The small and medium enterprise (SME) unit of telecom firm Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) has partnered with entrepreneurial groups in launching a “marketplace app” that will serve as a unified networking portal for businesswomen in the country.
PLDT SME Nation — in partnership with PLDT Smart Foundation, Business and Professional Women (BPW) Makati and IBM Philippines — has launched the GREAT Women ICT platform this month in recognition of Women’s Month.
The GREAT Women ICT platform is a mobile application readily downloadable on iTunes store or Google Play that will enable members of women entrepreneurial groups to be connected and to fully utilize technological advances to be able to grow their businesses. The name of the app stands for Gender Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women.
“About 90 percent of SMEs are led by women. The GREAT Women ICT platform will be economically empowering women entrepreneurs because it can be a portal for business matching — to exchange goods and services, education, training, seminars and marketing between their businesses,” Corrine Zunk-Zablan, head of Smart Community Engagement Services, told reporters on the sidelines of the app’s launch on Thursday.
“It’s really a tool or platform that is a marketplace for businesses of women in different sectors,” she said.
Zunk-Zablan said the app will serve as the “LinkedIn and Facebook” for member-women entrepreneurs.
Jeannie Javelosa, president of BPW Makati, said the platform will benefit not only their organization but also others as the partnership continues to seek “as many women organizations as we can.”
BPW is an organization of women entrepreneurs built last year with about 55 to 60 entrepreneur-members at present. Javelosa said they hope to be able to draw “younger ones” into the circle with the help of the app.
Women entrepreneurs who are members of partner organizations may sign up for the portal via referrals from PLDT and its partners. In the long term, the partnership is aiming to expand the industry and professional groupings via online platforms where women can nurture and grow each other’s businesses and build a supply chain specific to their businesses’ needs.
Started in 2006, the GREAT Women program is a fusion of local government agencies, women’s groups, and private sector groups that aim to improve local business policies, projects and services for women in business.