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By Golda Kristy Tabid-Grospe / Market Innovation Division / DTI-Export Marketing Bureau

31 October 2017

Published also in Business Mirror

In Photo: The Philippine delegation with Ambassador of Israel to the Philippines Effie Ben Matityau.

THE Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is all set to conduct the Philippine Trade and Innovation Exploratory Mission to Israel from November 5 to 14.

The trade mission aims to explore prospects for Filipino exporters of food, electronics, semiconductors and information and communications technology, as well as learn from Israel’s innovation ecosystem.

Israel registered as the Philippines’s 36th-largest-export partner with a total value of $57.14 million in 2016, according to Tradeline Philippines. It was a significant jump from its 45th rank in 2015 valued at $46.23 million.

The DTI-EMB is expecting more business and investment opportunities for Filipino enterprises to open as a result of the trade mission, paving the way for further growth in Philippine exports to Israel and greater cooperation between the two countries.

The highlights of the travel itinerary are the country presentations and business-matching sessions with the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce, Haifa Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce and Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce.

At least 10 companies and business organizations are participating in the trade mission, including the Israel Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines and the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc.

Assistant Secretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba of the DTI Industry Development and Trade Policy Group, Assistant Director Agnes Perpertua R. Legaspi of DTI-EMB and Division Chief Rafaelita C. Castro of DTI-EMB Market Innovation Division will lead the Philippine delegation.

The Philippine Trade and Innovation Exploratory Mission to Israel is supported by the Embassy of the Philippines in Tel Aviv and the Embassy of Israel in Manila.

24 October 2017

Published also in Business Mirror

LOCAL exporters are invited to showcase the country’s premium export-food products in the North American region as part of the Food Philippines delegation to the 43rd edition of Winter Fancy Food Show (WFFS) from January 21 to 23, 2018, at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, California, USA.

Led by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), the Food Philippines participation next year seeks to expand the country’s market foothold in the North American mainstream market by tapping the increasing demand for specialty food products in the United States.

“WFFS is one of the major trade fairs in the US where exporters in the Philippines can showcase their unique specialty-food products and cater to the growing health-conscious consumers in the west,” Citem Executive Director Clayton Tugonon said.

Food companies that will be part of the Philippine delegation can take advantage of the business-matching activities with international buyers in WFFS 2018. Their market representatives can also participate in Citem-led export-capability program to equip them with relevant knowledge on the market trends and requirements in North America.

Organized by the Specialty Food Association, the WFFS is the US West Coast’s largest annual trade show devoted exclusively to specialty food and beverages. The event features close to 1,500 exhibitors and showcases more than 80,000 different specialty food and beverages across the globe.

Specialty foods are defined as products of the highest grade, style and quality. Their special nature is derived through the following qualities: uniqueness, origin, processing method, design, supply limit, packaging and channel of distribution.

To a high-quality product exhibit, Citem is tapping local manufacturers and exporters compliant with US’s international safety and quality regulations and requirements, such as the United States Department of Agriculture Organic, US Food and Drug Administration and other certifications.

In its participation in WFFS 2017, 20 local companies under Food Philippines secured a total of $48.73 million negotiated sales in 463 inquiries from trade buyers. With an initial target of $47 million, the country’s delegation recorded its highest sales in its four years of participation in the WFFS.

Among the country’s best-selling items in its previous participation are premium rice and tuna. The country’s corn snacks also garnered positive reception for its crunchier, tastier and bigger servings, compared to those from other countries. Other top Philippine products include banana chips, nuts, coconut products and other tropical fruits.

The US is one of the largest foreign investors in the Philippines and the country’s third-largest trading partner. The Philippines has been among the largest beneficiaries of the US’s Generalized System of Preferences scheme for developing countries, which provides preferential duty-free access to the US market.

Food Philippines’s participation in the WFFS 2018 is organized by Citem, in partnership with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in San Francisco and Los Angeles, as one of the Department of Trade and Industry’s major efforts to intensify the promotion of Philippine specialty food products in overseas trade shows.

Citem is committed to developing, nurturing and promoting globally competitive small and medium enterprises, exporters, designers and manufacturers by implementing an integrated approach to export marketing in partnership with other government and private entities.

In Photo: Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez (seventh from left) on October 20, called on start-ups and investors to take part in transforming Asean into a regional hub for innovation during his keynote speech during the Slingshot Asean Startup and Innovation Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center. Lopez said by linking and collaborating with other businesses and investors within the Asean region, local start-ups can scale up their operations and create more opportunities for jobs and employment. Lopez, with Asean NOC Director General for Operations Marciano Paynor Jr. (sixth from left), Trade Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado (fifth from left), Export Marketing Bureau Director Senen M. Perlada (left), Presidential Adviser Joey Concepcion (fourth from left), and YEI Advisory and Operating CEO Victoria Elenowitz (second from right) also led the opening ceremony of the Slingshot Startup Alley, which featured over 50 technopreneur exhibitors across the Asean region.

THE local start-up community was given a rare opportunity to meet potential business partners as several investors from Asean countries and their partners attended Slingshot Asean Summit 2017.

The summit brought together entrepreneurs and innovators into one conference set on October 20 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila.

Organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Slingshot Asean 2017 aimed to highlight the milestones of the start-up community in the Philippines and across Asean. With the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World,” the summit presented a platform for a new breed of businesses in various sectors, such as information technology, agriculture, health care and finance, and among others.

“We are encouraging the growth of start-ups in the country as part of the government’s efforts in boosting the economy and creating jobs for Filipinos in the country,” Trade Undersecretary for Trade and Investments Promotion Group and Asean Committee on Business and Investment Promotion Chairman Nora K. Terrado said.

“Start-ups are able to utilize and promote new technologies that drive future economic growth, and contribute to a continue changing social environment and global economy,” Terrado said.

Slingshot Asean featured plenary talks, learning hubs and pitching competitions with government representatives and industry experts, including venture capitalists, angel investors, representative from the private sector and academe. Asean Startup Alley was also expected during the event where over 50 start-ups showcased their products and services. DTI said the event had over 1,000 local and international participants.

Panel discussions included topics on disruptive enterprises, regional network building, and funding opportunities for both Philippine as well as Asean start-ups.

Slingshot Asean is the third staging of DTI’s SlingShot Summit, with a larger audience representing 10 Asean member-states as part of the Philippines’s official hosting of the Asean Summit and related meetings this year.

In 2015 and 2016 Slingshot Philippines took initiatives to form series of dialogues between public and private sector with its output as the creation of Startup Ecosystem Development Program. These programs have been rolled out as building blocks for linkages between government and private-sector initiatives in enhancing the Philippine startup ecosystem.

Artie Lopez, cofounder and Startup Coach at Brainsparks, a start-up incubator and one of the private-sector partners of Slingshot Asean, said, “One of the problems for start-ups is getting potential investors to know about them. Slingshot helps with that by bringing in both foreign and local investors in one place at one time to learn more and get involved with the local start-up ecosystem.”

24 October 2017

Published also in Business Mirror

ZAMBOANGA—The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) officially launched Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) on October 6 in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

During the event, the country’s trade chief called on local entrepreneurs to maximize the use of government programs to create businesses and gain employment to empower themselves.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez highlighted the government’s initiatives to extend to all Filipinos the benefits of the current Philippine economic growth by strengthening the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), creating robust industries and boosting investments. These, in turn, will lead to job generation and sustained entrepreneurial revolution, according to him.

“TNK’s goal is to create a culture of Filipinos who are success-driven, independent and know how to appreciate the value put on one’s work. The core of the program is to empower the bottom of the pyramid to empower the nation,” he said.

The business confidence index of the Philippines is at 38 percent, which has an impact on various industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and export, he said.

The DTI is currently using the 7Ms of Successful Entrepreneurs framework (mindset, mastery, mentoring, money, machine, market and models) as a strategic approach to empower entrepreneurs and encourage Filipinos to start their own businesses, thus helping them improve the quality of life.

Apart from national and international trade fairs, there are partnerships with premier malls, shopping destinations, as well as airports to enhance market access for local entrepreneurs through the Go Lokal! stores and other pasalubong centers.

These Go Lokal! stores and pasalubong centers serve as incubation stores for MSMEs where their products gain public exposure for free before they enter bigger markets.

MSMEs were also encouraged to utilize the government’s business-expansion program through the Pondo para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso or the P3 program, which offers low-interest financial assistance via recognized microfinancing institutions.

The trade chief called on officials from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and local government units to provide spaces in their respective public markets for MSME products and entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, at the sidelines of the TNK launch, Lopez also attended the Zamboanga Peninsula Investment Conference, wherein he encouraged stakeholders to continue partnering with the government in raising the investment profile of the region and improving the investment climate.

“We can address inequality and reduce poverty by implementing programs that sustainably create jobs and increase incomes through exports and investments, as well as through smart, innovation-led entrepreneurship,” he said.

Also at the event were Trade Undersecretary Rowel S. Barba, Labor Undersecretary Joel B. Maglunsod, Small Business Corp. President Maria Luna Cacanando, as well as Zamboanga Sibugay Gov. Wilter Yap Palma, Zamboanga City Mayor Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, Rep. Celso Lobregat of the First District of Zamboanga and Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe of the Second District of Zamboanga.

By Kristina Noelle S. Andaya / Trade-Industry Development Specialist / DTI-EMB

Published also in Business Mirror

October 17, 2017

In Photo: Cagayan de Oro-based EdTech Startup Wela School Systems will represent the Philippines in Start Jerusalem next month, after besting four other local start-ups in a pitching competition held at the QBO Innovation Hub, Department of Trade and Industry International Building, Makati City, on October 9. Present during the pitching competition were (from left): Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines President Itamar Gero, Wela School Systems Cofounder John Vincent Fiel and Chery Murillon of the Wela School Systems. A START-UP from Cagayan de Oro will represent the Philippines in an all-expense paid trip in Start Jerusalem (Start JLM) from November 5 to 11, after besting four other local start-ups during the Pitch Jerusalem, a competition for innovative technology-based start-ups, held at the QBO Innovation Hub in the Department of Trade and Industry International Building, Makati City, on October 9.

Headed by Cofounder John Vincent Fiel, Wela School Systems is an EdTech Startup that aims to lessen the faculty’s burden when making their academic reports. The start-up offers a cloud-based grading platform that would enhance the productivity of teachers by automating reports and reducing the use of unnecessary spreadsheets. Also, they created a system that provides a better workflow for educators.

In Wela’s way, Fiel said that instead of making multiple Excel sheets, users can reduce their report to two sheets and upload it to their system. Wela will do all the reports that teachers need, including the report card of the students, list of honors and certificates, among others. Using the system could help educators finish their report requirements in two days, from the average of two weeks before. Basically, the main goal is to automate teachers’ end-to-end process.

The start-up is currently serving eight private schools in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, and is currently scaling in Luzon and the Visayas. Aside from assisting the teachers, Wela School Systems also has a mobile application for parents to help track their children’s attendance, homework, grades and receive announcements from the school, among others.

Together with representatives of other winning start-ups worldwide, Wela will be part of the “boostcamp” with workshops and sessions designed to take their product or solution to the next level.

Among the 30 start-ups who submitted their applications in the Pitch Jerusalem, five were invited to present their pitch. Aside from Wela School Systems, the four other start-ups who presented were Enguest, JazzyPay, MachiBox and Teratomo.

The panel of judges was composed of Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ICCP) President Itamar Gero, ICCP Vice President for External Affairs David Elefant, ICCP Director Sagiv Massad and Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-International Cooperation Assistant Secretary Dr. Leah Buendia. Embassy of Israel Deputy Consul General Yulia Rachinsky-Spivakov also attended the event.

The pitch competition was presented by the ICCP and the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines, in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau, the DOST and QBO Innovation Hub and ICCP Platinum Sponsor, Dayanan Business Consultancy and Event Sponsors TrueLogic Online Solutions and Payoneer.

Start JLM 2017 will gather startup founders around the world to explore and experience Jerusalem’s booming start-up ecosystem. The city has been recognized to be one of the emerging technology and innovation hubs around the world.

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