PH Technopreneurship Summit: Working for success
MANILA, Philippines – How do you turn the dream of building a strong business into a reality in an age of high technology?
Three tech entrepreneurs – or technopreneurs – discussed their thoughts on technology as it intersects with business at Go Negosyo's 3rd Philippine Technopreneurship Summit held Wednesday, February 19.
Go Negosyo, the advocacy of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship, is a non-stock, non-profit organization that is pushing for Filipinos to engage in entrepreneurial pursuits. Through events, seminars, campaigns, and books, Go Negosyo hopes to promote responsible entrepreneurship as a worthwhile alternative to unemployment, job-seeking, or migration.
In a talk, Maria Ressa, CEO of this news site Rappler, explored the power of social media and big data when it comes to journalism.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company group chairman Manuel "Manny" Pangilinan and Tallwood Venture Capital founder Dado Banatao were also on hand via a forum to answer some questions and talk about what one would need to turn a big idea into a reality.
Inspiration, imagination, courage
In Ressa’s talk, she told attendees of the summit that they need to have inspiration, imagination, and courage if they want to tackle the future head-on.
"The world you see today is the not the world you're going to grow up in," she noted, citing in broad strokes the technological shifts that have made some companies and technologies obsolete and have created new opportunities as a result.
Those who plan to start businesses should understand the rapid pace of advancement and be able to adjust accordingly if they ever choose to start their own venture.
Ressa cited the power of social media and big data – the collection of large sets of information for processing and analysis – as a new way of gaining information that can serve people’s desire to stay informed.
Ressa discussed Rappler’s election coverage and real-time tally of votes from PCOS machines, which provided users the ability to look at the election process with more detail and transparency.
She also discussed Project Agos. In tandem with a global community of mappers, government agencies, and tech companies, Project Agos allows people to map out areas needing help and locations without cellphone signals, track the flow of relief goods, and augment the person finder initiatives of Google and Facebook.
"Imagine what you can do with the technology at your fingertips," Ressa reminded the audience, asking them to act on those ideas with the help of technology and the information available to them and to be courageous in making those ideas come true.
Education, perseverance, and encouragement
During the dialogue with Pangilinan and Banatao, the two stressed the importance of education as a means of improving the startup and technopreneurship industry of the Philippines.
The two, however, noted the lack of emphasis on a solid educational foundation in the sciences and technology.
Pangilinan heads telecoms giant PLDT and infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, which has interests in toll roads, water distribution and hospitals, among others.
Banatao is the managing partner of Tallwood Venture Capital and was a venture partner at the Mayfield Fund in addition to founding 3 technology startups: S3 (SBLU), Chips & Technologies (INTC) and Mostron.
Banatao said that in order to move the Philippines up as a developing country, it needs 3 things: technology, access to global markets, and more investments.
The movement towards those 3, he added, starts with education, and the country needs a good base of scientists of engineers to help fulfill the requirements he named.
Pangilinan, on his end, said that the future will likely have to bridge a "creative divide" to overcome the world's current problems.
The Philippines has its strengths and weaknesses, both agreed. Banatao said Filipinos are very patient, which can be a valuable strength if pointed in the right direction. Meanwhile, Pangilinan said that we have a good demographic dividend – referring to the number of young people who are of working age.
The weaknesses they noted, however, come from deeply ingrained systems.
Banatao pointed once again to the education system of the country. There's a lack of research in universities. This is made worse by the government’s lack of drive to improve the education situation which, Banatao said, Filipinos need to push the government to improve if they want progress.
Pangilinan noted that existing paradigms make it difficult for the creativity of young members of society to be expressed.
To improve technopreneurship in the Philippines, both chimed in on the need to improve the culture and systems in place.
Aside from building the infrastructure that would make technological pursuits worthwhile, Pangilinan said people, institutions, and companies have to adopt technology, as well as the sciences, into their lives to foster a less traditional mode of thinking.
Aside from pushing for better education, Banatao noted that those who wish to become savvy tecnopreneurs have to be persevering. They must want to become a technopreneur badly enough to like the difficult road that comes with solving certain types of problems with an analytical mind.
At different points of the forum, Pangilinan and Banatao both echoed Ressa’s sentiments.
Banatao noted that to be a technopreneur, "You have to take the ultimate risk" and enter a business situation.
Pangilinan reinforced this by saying that “the kernel of success starts with a dream.” If someone wants to achieve success, he should be willing to go ahead and do it. "Don’t be afraid to fail,” Pangilinan told the audience. – Rappler.com