The official Department of Tourism motto is “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” The motto, while catchy, may arguably portray the country to outsiders as a place where you go to have fun – not where you go to build a company, as so many entrepreneurs here are in fact doing.
With that in mind, I posed this question to 16 of the very best entrepreneurs, tech enthusiasts, and thought leaders in the Philippines: If you were given the reins to spearhead a campaign to promote entrepreneurship in the country, one that perhaps appealed to both locals and foreigners, what would you use as your motto and why?
Here are their answers:
“Start here, scale here with a global outlook from the beginning”
Paul V. Rivera, CEO and co-founder of Kalibrr
The Philippines should be on the radar of every global entrepreneur or startup. You can cost-effectively scale your entire operation in the Philippines from engineering, design, and customer service while at the same time charging customers global prices for your services. Many of the most successful global startups are already doing this. However, I think rather than scaling after you’ve started, I think they should start here, scale here with a global outlook from the beginning.
“Back and front, we are both offices”
Clayton Wood, managing partner and marketing director of TrueLogic Online Solutions
I’m seeing a very large change in the Philippines labor force go from being mostly back office work to also becoming a popular choice for front office work. In my industry alone, the most respected leaders in the world are from the Philippines.
The Philippines is becoming one of the top startup destinations. Entrepreneurs can come here and get economical, high-grade teams of people to execute ideas. You probably even like the same basketball teams.
“Philippines is where ROI doesn’t only mean cash”
Au Soriano, CEO and co-founder of Pinoytravel
Philippines is where the journey of an entrepreneur presents so many opportunities to enrich other people’s lives by creating jobs that restore their dignity, give hope, and most importantly, set examples that they can emulate in their own journey.
“It’s more meaningful in the Philippines”
Gabriel la Ó, editor and co-founder of Pacifiqa
Entrepreneurship here offers the opportunity to not simply make money, but also the chance to greatly impact lives of millions of Filipinos. Startup innovations in more developed nations might mean more convenience or time saved; here it can actually mean lives saved. In almost all sectors — financial, education, agriculture, etc. — there are still huge opportunities to truly revolutionize the way things are done. It might also apply to other developing nations, but in the Philippines, it can be fun, meaningful, and profitable.
“The Philippines: an emerging market, a rising nation”
Chino Atilano, founder and CEO of Time Free Innovations
It’s a given that Filipinos are very active in social media and are quite tech savvy. But the good thing is more and more Filipino entrepreneurs are now putting up their own companies and solving real world problems. With Filipino users readily available to be tapped and with more Filipino startups coming up with innovative applications, the Philippines is an emerging market full of opportunities. The Philippines is on the rise and now is the best time to be part of the technology revolution in the country.
“7107 islands, with room to grow” #RoomToGrowPH
Sabina Lopez-Vergara, director for marketing and PR of Bitmarket.ph
With an abundance of untapped resources and a dynamic business sector, we have room for everyone who wants to bring their ideas to life in the Philippines. Entrepreneurship gives everyone the chance to build something to call their own and with so much passion and and available talent, the possibilities are endless.
Look at all the startups already taking shape!
“Philippine entrepreneurship: It’s only natural”
Rina Malonzo and Trina dela Rama, co-founders of PortfolioMNL
The Philippines is brewing the perfect storm. We have an army of talent: programmers, app and game developers, designers, animators, and more. Our community of local incubation programs and venture capitalists grows exponentially within a tech-savvy nation that’s hungry for more. Take all these factors and you’ve got a natural breeding ground for great ideas and innovation.
“Empowered and connected nation: your partner in innovation”
Jonha Revesencio, rebel wizard at RebelMouse
Beyond the world renowned beaches, Philippines is home to over 90 million people – a connected, empowered, mostly young, and thriving population ready to partner up with entrepreneurs in moving their business forward.
The country is getting poised to become Asia’ s rising tiger and creating an environment conducive to growing businesses, opening opportunities for disruption and incubation. Plus it has the largest English-speaking online market in East Asia, the seventh fastest internet growth rate, and the seventeenth largest smartphone subscriber population worldwide.
Hence, the Philippines provides the perfect ground for entrepreneurs to see opportunities, find partners to make business ideas happen and immediately find an easily trainable workforce to make complete the cycle. The country is equipped with a cost efficient, young, skilled and thriving workforce that’s quickly becoming every entrepreneur’s concrete alliance to moving their business forward.
“Innovation for impact”
Earl Valencia, president at IdeaSpace Foundation
What we want is for our innovators to tackle the hardest problems in the country and the world. Our startups care about what they do and why they do it. In the end, it’s how many lives your startup improves.
Vince Golangco, co-founder and publisher of WhenInManila
Being a digital entrepreneur in the Philippines is something very possible because of sheer numbers. There are two aspects: first, there are more people here in terms of social media users who can quickly grow your fan base and followership. A big group of loyal customers online can be a great start for your brand.
Second, the number of talented, creative, and hardworking people in this country makes building a business here so much easier. And, as the saying goes, it’s more fun in the Philippines.
“Changing the world, one Pinoy startup at a time”
Mitch Padua, vice president and head for digital content of Voyager Innovations
Entrepreneurship is all about passion and hard work aimed at creating meaningful change. In an emerging market like the Philippines, there are so many opportunities to seek out and gaps to fill as we enter an extraordinary era where we have a chance to shape the future.
“Asia’s premier online playground”
Subir Lohani, managing director of Carmudi Philippines
The Philippines has become every digital entrepreneur’s Disneyland. With a tech-savvy market that has economic and internet growth rates which first world countries can only dream of, ideas are jumping out of every corner. The openness of the Filipino people is nothing but alluring for the entrepreneur who wants to revolutionize the online industry without limits.
“Philippines is where the Filipino is not just behind the scenes”
Carlo Calimon and Francis Uy, co-founders of MobKard
We all know that Filipinos can be among the most shy people. But it does not mean that we necessarily take the back seat all the time. We are at the forefront of many great things, such as tourism, technology, progress, outsourcing, healthcare. In fact, if you think about it, we are actually very much at the forefront of everything. So watch out for the Philippines.
“Create the future with an ecosystem of innovative, empathetic, and socially-driven entrepreneurs”
Andy Rapista, co-founder of Watson Institute
The Philippines, especially its youth, has so much untapped potential. Hyper globalization underlines the urgency with which the Philippines needs to keep up with the rest of the world in today’s highly competitive tech space. Now, examine the potential for innovation – these circumstances present a multitude of opportunities to reshape aspects of the tech industry and pioneer programs such as accelerators for entrepreneurs and grow the future leaders in the country and global tech industry.
A recent article by Bloomberg Businessweek named the Philippines a top six country in terms of exporting tech talent. Imagine being able to cultivate that talent here, where the market is at the cusp of a technological boom. Plus, culturally, the people are innovative and empathetic. You get to invest in the growth of the country and have a global reach, all while enjoying the Philippine beaches, mountains, and sun.Editing by Steven Millward