The Asia CEO Awards recently hosted its SME Forum with the theme, “Growth Beyond Borders”. The event welcomed various local entrepreneurs to share their best practices and ideas for future innovations to further drive the Philippine economy. Guest speakers discussed the importance of SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) in transforming the country to become a globally competitive nation.
As seen on the Asia CEO website, “SME companies are transforming the nation from one dependent on a few dozen large enterprises to one propelled by thousands of focused high-performing ones. If the Philippines is to become prosperous, powerful, and inclusive, it all depends on the SME sector.”
It is hoped that through the forum, startups and experienced entrepreneurs will learn new ways to build, maintain, and promote their specific businesses in their industries. Further, the Asia SME Forum 2023 intends to demystify the misconception that a country’s success can only be determined by large businesses. Rather, SMEs can be considered the backbone of any economy – causing ripples of change to beget a wave of success.
What is an SME?
The Philippines employs two criteria in operationally defining SMEs: employment and asset size. The PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) classifies an enterprise as a micro if it has less than 10 employees, small if it has 10-99 employees, medium with 100-199 employees, and large if it has 200 or more employees.
Who Were the Speakers?
- Rolan Marco Garcia, Founding CEO & Managing Partner of Embiggen – Rolan helps diverse companies grow through innovation by building digital ventures. Venture building is a strategy to create a new business that acts as an innovation hub for the organization.
- Felix Veroya, Founder & CEO of Ask Lex PH Academy – Ask Lex PH Academy provides professional training and consulting to individuals and organizations in Industrial Engineering, Innovation, Lean Six Sigma, Project Management, and many more.
- Joey Marcelo, CEO of Sante International – Sante provides organic health & wellness products and services designed to improve the quality of life of people. It has become an international powerhouse with expanding locations across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
- Michael Canlas, President & CEO of Kitchen 77 Food Creations – Mike founded Bang Bang Bangus during the height of the pandemic. Bang Bang Bangus has since grown into a network of more than 100 stores with locations across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The restaurant franchise chain is claimed to be the first-of-its-kind food kiosk that offers flavored boneless bangus for take-out.
- Rene Reinoso, General Manager of Amazing Philippines Digital Economy Corp – Rene oversees SME and digital platforms for Airspeed Group. He was previously President of Dagxpress Courier and COO of Inquirer Publications and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the country’s largest news and information organization.
- Stanley Ng, President & CEO of Philippine Airlines – Captain Stanley joined the airline as a customer relations staffer. After completing Cadet Pilot training, he joined PAL as a pilot Second Officer in 2006. He eventually served as Chief Pilot of PAL’s Airbus A320/A321 fleet.
- Rick Cruzado, President of Airspeed Express – Rick oversees the eCommerce logistics and fulfillment business of Airspeed Group. He previously had extensive logistics experience with premier companies like Maersk Line, DB Schenker, and Lazada e-logistics.
- Georgina Ann Yang, Executive Director, Galing Pook Foundation – Georgina runs an organization promoting innovation and excellence in local governance. She previously served as the Vice-Presidential Spokesperson and Head of Angat Buhay, the Vice President’s flagship Anti-Poverty Program.
- Fernando Mesa, former Mayor of Alabat, Quezon – Mayor Fernando achieved fame through various prosperity programs. He helped coconut farmers increase their income from Php1k per month selling coconuts to Php9k per month by processing coconut sap into coco-sugar.
Growth Beyond Borders
It’s time to go beyond convention and apply our technical and business knowledge to further grow our nation’s economy. Philippine SMEs are fast becoming the backbone of our country, giving us the competitive edge, we need against other countries. The Asia SME Forum is one way we can all learn how to develop into becoming the entrepreneurial elite of the Pearl of the Orient.
To learn more about the forum, visit https://www.asia-ceo.org/