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Globe’s robust tech infrastructure opens start-up opportunities

business / APEC Specials
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Globe’s robust tech infrastructure opens start-up opportunities

12:45 PM November 18, 2015

TO RAISE AWARENESS and ramp up capacity-building efforts.

This, in essence, is what International Finance Corp. development finance expert Eriko Ishikawa said the Philippines will have to do if it wanted inclusive business model to thrive.

Speaking at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation’s High-Level Dialogue on Inclusive Business, Ishikawa, along with other industry leaders and experts, have stressed the need to develop such a conducive environment for sustainable businesses and to go beyond the usual dole out of incentives, which are often dangled to entice more companies to engage in such acts.

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“The biggest thing we need to do is awareness raising. Inclusive business has to be something that all of us would think that it is the future, specifically for the younger people, the social entrepreneurs. We need to mobilize more people to think that this is the kind of work they want to do,” Ishikawa said in a press briefing.

Inclusive business, which is the latest buzzword in many recent economic fora, referred to a private sector approach of providing goods, services and livelihoods at a commercially viable basis that is scalable to people at the base of the pyramid. This happens when companies include the low income communities either to be a key part of their supply and value chains, as suppliers, distributors, retailers, or customers.

Inclusive business models

As it is, Ishikawa cited a number of successful inclusive business models that have already thrived and survived even without or with very little government intervention, such as the Kennermer Foods’ Cacao Growership Program.

“The government could stay out of the way or they can actually do a part in capacity-building, which is needed especially in the rural areas,” Ishikawa said.

Meanwhile, fellow panelist and Ayala Corp. chair Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala could not help but agree more with Ishikawa as he himself believes that a wide-scale adaptation of inclusive business models can only happen once industries have resolved to reinvent themselves.

“I am fully supportive of our participation in a forum that seeks to collectively gain new insight and encourage more participation in an important engine of inclusive growth and sustainable development,” Ayala said.

During the said dialogue, Ayala presented three themes that is expected to further spur thinking and dialogue around inclusive business. One of these themes centered on the important roles that the government and the private sector can play in promoting inclusive business as a critical solution towards sustainable development.

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“More companies must champion inclusive business models and disrupt underserved sectors in the economy. Further, it is imperative that key government agencies step in as well to implement policies that provide clear incentives supporting these business models that will help achieve critical mass in the private sector,” Ayala said.

“I believe that multiple sectors of society can do more to support inclusive growth in our areas of influence. As has been demonstrated in various commercially successful adaptations of inclusive business models, economic prosperity can only be truly sustained if this is felt across a wider segment of the population,” he added.

During the said dialogue, he shared some examples of inclusive business platforms that were based on Ayala Corp.’s own experiences at Ayala and then shared his thoughts on the initiatives the private and public sectors can do to help in make economic growth in the country more inclusive and how APEC can be an effective vehicle in helping its member economies achieve a common understanding of inclusive business models and set up policy frameworks to support this.

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Another Ayala Corp. subsidiary, Globe Telecom, has since been doing its part to create and deliver products that could help push and promote inclusive business model in the country.

As the country’s leading telecommunications company, Globe Telecom helped simplify communication technology, and has removed obstacles to improve everyday life. Its extensive range of services meets the requirements of individuals, small to medium-sized business, and corporations and enterprises alike.

By creating a robust technology infrastructure, Globe has helped open a number of opportunities especially for startup businesses. As a mobile service innovator and reliable telecom service provider, it has pioneered digital solutions that allowed even the micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) to become globally competitive. To date, Globe products and services continue to enrich the lives of over 54 million customers.

Enabler of growth

“Telco has been a huge enabler of growth in this country and the availability of robust telecommunication infrastructure is also what allowed us to have a million BPO workers here today. By connecting people on the Internet you give them access to a vast throve of information and knowledge and you provide them access to things they never had before,” said Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu.

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“Now even farmers can check and get information on how to yield more crops, even business strategies are available online. We provided connectivity that enabled people to do many things and reach new markets by conducting business online. We also increased financial inclusion through Mynt and GCash,” he added.

While Globe believes much remains to be done before the country could fully venture and reap the benefits of inclusive business, it also remains positive that given the right tools and provided with the right products, the Philippines and its MSMEs can become truly globally competitive.

Innovate and deliver

“I don’t think we are that ready in the sense that much has to be done in terms of connectivity, logistics, infrastructure and we have yet to fully adopt the concept of e-commerce and e-money but I believe that we are slowly getting there. The mindset of the people also has to change and being currently in the middle of the pack in terms of readiness for this new economy, Globe commits to continuously innovate and deliver products that could help our people be part of the inclusive business model,” Cu said.

“As the MSMEs are one of our fastest growing segments, we will deliver products and services that could give them a better chance to succeed and become enablers of the country’s economy. We likewise believe that it’s a segment still largely untapped today. Moreover with the cloud as a service, it will allow a lot of these smaller enterprises to have infra service setting capabilities that were once reserved for big companies, he further noted.

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Currently, Globe Telecom has already created and continues to create a lot of services for the MSMEs as it believes it could help propel economic growth in the country. This thrust dovetails with this year’s theme of building inclusive economies.

“We are going to have a supermarket of services that can be accessed through a portal and users can just subscribe to it. That’s what they do in advanced economies now, they just put up a site and they have a business all of a sudden. So we are really a believer that our products and the cloud can be a strong enabler to MSMEs,” Cu concluded.

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