Duterte’s adviser on entrepreneurship: Future lies in digital economy

Pia Ranada
Duterte’s adviser on entrepreneurship: Future lies in digital economy
Millennials are in the best position to start businesses out of apps or other digital technology that solves problems and provides essential services, says Joey Concepcion

MANILA, Philippines – Millennials are in the best position to grab opportunities presented by a growing “digital economy,” said Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.

Businesses based on apps or digital technology are poised to become successful if backed by the right idea, Concepcion said during the 2017 Manila Social Good Summit held on Saturday, September 16, in Taguig.

“The future for you is the digital economy that is growing…Tech space, whether it’s robotics, AI (artificial intelligence), that is your advantage. Because you understand it more than we who are above 50, [the] 70, 80 generation. You are not scared of playing around with gadgets,” said Concepcion.

He cited the example of apps like Uber and Grab, wildly successful digital ventures that make money but also provide essential services to people.

Many other apps allow plumbers, house cleaners, or other service providers to access bigger markets through technology.

At no other time has the digital economy been so robust since so many people today are dependent on their smartphones and apps.

All millennials need to do to become a successful digitial entrepreneur is to identify a problem that can be solved on a smartphone.

“Identifying a problem gives you an opportunity. You can develop a business model on the digital space,” said Concepcion. 

Opportunities for Filipino millennials to start successful business ventures abound and millennials should not be scared to take them, he said.

Never fear failure

Fear of failure is one big factor stopping young Filipinos from becoming entrepreneurs, given all the risk involved.

“Never fear to fail because if you fear to fail you will never be successful because you will never attempt to do anything,” said Concepcion.

He started his presentation by recalling the time he sold his first cotton candy as a budding entrepreneur.

This kind of training has helped Concepcion, who now heads food and beverage company RFM Corporation. His grandfather, Jose N. Concepcion Sr, is a co-founder of RFM.

Earning from his cotton candy business made him feel “happy and accomplished” but it was only one of many enterprises, some of which had failed.

Challenge and opportunity

Setbacks and hardships may discourage even the most determined entrepreneurs but Concepcion said some of the best opportunities arise from the most dire of circumstances.

He pointed out that some of today’s most successful businessmen started their businesses during the Marcos regime, which was fraught with uncertainty and a climate of fear due to martial law.

Businessmen like Henry Sy and John Gokongwei managed to shepherd their businesses through these trying times and emerge winners.

“It is the times that are most challenging that presents the greatest opportunity. There would be no Jollibee, no SM if our eonomy was so robust many, many years ago because these multinational corporations would have come to the Philippines and many of our local brands would have had a difficult time challenging these huge corporations,” said Concepcion.

But today’s aspiring entrepreneurs face different challenges and opportunities compared to entrepeneurs of previous generations.

Technology is changing what consumers want and need, thus revolutionizing the kinds of services and products that are in-demand.

“Technology has really changed and increased the speed of doing business, creating ideas, and that is your advantage,” said Concepcion. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.