with words from PLDT First Vice President and Head of PLDT SME Nation Kat Luna-Abelarde, who defined what it means to be a business leader today.

“What defines a boss?” she asked, “He or she is a game changer. A visionary. Someone driven by passion and the grit to get things done.” She adds, “It is now easier to become a boss because of a modern day miracle; a miracle that we call technology.”

Maria Ressa, a proponent of combining traditional journalism ethics in online content as the CEO of Rappler, echoed these sentiments. 

“[Technology] has changed everything,” she said, “I’m a traditional journalist but look at what [Rappler has] been able to do with social media, with technology.”

Ressa also touched on the importance of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to a country’s growth.

“Nearly 90% of growth in our country is going to be driven not just by the giants but by each of us working on our own together.” 

Digital game changers

EYES ON THE PRIZE. The awards trophy is designed by world-renowned industrial designer Kenneth Cobonpue. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler.


Boss for Mobile Readiness Carlo Calimon, who delivered his acceptance speech through a recorded video, highlighted what the award means for the future of his business.

“This [award] gives MobKard the opportunity to pitch and at the same time find opportunities in the country. So hopefully everything goes well.”

Jason Magbanua, the Boss for Social Media, says that technology allowed him to share his work and his vision with the world.

“All I ever really wanted [was] to connect with people, to share the videos that we do; the videos of love, of positivity, to connect with as [many] people as we can.” 

ALL SMILES. Jason Magbanua accepts the award as the Boss for Social Media. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler.

Boss for Customer Service Chino Atilano was hopeful about what the awards means for the future of other businesses.

“The way I see it, all the finalists are winners.” He says, “So hopefully this is the start of the revolution in the Philippines for more entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams.”

STARTING A REVOLUTION. Boss for Customer Service Chino Atilano is hopeful that the awards will inspire other entrepreneurs. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler.

Kristine Reyes-Lopez, whose socially forward enterprise won her the Boss for Social Responsibility award, declared her award as a victory for everyone.

She says, “This [award] is mine as much as it is my team’s and the kids’. Of course, [Rags2Riches] and Bambike, this is yours too.” 

PUMPED. Boss for Social Responsibility Kristine Reyes-Lopez shares her victory with others. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler.

The prizes for the winners included a mobile phone, a tablet and a laptop. In a surprise twist, hosts Markki Stroem and CJ Hirro announced that all the finalists and winners would receive an all-expense paid trip to Silicon Valley in California. The trip will include office tours of some of the world’s leading tech companies like Google and Twitter.

The night was filled with food, drinks, speeches, performances and even a few games and raffles. The night ended with an electric set that had the venue singing their hearts out by none other than Ely Buendia.

CENTER STAGE. Ely Buendia rocks out to his signature hits. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler.

PLDT Chairman Manny V Pangilinan was also present to help recognize the winners.

Watch the full event video and read the live blog to find out more about what took place at the first #BeTheBoss Awards night. – Rappler.com

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