Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014
MANILA, Philippines–Many people dream of quitting their day jobs one day and putting up their own business. Becoming a successful entrepreneur is one sure way to achieve financial freedom because you don’t only get to enjoy the financial benefits of having your own source of income, but also the freedom to enjoy your own time.
What does it take to become a successful entrepreneur? Unless you are the child of the owner (COO) who will inherit the business from your family, you need to have the passion and determination to start your own business from scratch. More than having the right education, you must be willing to take risks, accept failures and face the challenges of overcoming adversities in putting up a new venture.
Everyone has the potential to become an entrepreneur. Given the right support and encouragement, anyone with a strong desire to succeed can create, innovate and turn business ideas into reality. Such is the ‘can do’ culture that the world’s largest celebration of entrepreneurship, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), is promoting among the young people of today. This week’s celebration aims to inspire and teach people to start a business by themselves through a series of seminars and competitions.
This year’s GEW is expected to attract more than six million participants from all over the world to attend 30,000 events and activities organized by more than 9,000 partners from different countries.
The Philippines is proud to be one of the 140 countries that will be celebrating the GEW this year. This national campaign is made possible through the initiatives of the Young Entrepreneurs Society (YES), the official country host of the GEW.
Last year, the successful launch of GEW by YES has earned the Philippines nomination to the Rookie of the Year award. YES also was nominated to the Host of the Year award, which is given by fellow hosts for exemplifying the best of the spirit of GEW.
One of the highlights of this year’s GEW is the introduction of the Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI), which measures the quality of entrepreneurship in a country. The index is based on three factors that determine the level of entrepreneurship, namely attitudes, aspirations and activities. The index assumes that as the score increases, the more developed the ecosystem becomes, resulting to higher entrepreneurial activities, which help increase GDP growth.
Based on the latest GEI world ranking of 130 countries, the Philippines ranked 95th with an overall index score of 27.7. The highest-ranked country was the United States with a score of 85 while the lowest was Bangladesh with a score of 14.4.
While this ranking may look relatively low for the Philippines, it is already an improvement from previous index score of 17. The improvement could have been bigger if not for the two bottlenecks, described as the weakest links by the GEI research, that are slowing down the development of an entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country: slow absorption of new technology and lack of risk capital.
Imagine if there will be more capital available to our local startups with faster Internet and better infrastructure, the market for new technologies such as mobile apps and other applications will expand as business opportunities increase.
Despite this drawback, it is encouraging to note that product innovation came out as the strongest link in the country, according to GEI research. This brings hope of increased productivity and hopefully attracts capital not only domestically but also internationally.
As featured events of the GEW campaign, YES hosted several international startup competitions this year and has chosen the most innovative startups to represent the Philippines for the global championship.
Pickld, a local app where you can create and share the story of your life up to eight important moments per day with the choice of your mood, is representing the Philippines in the world championship at the Creative Business Cup in Copenhagen, Denmark. Creative Business Cup is the most prestigious business concept competition for creative entrepreneurs in the world.
Another local startup, Sustainable Alternative Lighting Corp ,or SALt, is representing the Philippines to the grand finals at the Startup Nations Competition in Seoul, Korea, next week. SALt invented an ecological lamp that produces an efficient lighting system using only tap water and table salt. This innovation aims to help bring an alternative lighting to Filipino households especially 20 percent of the population who still rely on lamps or candles as their main source of lighting.
Other local startups such as FlipTrip, an online travel platform, represented the Philippines in the regional championship of Get in the Ring Olympics, a pitching competition for startups based in the Netherlands while NDFY.me, an online platform for independent Filipino music, will represent the Philippines to the World Startup Cup next year in the US.
The participation of the Philippines in all these global competitions underscores the ability of the Filipino entrepreneur to innovate. Let’s hope that through GEW, our local startups will not only bring honor to the country but produce world-class entrepreneurs in the future.
Our GEW campaign this year will not be possible without the support of our key partners such as Ideaspace led by Earl Valencia, Freelancer.ph led by Jorge Azurin, Mediamcom led by David Abrenilla, British Embassy led by Deputy Ambassador Trevor Lewis, US Embassy led by Ecaterina Marshall, YES Eneda led by Eunice Areola and YES National Student Organization led by Juan Paolo de Vega.
GEW is more than just a national entrepreneurship campaign. It is a venue for everyone to share a common platform to build global community of entrepreneurs.
Be part of the GEW. Attend at least one GEW-endorsed event this week and learn new things about entrepreneurship. To get the list of events that you can join, visit ph.gew.com
Henry Ong is a director of Young Entrepreneur Society (YES), the official host of the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in the Philippines.