TechIsland 3.0 Bids Entrepreneurs to Challenge, Change, Conquer
PLDT Smart SME Nation’s annual convention empowers MSMEs to leverage the power of digital.
The key to economic growth in the Philippines rests heavily upon micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which comprise 99.6 percent of all businesses registered in the country. Only a small slice of that, however, leverages on the power of digital to invigorate and drive their businesses. That’s something that TechIsland 3.0 seeks to rectify.
On its third year, TechIsland is an initiative by PLDT Smart SME Nation that seeks to open the eyes of the entrepreneur to the potentials of harnessing the power of digital tools and platforms for business use, technologies that can help MSMEs grow their markets, reach more customers, empower their business processes, and, ultimately, become more profitable. By helping usher more of these businesses into the digital age, TechIsland hopes for a healthy and sustainable economic growth for the country.
The stage was set last April 22 at the Harbour Tent of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila to bring together representatives of over 1400 SMEs to listen to and interact with the country’s most dynamic leaders in the ICT field. This would mark the first time that TechIsland would be open to the general public, instead of a strictly invitational affair.
With the battlecry of “Challenge, change and conquer,” the plenary session was opened by Eric R. Alberto, PLDT EVP, Head of Enterprise and International and Carrier Business (EICB) and ePLDT CEO, who introduced the key speakers of the event. Alberto emphasized that PLDT has evolved from being a long distance telephone provider and is now well on its way to becoming the biggest tech company in the country.
First guest speaker was Winston Damarillo, PLDT’s Chief Strategy Officer and CEO of the PLDT Group’s big data arm, Talas. Damarillo presented MarketBuilder, a marketing tool that harnesses big data to let businesses connect to their customers in a more relevant way. The solution drills deep into customer demographics, behavior and geolocation to deliver a message to the people who would be most responsive.
Speaking about Hard Sell versus “Heart Sell” was advertising industry icon Merlee Jayme. Jayme is the Chairman – make that “Chairmom” – and CEO of advertising agency DENTSU Jayme Syfu. Jayme spoke about how technology and innovation can help create messages that speak to the heart and provide genuine relevance to the lives of everyday people. Brand purpose, she says, should inspire a company’s digital moves.
Laurence Cua, General Manager of Uber Philippines took to the stage talking about how traffic was costing the Philippine economy some PhP2.4 billion per day, a problem that can be mitigated by getting more cars and drivers off the road. Uber presents itself as a solution that gets more cars and drivers off the road, allowing its users to reclaim lost productivity and time instead of being stuck in traffic.
Representing Facebook Philippines was its Interim Country Director and Group Director of Global Marketing Solutions Alfredo Tan. Tan spoke about the power of discovery in a feed economy and the importance of a message to have “thumbstopping” power. He also stressed the importance of mobile in today’s app-centric digital landscape.
Following the morning plenary, the afternoon’s breakout sessions were divided into four tracks, targeting specific roles in an organization. This would be the first time that the convention went beyond speaking to an organization’s IT practitioners and be inclusive of other departments. Each track would be powered by digital business solutions presented by PLDT Smart SME Nation and its partners.
The Captain track included CEOs and owners, with speakers giving a more macro perspective on digital strategies. The Navigator track focused on marketers, highlighting digital trends and effective cases of marketing activations. The Trader sessions spoke to people in finance and procurement, including talks on new fintech solutions. The Engineer sessions dealt with the realities of software security in a threat-filled landscape.
To celebrate and cap the event, TechIsland 3.0 culminated in a convention party, which allowed its delegates and speakers to mingle with each other and network against a backdrop of entertainment and festivity. Nothing like a good send-off to the entrepreneurs with newfound tools and knowledge to grow and empower their businesses.
While this year’s TechIsland has officially come to a close, the new directions it has presented to MSME entrepreneurs means that the actual work is just starting. As more micro, small and medium enterprises take their business digital, PLDT Smart SME Nation will continue to help nurture and support what is the undisputed backbone of the country’s economy, a noble effort and tradition that wants to see this country’s businesses truly challenge, change and conquer.
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