Start-ups, MSMEs urged to adopt digital tools

Local start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are called to adopt digital tools to become competitive, as the Philippines likely is in the golden age of information.

“The key really here is looking at trends, it is probably the golden age of information. If you want to just think about trends and technologies, it is almost everywhere,” Earl Martin Valencia, founding board member and cofounder of Embiggen Consulting, said in a webinar organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

Valencia said “differentiation” is the key, and not necessarily knowledge of certain trends or technology, production, execution, and one’s ability to execute.

“Before, there is a huge difference in the information let’s say someone has in Silicon Valley or New York versus Manila or the Philippines in general, I think now that’s not the case anymore. I think this is the golden time for the Philippine technology ecosystem to then rise because there is no information asymmetry anymore. That’s one thing I’m super excited (about) and I think the next 10 years is the golden age for the country,” he added.

Russell Pili, chief science research specialist at the Department of Science and Technology-Research Information and Technology Transfer Division (DOST-RITTD), said start-ups need to know the trends in technologies, their applications, and other business models.

Pili said their exposure to international conferences is imperative so they could look at what their start-up counterparts are doing in other countries.

“Access to resources and expertise, that’s also important,” she said. “Also, skill set, this is also one of our targets because we actually acknowledge that start-ups would need upskilling and a lot of talent development more so that we could compete with start-ups in Singapore, Indonesia, and other countries,” she added.

For the MSMEs, Plug and Play Technology Center co-founder Jojo Flores said the Center is working with the PCCI to look at programs servicing the MSME sector that can be institutionalized.

Flores said there are available start-up solutions that are not very expensive.

“If I want to export, there are already existing start-ups that can immediately help you export your products by providing all the forms that you need, etc. and then having the platform in order for you to sell and export. So again, what we’re institutionalizing here is the platform with PCCI where we can bridge all of these existing start-ups with existing solutions immediately for implementation for MSMEs,” he added.

PCCI president ambassador Benedicto Yujuico said now is the golden age of the Philippines.

Yujuico said while it is good having a lot of manufacturing in the country that generates employment for more Filipinos, “we want to try to leapfrog the development of our country and this is we will be able to achieve this through innovation and technology.”

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