Insights on Start-ups, Financial Inclusion and MSMEs from Jojo Flores

April 19th, 2017

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Jojo Flores is one of the top influencers in the Philippine start-up community. On April 28, 2017, he will be joining Dr. Aristotle Alip, Founder and Managing Director of CARD-MRI, Landbank President and CEO Alex Bueneventura, and Dr. Raymond Kwong from Malaysia, the CEO and Managing Director of Silverlake Axis Group of Companies, in a panel discussion about financial inclusion for micro, small and medium enterprises at the Prosperity for All Summit.

Jojo Flores has earned his clout in the local start-up community as Co-Founder of Launchgarage, a tech-focused start-up innovation hub and incubator that is home to the likes of Medifi, Tralulu and Taxumo. Internationally, he is also known as the Co-Founder and Vice President of Plug and Play Technology Center, the world’s largest start-up accelerator based in the mecca of innovation— Silicon Valley. In just a little over a decade since its inception, Plug and Play Technologies has raised in excess of $2.2 billion USD.

Flores’ extensive knowledge on start-ups, incubation and funding, is integral to facilitating the discussion of improving the funding mechanisms for start-ups in the region.

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“We currently face a market gap between startups and traditional funding institutions in the Philippines.  With the absence of credit history and collateral, startups encounter challenges in raising money or loans from banks.  Further, it is common that financial institutions don’t fully understand disruptive technologies.  Thus, banks need to educate themselves in exploiting this opportunity,” Flores shared.

Flores also observes that the main challenge for ASEAN regulations being set-up for start-up funding is “[alighting] taxes and [providing] incentives between the ASEAN nations.”  He cites Singapore as the hotspot for start-ups and new funds because of its friendlier terms, ease of doing business, and exits.

Looking forward, Flores sees a positive outlook for the future of financing when it comes to start-ups. “There are a number of opportunities, but one that is popular and trending now is in the area of block chain technology.  There are great potentials for better economics and security, not only for MSMEs but also for their target markets.”

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The Prosperity for All Summit is organized by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, headed by its current Chair and the Philippine Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion. The summit is a a one-day event focused on “Driving growth through micro and small entrepreneurs in Trade, Services and Agriculture”, and will be held in the City of Dreams, Manila, Philippines on April 28, 2017.

The summit is expected to be a gathering of enablers from both the private and public sectors in view of MSME development. It will also be the initial meeting to lay out the blueprint for the ASEAN Business Advisory Council’s regional mentorship program, AMEN, and an avenue for leaders and heads of states to share their plans on achieving inclusive growth and prosperity not only in their own respective countries, but also in the region, collectively.