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Building a Culture of Entrepreneurship in the Philippines

Few weeks ago, out of nowhere I posted this status below on Facebook. I tagged influential entities in the name of entrepreneurship in the Philippines to ask for their thoughts. They are comprised of a coworking space, a magazine about entrepreneurship, a group that conducts pitch sessions and a few ongoing mentorship programs for entrepreneurs but guess what, NO ONE replied. I wonder why. I know deep inside my heart I have a point. Really it is hard to be noticed when you’re just as small as a tiny leaf surrounded by gigantic ships floating in the ocean. You’ll have to strive to be known first before they hear you talking. And who does not believe when I say that  we Filipinos have this mindset we follow since birth in chronological order: get a college degree then work in your 8-5 dream corporate job… exactly what I thought as well. But then everything changed when I came across this word “entrepreneurship” last year.

What is entrepreneurship according to Wikipedia?

Entrepreneurship - comes from the French verb 'entreprendre' which means 'To undertake,' is the act and art of being an entrepreneur or one who undertakes innovations or introducing new things, finance and business acumen in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods. This may result in new organizations or may be part of revitalizing mature organizations in response to a perceived opportunity. The most obvious form of entrepreneurship is that of starting new businesses (referred as Startup Company).

This is one of the reasons why I struggle to change where I am now. I am working in a seven year old job that gives me a good salary but I was doing the same crap every day. I sleep and wake up doing the same thing at the same time. The environment where I thrive gave me a comfort zone that I hardly feel thrilled, challenged or doubted. I realized that I am not anymore learning from the people I used to be with. I feel literally stagnant. Then came these entrepreneurs I met along the way. Their stories thrilled me to be one of them, challenged me to go beyond what I only know I can and gave me the inspiration to prove to those who doubted me that I can do better too!

Location independent.
I am longing for a job that I can even do in my pajamas, the next day in a coffee shop with a client or giving a talk to the young ones inspiring them to be next. Most of all I long to be my own boss. I will work for the amount of hours I want, I decide every single thing and If there are mistakes that I have to deal with, I learn it the hard way and would probably hard for me to forget it.

Of course I am not advising anyone who is reading this to quit their job right away. This needs thorough thinking because not everyone has the lasting motivation to take the entrepreneur’s path. This involves a lot of risks. If you are not ready to fail as much as to start all over again in an instant then this corner is not for you. One can start reflecting what are the things he/she has passion for then how can this be shared to others. Doing freelance and part- timing are the best steps in “testing the waters”. According to Jay Bernardo, professor at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business interviewed in Entrepreneur Magazine PH:

“The use of digital tools will create more entrepreneurs than ever imagined – not only entrepreneurs in big business, but more self-made entrepreneurs using the tools that they have. Everyone has the tools now – anybody can learn how to become a photographer, tutor online and learn app creation”.

And who else has not even heard, seen or read about our country’s getting better economic status? If someone raises a hand, this person may be living under the rocks! It is projected that the Philippines will hit its peak economic growth next year. A country’s stable economic status means a good reason to start a business.

I am dreaming of more meetups of aspiring and inspiring entrepreneurs in reality not online for more realistic connections. It does not need to be as bongga in a posh hotel or a formal event lead by a popular entrepreneur in the city. All it takes are those from different career backgrounds who share the same passion for possible collaboration and a chance to talk what they do and get each other’s feedback.

And speaking of how to pitch, I am dreaming of a gathering say Pitch Me 101 class that is solely about the basics of pitching. Because when one goes in front of investors to pitch for an idea he/she worked his/ her “entire” life for, it is once-in-a-lifetime chance! Sure you can pitch the same idea again but if you can
get their nod the first try why not? If we have a class for public presentation then why not have one for pitching sessions? If you know anyone who can help me make this a reality, please contact me!

Having said all of these, If you own a startup company, a budding entrepreneur or a business advocate in building a culture of entrepreneurship in the country, you are very much welcome to share your story, projects or events here. There will be one more reason for a mom or a dad not to go overseas to work. In this way, oen by one these people will be “brainwashed” just the way I am totally now.

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