Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) Director Senen Perlada says that entrepreneurs will undergo digital transformation in the new normal, and so using online platforms for both local and global markets will greatly promote their businesses.

In the webinar “Global Innovation Mindset: How Filipino Entrepreneurs Can Shape the World” held in the second week of June, the panel (which Perlada was also a part of) discussed how micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) can expand their business in the international scene despite a crisis. 

The virtual event was organized by Filipino e-commerce startup Ecfulfill, whose main goal is to connect MSMEs to global e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Etsy and E-bay. Also serving as speakers in the webinar are representatives from startup incubator AIM Dado Banatao Incubator, which is now home to more than 30 startups, and Filipino-founded livestreaming application Kumu (currently with one million active users).

As these MSME and startup experts discussed in the webinar, here’s how Filipino entrepreneurs can outlast the COVID-19 pandemic:

Innovate

As Perlada puts it, “We have to innovate or we will evaporate.” He sees innovative Filipinos as the ones making up the post-pandemic industry, for whatever that may be. “We’re still on our way there. But I’m certain that with Filipino innovation, we can make the new normal a better normal,” says the DTI-EMB director.

Have a sense of community

According to Kumu’s founder Rolan Ross, businesses communicating with each other is crucial, especially if a company has to pivot or go out of business. New hires, business partnerships and investor introductions can easily be arranged provided that there’s coordination in the industry. For him, the most important thing businesses should look at in this difficult time is the sense of community.

Study the crisis

“I encourage everyone to study the crisis and the problems around them. Because these things create and define necessity. And we all know that necessity is the mother of invention. If you find yourself with a possible innovation, try and grow it with like-minded individuals. Once you hold a potential idea, dream big and take the Philippines with [you],” says AIM Dado Banatao Incubator executive director Prim Paypon.

Ask

Ecfulfill CEO Neptune Factor emphasizes that there’s no need to be afraid to ask for help—there will always be people who are willing to lend a hand. Another thing he wants entrepreneurs to remember is to love the country. “Not just love but [be proud] of what we can do, what our products are. Hindi siya basta-basta. We have very creative and innovative people,” he says.

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