An agreement to support technology-enabled entrepreneurship through an exchange program in Silicon Valley in California was signed on Monday, Nov. 11, at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC.
The US-Philippines Society (US-PHS) and the Science and Technology Advisory Council-Silicon Valley (STAC-SV) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that institutionalizes the linkage between the two organizations in supporting technology-enabled entrepreneurship.
The MOA was signed by US-PHS executive director Hank Hendrickson and Christina Laskowski, STAC-SV president. The formal signing ceremony was witnessed by Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., Christina Le of the US Department of State, US-PHS president John F. Maisto, and embassy officials.
The MOA establishes a strong institutional linkage between US-PHS and STAC-SV allowing the two organizations to collaborate and support technology-enabled entrepreneurship through STAC-SV’s immersion programs, including its workshops, which will take place primarily in Silicon Valley.
The MOA also creates a platform for the promotion of entrepreneurial growth, business development, and leadership in the Philippines.
As an initial project, both organizations will work together in the execution early next year of a prototype Silicon Valley immersion program designed for the winners of the PLDT?s Smart SME Nation “BeTheBoss” 2015 competition. This is intended as a first-step in a continuing process of high-tech exchanges.
The program comes at the initiative of US-PHS co-chair Manuel V. Pangilinan and is designed to promote private sector-based Philippines-US cooperation in the area of high-tech education, business entrepreneurship, and opportunities for expanded bilateral trade.
The Smart SME Nation launched the first #BeTheBoss Awards as a new kind of initiative, using social media to undertake a crowd-sourced search to recognize next generation entrepreneurs at the frontiers of the ICT revolution.
There were over 500 nominations from across the Philippines. Public voting came down to the 15 strong finalists selected in a rigorous panel process that identified three finalists in each of five categories: 1) e-commerce, 2) social media, 3) customer service, 4) social responsibility, and 5) mobile readiness.
Five entrepreneurs were awarded as new ?bosses? on the #BeTheBoss Awards night on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.
Each of the five winners was recognized for pioneering efforts in innovative business application of information technology.
In her remarks at the ceremony, Le lauded the project as “another demonstration of the strong bilateral relationship of the United States with the Philippines.”
Maisto characterized the program as exciting and modern, especially since it involved young entrepreneurs.
Laskowski expressed a strong sense of optimism and excitement about the program noting the “very healthy ecosystem for investors and entrepreneur” that now exists in the Philippines under the Aquino administration.
She also noted that such ecosystem benefits not only the MSME’s that are active participants, but also the communities around them.
“Technology-enabled entrepreneurship is also women empowering,” she added.
In his remarks during the signing ceremony, Cuisia expressed the hope that “this institutional relationship that we have witnessed sealed this afternoon will result in projects that will allow the young men and women of our two great nations to learn from each other and unleash their collective creativity and entrepreneurship with a view to more productivity and competitiveness in the global market place.
?For truly, in this world transformed, the only limits to the creativity of our people, especially the young, are their imaginations.”