• SMEs: PH economic driving force

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    The country’s two major telecommunication companies believe that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the country’s economic driving force, and they have been developing products and services to support their growth.

    Globe myBusiness and Google have teamed up to help Filipino SMEs to grow via the first Philippine digital marketing convention for SMEs dubbed as “DigPH.”

    PLDT SME Nation also opened Tech Island 2.0 to nurture and bring about a new generation of globally competitive Filipino entrepreneurs, providing them easy-to-use Information and Technology tools.

    As of January 2015, the 100.8 million population is 49 percent urbanized with 44.2 million active Internet users, 40 million have active social media accounts, 114.6 million have mobile connections or about 114 percent versus the population, and 32 million have active social accounts.

    “The 3 billion online users worldwide is a potential market, this is the new market place, the new economy. Digital business is now the new normal, it has no traditional geographical boundaries, and it is happening as we speak and it is happening in a real time,” Kat Luna-Abelarde, PLDT First Vice President and Head of SME Nation told reporters.

    “Now in order to try and survive today’s hyper competitive market place, our SMEs need to transform in fundamental ways. First they have to adopt a global mindset, and that global mindset should take into consideration expanding and conquering of new territories. Next they must embrace transformation by revisiting, reviewing and questioning with current business model that go to market strategies.”

    Abelarde said when traditional entrepreneurs talk about expansion “it is all about brick and mortars expansions and that is not only costly, but it takes a lot of time, so it takes cost, time and effort in terms of actual cash. Lastly and it is very critical, an adoption of technology must be made, this is what will gave them, the Philippine edge, and allow them to be enabled by the tools and solutions which were previously only available to larger corporations.”

    Fast-growing digital
    The Philippines’ fast-growing digital, social and mobile users definitely create unprecedented opportunities for the 800,000 strong small and medium enterprise (SME) market segment.

    PLDT SME Nation said the challenge is how SMEs can efficiently tap and engage this community. Today, there are over 34 million Facebook users, over 10 million Twitter followers and with over 44 million Filipino Internet users and counting.

    PLDT SME Nation have entered into partnership with Samsung and Microsoft Philippines to create innovative business solutions that will enable entrepreneurs to run their business better, grow faster, be more globally competitive and engage with the country’s digital, social and mobile population.

    With the physical and digital world integrating more and more each day, part and parcel of business maturity is the presence of a digital outlet. Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs), however, are still asking the question: how do we create an online presence that is both engaging and informative?

    To support SMEs and strengthen their presence in the digital world, PLDT SME Nation has constantly created ways to reach the online audience through innovative products and suites. Strengthening this commitment, PLDT SME Nation opened Tech Island 2.0, a two-day event that exposed SMEs to the ideas of industry experts and connect them with like-minded people from all over the country.

    Martha Sazon, Globe Senior Vice President for myBusiness, said: “Globe believes that SMEs are the country’s economic driving force. That’s why we continuously develop products and services crucial to their growth and sustainability.”

    “Through DigPH, we’re giving business owners another innovative way to do business more easily. We’re providing insights into effective digital marketing strategies that will allow them to reach to new customers.”

    Globe said that DigPH aims to bridge the gap between consumers and SME brands by equipping business with the know-how to reach their target market through digital marketing.

    Google and Globe myBusiness together with Globe Digital Advertising (AdSpark), came up with DigPH in response to recent research showing the overwhelming desire of SMEs to adopt smarter and more affordable marketing strategies to increase sales and customer engagement.

    For a typical Filipino SME owner, marketing remains a challenge due to tight budgets and a lack of information. While digital marketing is a compelling channel to engage customers, many business owners do not know where to start and how to maximize the returns on their investment.

    On the other hand, Filipino consumers love using the web for both work and play. On any given day they turn to the web to shop, watch movies, listen to music, do research, or catch up with friends on a whole host of devices.

    In the Philippines about 99.6 percent of registered firm is composed of SMEs, about 65 percent of the country’s labor force id from SMEs and 32 percent of the Philippines Gross Domestic Product is from SMEs.

    “Today, technology is more than ever the SMEs greatest equalizer. This is a greater weapon towards sustainable profitability and, throughout this digital transformation, PLDT would be a strong and dependable partner for growth. In fact, when you think digital, think PLDT,” Abelarde said.

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