Digitalization of MSMEs

PHOTO CAPTION: Eric Alberto, chief revenue officer of PLDT and Smart; Orlando Vea, president and CEO of Voyager Innovations; Manny Pangilinan, chairman and CEO of PLDT; Dindo Marzan, managing director and vice president of Voyager Innovations; presidential adviser for entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion; and Lito Villanueva, managing director of FINTQ.

I was recently invited by FINTQ, PLDT’s financial technology arm, to their FINTQ on Q which is a roundtable series with thought leaders where I discussed digitalization of MSMEs.

We are indeed in the world of smart phones and digital advancement. I was relating to the audience how our house maids are all on their phones during the evening and would hardly wake up the next morning. Yes, smart phones are now vital in our everyday lives. Our phones are more attached to us. My kids used to have desktops, then had laptops. Now, they’re on their smartphones all the time. Our lifestyle has changed extremely.

Most of the large corporations which started as offline businesses are now somehow challenged because they are disrupted. Many of the modern companies today started online. This only proves that we are really evolving. There are advantages and disadvantages that we all must adjust to.

In the next few years, I believe the Philippines will have a large contribution to global digitalization. Our entrepreneurs now want to be players in the online space. This is why I am a believer that the way forward for many micro and small entrepreneurs is to go and participate in the growing digital economy. They will just have to be mentored to maximize their money and market opportunities.

That is why I commend FINTQ for opening DigiHub, which is a great venue for mentorship. With the digital solutions available, small entrepreneurs will have to be mentored for them to scale up in the online market. In the end, we can mentor everyone, but it will be useless without money to grow their business and a market to sell their products. I am glad that many banks and corporations are willing to create programs for the MSMEs.

Bossing Awards officially launched by PLDT chairman and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan together with Jovy Hernandez, SVP and head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups; Bossing Roberto Claudio of Toby’s Sports; Eric Alberto, chief revenue officer of PLDT and Smart and president and CEO of ePLDT; Bossing Bernie Liu of Golden ABC; Bossing and presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion; Bossing Tony Tan Caktiong of Jollibee Foods Corp.; and Mitch Locsin, head of PLDT SME Nation. 

Lito Villanueva, FINTQ’s managing director, also announced that FINTQ is partnering with financial institutions for agri-financing, including digital lending in the curriculum for Go Negosyo’s agri-mentoring program. Mentoring the Mentors is also key in encouraging MSMEs and guiding in the digitization process through a mobile-based platform by bringing in the digital icons and best practices. I am glad FINTQ can further collaborate with all players in the Go Negosyo ecosystem to progress with the mindset and their organizations to go digital all the way.

Additionally, our long-time partner in the advocacy, PLDT, officially launched the search for the next batch of MVP Bossings. I remember that I was part of the initial batch of the MVP Bossings who are entrepreneurs who have triumphed in their businesses and have become an inspiration to other entrepreneurs.  For the past few years, PLDT SME Nation, PLDT’s arm for MSME development, has recognized over 100 MVP Bossings including Felix Ang, Vicki Belo, Tennyson Chen, Julie Gandionco, Injap Sia, Dennis Uy, Tony Tan Caktiong, among others.

The MVP Bossings recognizes the accomplished owners of micro, small and medium enterprises in celebration of the Filipino entrepreneurial spirit. This year’s event will coincide with the 90th and 10th anniversary celebrations of PLDT Inc. and PLDT SME Nation, respectively, which will make the celebration more special. They will also include two new special awards for Excellence in Local Government and Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility to be given this year.

As Jovy Hernandez, SVP and head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups, said, these Bossings are “a testament to the endless possibilities local entrepreneurs can achieve if they continue to be fearless in pursuing their ideas – no matter how impossible they think it is.”

During my speech, I shared the importance of the 3MS: Mentorship, Money and Market. I also related how important it is for entrepreneurs to go digital and be more technologically innovative in order to further scale up. “We are moving from offline to online. It may be a disruptor to some of us in the offline industry, but (online)paves the way for our micro and small entrepreneurs to create their own destiny.”

I also added, “I don’t think offline will completely disappear. I think it will be complimentary to online. But we need these two to be able to help our micro and small entrepreneurs.”

With these players, both PLDT, FINTQ and the other organizations who can help our micro and small entrepreneurs scale up by going digital, we are assured that there will be a brighter future for our country.