Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which employ nearly all of South East Asia’s domestic workforce took center stage yesterday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) SME Summit at the Green Sun Hotel in Makati. Prominent businessmen here and abroad were in attendance as various speakers shared their life stories and secrets centering on the theme “Innovation and Big Ideas: Pushing Boundaries.” Giving the keynote address was President Noynoy Aquino himself who encouraged the SME’s to continue what they have done to bring progress to the country. Here are the speakers of the conference.

President, Asia Society
“The Megatrends that are driving 
new consumer Demands”

Josette shared that individuals can now be a forece since people can create things to power the world. She also mentioned that opportunities are coming in ways not predicted in the past so we better be ready for those opportunities.

Chief Advisor and Board of Director, UBER
"UBER’s response to new consumer demands"

From simply providing a vehicle for friends to providing the people around the world with a ride, David Ploufee shares the story of Uber. David singles out the Philippines as the first country to put up regulations on Uber.

CEO, Air Asia
“Air Asia’s response to
New Consumer Demands

Tony was all about branding. From the time he gave his first joke about being low-cost to the time he gave out free tickets to someone asking a question, Tony stressed that branding is very important for Air Asia. That is one of the reasons why Air Asia is the first low-cost carrier to be nominated and awarded as Asia’s Leading Cabin crew at the World Travel Awards. Tony also inspired the businessmen by saying that "Business is Business!" He shared that he never had any experience in the aviation industry but that did not stop him from doing the impossible and as he put the importance in caring for the employees of Air Asia above anything else.

Founder and CEO,
“Building a caring and sharing economy

Sheila's story is inspiring! Inspired by the challenge of finding care for her children and ailing parents, Shiela founded in 2006. Today, this public company is the World's largest online care destination with millions of members in 16 countries.

Founder, Barefoot College
Innovative, Inclusive Education for all

Sanjit quotes Alvin Toffler. “The illiterate will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”  From that quote he laid down the foundation of Barefoot College in 1972 and his intention was to establish a place of learning and unlearning where the teacher is the learner and the learner is the teacher.

Managing Partner, Tallwood Venture Capital
"Inspiring story of Innovation and Creation"

From his humble beginnings coming from a poor family in a small barrio in Cagayan to his success in the US, Dado Banatao’s story is an inspiration to all. He mentioned that he really enjoyed challenging himself especially when he designed what we now call semi-conductors. His innovations make up about 30% of every computer in the world today.

Co-founder and President, Thumbtack
“Connecting People in the Global Marketplace

What was surprising for Jonathan and his team was that they found out that the best proofreader they hired was a Filipina who was even better than the Americans when it comes to the English language. They took their innovations, reached greater heights and hired a lot of Filipinos because of their incomparable talent and work ethics. Truly a very inspiring story.

CEO and Executive Editor,
“Building a Network of Relationships”

Maria Ressa has a thousand and one stories to tell about Innovation. Rappler in itself is a product of that and because of technology they were able to bring news in many different ways. Her story on Mary Jane Veloso and how Rappler changed the views of many Filipinos about her made all the difference in saving the life of Mary Jane.

President and CEO, Xurpass, Inc.
"Building a Network of Relationships"

Despite being a below average student, an Assistant Manager for a KFC branch, despite the fact that he can’t even program  a single line of code and never raised money through a venture capitalist, Nix Nolledo told his story on how he turned Pinoy Exchange into one of the country’s biggest Pinoy online community. From there he also took time to work with the Ayala group which also paved the way for him to have his own technology company that creates digital products for the mobile consumer.

Multi-awarded Journalist Karen Davila of ABS-CBN was there to provide more insights as she carefully asked her former Boss Maria Ressa and Nix Nolledo various questions on how they have survived and continue to own their field of expertise.

Co-Founer and COO, Kalibrr, Inc
“How Innovation shapes Business Visions”

As a problem solver Dexter used his strengths in workforce development and public systems to co-found Kalibrr. He said, instead of having the people look for jobs, why not have a portal for jobs to match those looking for one and with that Kalibrr was born. He said “they have to Flip the switch, make the jobseekers the heroes. Instead of them looking for jobs, we will have the jobs look for them! The high demand of skilled Filipino workers became easier because the process is now easier, thanks to Kalibrr.

Co-Founder and CEO, Simple Wearables
“How Innovation shapes Business Visions”

Angelo recounted how his parents supported him and his siblings just to be able to study in the USA.  One day his grandmother just fell down and eventually died. He said, with the technology that they have now in wearable devices, it might have saved her grandma back then. Simple Wearables is a healthcare tech startup based in Hong Kong focusing on wearable technology that provides peace of mind.

Karen Davila once again interviewing the two Fil-Americans. Question and answer of the day was "Why did you start your business in Hong Kong? Was it hard for a foreigner to do that in Hong Kong rather than in the Philippines?" Then Angelo said "Its easier in Hong Kong because in two days I got what i need unlike here!"

Director of Operations and Strategy,
Public Policy and Government Relations
For Asia-Pacific, Middle-East and Africa,
“SME and Innovation”

Google is a company that thrives on Innovation. Starting from their Search engine which organizes information to develop a better world, to their Tools that provides services to improve communications to content, mobile and Google Glass- that’s fifteen years of innovation. What Google is thinking now is what would be the next big innovative product? Barbara shared 5 forms of Innovation namely new business models, new efficiencies, new ways of marketing, new experiences and new markets.

Managing Partner, Innosight
Innovation and the Future

Simplify, Enable, Disrupt. These are just a few of the tips that Scott Anthony expounded on with regards to innovation and the future.  He then said “the best way to predict the future is to create it!”

Architect and Principal
Bhumiputra Architecture
Innovative building solutions for tomorrow’s homes

One of the more visually impressive presentations came from Alok Shetty who showed various animations of the structures that he designed. Imagine designing hospital at the age of 19, fitting a hotel, football stadium and mall in a cramped space and finding ways to transport an auditorium by innovatively fitting all elements in a cargo container. His innovative ways are quite limitless at the age of 29.

Vice- President Business Development
“Financial Inclusion via the Digital Sharing economy”

Eric just prepared for four hours since Bill Barhydt his boss had him take his place.  Eric talked about Abra which became the first global cash money transfer app. Imagine sending cash through your mobile app instead of going to the remittance centers.  Soon to be in the Philippines, sending cash from OFWs to their families is just a click away.

Co-founder and CEO, Teach for All
“Cultivating future leaders through Innovation”

Wendy said, one day, all children will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education. For Wendy, leadership is important to cultivate a good culture in education that will eventually lead to good students. We need innovative leaders in education so that students will be able to follow suit

President, Fedex Asia Pacific
“How we work: Innovating ways to connect”

Karen Reddington shows the power of Fedex and how they have touched lives by reaching even the farthest of regions to make a difference. The video Karen showed of an entrepreneur who wanted the world to taste his red pepper sauce was very powerful in showing how people from far flung areas can connect to the world.

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