Jumpstart digitization to meet evolving customers needs, MSMEs told

More entrepreneurs are encouraged to jumpstart their digitization to meet the evolving needs of the customers today and thrive during the pandemic even across borders.

Carlo Calimon, president and co-founder of one-stop startup enabler Startup Village, said behaviors and attitudes of customers, local or foreign, have changed amid innovation and disruptive technologies.

“This is precisely why we have to think about adapting to the changing world or pivoting our businesses, to the new norm, to the new world, to the new things that technology disruption has brought us otherwise, our business would perish,” he said in a webinar.

Calimon said businesses will become irrelevant if they do not evolve with the changing times, and understand the changes ahead and recognize their benefits to them.

“With all of the things around us from the basics such as your refrigerator, your washing machine, your car, your mobile phone, your ballpen– all of these (are) becoming more intelligent than (they were) 10 to 15 years ago. Things are becoming smarter and smarter and better and better because of innovation and disruptive technology,” he added.

Calimon said Project Match, www:projectmatch.ph, is a marketplace and resource platform that helps in the digitization of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by linking them to startups who provide the much needed digital solutions and technology.

“You will find startups but then help you expand your reach from a global perspective, expand your reach to help you develop more customers but also provide you with different options in terms of solutions that can help make things easier or make things more efficient for your company as you are operating,” he said.

In the Project Match, both MSMEs and startups can access learning resources where they gain knowledge and guidance through learning materials/ resources and mentorship that is needed to drive the matching process.

To further augment this, access to finance is included as well to provide means for MSMEs to finance their growth.

“We all understand that as you grow, you will need additional resources and this is why part of the platform is an access to finance section where you will find banks, angel investors, crowdfunding platforms, and the like where you can access the different financial instruments and tools that can help you and help connect you to the resources that you need to grow your respective businesses further,” Calimon added.

Rene Vincent Torralba Jr., president and chief executive officer at MVENT Philippines Inc., said businesses are all struggling with the impacts of Covid-19 worldwide.

“There are urgent challenges and we must move quickly, adapt, and pivot,” he said.

Torralba said Google can help businesses grow globally.

“Today’s consumers are online and they are international. As long as you have an internet connection, the world is your marketplace. Cross borders ecommerce has remained strong even amid the global pandemic and more and more new customers are coming online,” he added.

Torralba said entrepreneurs should develop a specific strategy for each market they intend to export to.

“You have to localize your website, you need to have a website of course so your international customers can see what it is that you are offering. So, for them to view it properly, you need to localize it to ensure that your website supports local payment methods,” he said.

Torralba said Google has released My Export Score, a free tool that one can use to assess his businesses export capabilities.

“Your competitive position score reflects your export readiness relative to your competitors. Your operational ability, this score assesses practical factor such as localization, payment fit, logistics, among others. And your marketing performance score shows how well your marketing campaigns are teaching and reaching the right international audience,” he added.

Moreover, Torralba said Google’s Market Finder uses consumer insights to help simplify export journeys into three simple steps –identify potential markets for particular products and services, set-up export operations, and market businesses abroad.

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