MOA Opens Doors To Tech-Enabled Entrepreneurship

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (JGL) — A group of Filipinos having a first-hand look at what makes the Silicon Valley in California the center of digital universe is now a possibility, thanks to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. Friday between the US-Philippine Society (US-PHS) and the Silicon Valley Science and Technology Council (STAC).

The technology-transfer immersion program will include workshops that will spur growth and leadership training that will form the backbone of technology-enabled entrepreneurship program.

The MOA was signed by US-PHS Executive Director Hank Hendrickson and Christina Laskowski, STAC President and witnessed by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., Christina Le of the U.S. Department of State, US-PHS President John Maisto, and other Embassy officials.

The pilot project of the MOA will involve the winners of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company’s (PLDT) SMART SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) Nation “BeTheBoss” 2015 competition that will promote high-tech exchanges.

The PLDT-SME Nation program was initiated by US-PHS Co-chair Manuel V. Pangilinan to promote private sector-based Philippines-US cooperation in the area of high-tech education, business entrepreneurship, and opportunities to expand bilateral trade.

#BeTheBoss AWARD

The PLDT Smart SME Nation, in collaboration with Rappler, had launched the very first #BeTheBoss Awards, using social media to undertake a crowd-sourced search aimed at recognizing the next generation entrepreneurs at the frontiers of the information and communications technology revolution.

There were over 500 nominations from across the Philippines who joined the project. Public voting narrowed down to the 15 finalists selected in a rigorous panel process that identified three finalists in each of five categories: 1) E-Commerce; 2) Social Media; 3) Customer Service; 4) Social Responsibility, and 5) Mobile Readiness. Five entrepreneurs were awarded as new Bosses on #BeTheBoss Awards night on Oct. 28 at the Bonifacio Global City in the Philippines. Each of the five winners was recognized for pioneering efforts in modern technology.

This program emphasizes the significance of high tech education and entrepreneurship, which is consistent with the priorities of the 21 APEC Economies to promote MSME growth, generate employment and business opportunities. These priorities will be important features during the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Manila to be attended by APEC leaders including President Barack Obama.

In her remarks at the ceremony, Le lauded the project as “another demonstration of the strong bilateral relationship of the United States with the Philippines.” Ambassador Maisto characterized the program as exciting and modern, especially since it involved young entrepreneurs.

Laskowski expressed a strong sense of optimism and excitement about the program noting the “very healthy eco-system for investors and entrepreneurs” that now exists in the Philippines under the Aquino Administration. She also noted that such eco-system benefits not only the MSMEs that are active economic participants, but also the communities around them. “Technology-enabled entrepreneurship is also women empowering,” she added.

In his remarks during the signing ceremony, Ambassador Cuisia expressed the hope that “this institutional relationship that we have witnessed sealed this afternoon will result in projects that will allow the young men and women of our two great nations to learn from each other and unleash their collective creativity and entrepreneurship with a view to more productivity and competitiveness in the global market place. For truly, in this world transformed, the only limits to the creativity of our people, especially the young, are their imaginations.”

The US-Philippines Society is a 501c3 non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization that aims to broaden and expand interaction and understanding through basic research and/or applied research in the areas of security, trade, investments, tourism, the environment, history, education and culture between the United States and the Philippines which would benefit the American public and the people of the Philippines.

The Silicon Valley Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) is an organization of professionals with expertise in important areas of science and technology, and which provides strategic advisory assistance to the Philippines and United States, and promotes global holistic entrepreneurship.


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