Seize business opportunities amid pandemic, entrepreneurs told

Entrepreneurs are advised to exploit business opportunities here, including e-commerce deliveries, amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), or seek new overseas markets to ride out the pandemic.

Guillermo Luz, chief resilience officer of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, said most businesses are expected to go digital in the long term, faster than originally anticipated.

“I know many people are accelerating their programs to get into online businesses and e-commerce and all these, and I think that trend will continue,” Luz, also former National Competitiveness Council (NCC) private sector co-chairman, said in a webinar.

Luz particularly cited the growing businesses engaged in the fresh fruit deliveries to e-commerce deliveries, as well as logistics, during the quarantine period due to Covid-19.

“That could be an industry that could have a great future especially when people do not have the mobility to go out as much for their shopping needs. This could be a whole industry in itself that could grow. I hope after this crisis, this business grows even more,” he added.

Luz said the country is also moving into a cashless economy rather than exchanging cash through bills and currency, in a bid to arrest the spread of the coronavirus.

“I think anything digitally-enabled will help because we see sectors like retail and education and health and other businesses become more reliant on digital and telecommunications facilities. The trick here is how to build the infrastructure and make it more accessible for people,” he added.

But Luz said the biggest change in digital services happens once the government goes digital so “we will hopefully get less red tape if we can combine that with things like electronics payments for government services then, I think that (we) will walk away from this crisis in much, much better shape.”

He likewise encouraged more local manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the pandemic.

“In the matter of PPE, there’s pretty big demand and it’s gonna be continuing for several years until a vaccine (for Covid-19) is found.

“There are both medical and non-medical uses of PPE. We found that 95 percent of PPE are actually imported when local manufacturers can retool their plans to locally manufacture most of the PPE,” he added.

For his part, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PHILEXPORT) vice chairman George Barcelon called on exporters to seek other overseas markets that may be less affected by the coronavirus.

“This is a perfect storm, the sea is choppy, turbulent weather but not everybody is in the same boat. Some countries are very much better,” he said.

Barcelon identified some of these markets, including Israel, some Asean countries such as Vietnam and Thailand, and China.

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