4 reasons why entrepreneurship is ‘more fun in the Philippines’
MANILA, Philippines – The “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign has been wildly successful. It increased tourism in the country, and it established our collection of 7,107 islands as a must - destination for people around the world.
To this success, I have wondered: Can we do more? What if we can sell the Philippines not just as an exotic setting for your vacation, but as an ideal place to start a company? Will our business districts see a rise in entrepreneurs in the same way that our beaches have seen a rise in sunbathers?
With this idea in mind, I compiled a list accounting for why everyone – both foreigners and locals – should see the Philippines as an archipelago of opportunities.
Though the phrase has been repurposed time and time again, entrepreneurship really is “more fun in the Philippines.”
1. There are big problems to solve.
As an emerging market, the Philippines has many industries that are ripe for innovation. You have companies like Uber, GrabTaxi, and EasyTaxi trying to make transportation more convenient, and fin-tech firms like DragonPay, VMoney, Lenddo, and Satoshi Citadel Industries trying to extend financial inclusion to more Filipinos.
My company, ZipMatch, is working to address real estate – we want to help more Filipinos achieve the dream of home ownership. Grinding it out to solve large, macro problems like these may be less sexy than creating and scaling Silicon Valley-esque iOS or Android apps, but I would argue that it’s infinitely more fulfilling.
2. There are plenty of resources at our disposal.
Even though the Philippines is an emerging market, our tech ecosystem is only getting stronger by the month. I would like to call particular attention to the growing number of accelerators, incubators, and investors showing interest in our country, if not already operating it. To give you a rough indication, at ZipMatch we have been privileged to receive investments from 5 investment firms, all of which hail from different parts of the world.
3. The market is more than ready.
When news broke that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) was going to fine Uber cars P200,000 ($4,445.48) for operating without a license, netizens did not hold back from expressing their outrage in the blogosphere and social media. (READ: It's 'Uber' now: Netizens furious at LTFRB for sting operation)
Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya expressed the need to collaborate with Uber rather than work against it.
Such support for Uber paints a broader picture: Filipinos are ready for tech companies to challenge the status quo, and any roadblocks should be interpreted as just that – roadblocks. The Philippines will be uplifted through tech entrepreneurship, and there’s nothing that anyone can do to get in the way.
4. The Philippines has talent.
The traditional view is that the best of the best go to compete in Silicon Valley. While this undoubtedly holds true to a degree, I would argue that the Philippines is no slouch when it comes to entrepreneurial and technical talent either, a fact you can witness in the level of competition in any tech space here. (READ: Aquino: Invest in the Philippines – and in Filipinos)
In the tech real estate industry alone, ZipMatch faces competition from more than a handful of companies backed by significant investment purses and powered by sharp managerial talent.
Such competition inspires us rather than deters us, and I hope more people will buy into similar reasoning: If there are more players actively trying to solve the biggest problems facing the Philippines, we will arrive at the optimal solution quicker.
The spoils of victory from any business battle will always go to the Filipino people, which I think we can all agree is who we ultimately want to serve. – Rappler.com
Rappler business columnist Ezra Ferraz is also the chief content officer at ZipMatch, a tech company backed by Ideaspace Foundation, Hatchd Digital, IMJ Investment Partners, and 500 Startups. He brings you Philippine business leaders, their insights, and their secrets via Executive Edge. Connect with him on Twitter: @EzraFerraz
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Successful business team image via Shutterstock