"Bridging Businesses. Capitalizing Growth." This is the theme of PhilCham SH's private inaugural event held last Jan 19, 2019 at Ascendas Innovation Place, The Bridge, Shanghai. This event was the first of its kind for the Filipino business community; it was well-attended by the Filipino expats, business people, professionals, and entrepreneurs. Foreign chambers and business organizations came as well.
"Our vision is to rebrand the Filipino. We wish the Filipino will be known for our business acumen. People don't realize, many multinationals and companies in China are led by Filipinos," points out Carol Ong, one of the founders. "There are also brands in China that are "surprisingly" Filipino; such as Oishi, Century Tuna, Metrobank, PAL, Dai ichi, SM, Jollibee Foods Corp that owns Mister Donut and Yonhe. Someone was even insisting to me that Bebebalm, my brand, is not Filipino. Why is that? It's because we Filipinos are highly adaptable and resilient. We can quickly blend in, we can easily stand out. We've become Citizens of the World. It's about time we come together and get to know one another, help each other in bridging businesses, and capitalizing growth."
Working Committee (L to R). Michelle Nocom, Eric So, Raquel So, Carol Ong, Jun Gonzales, Geoff Lim, Joe Santiago
"There's AmCham and business chambers that's beneficial for other nationalities, how come there's none for Filipinos in Shanghai? So we created one. This was made possible because our community shares a common vision; and we wish to promote the growth mindset to our fellow Filipinos in Shanghai," added Michelle Nocom, one of PhilCham Shanghai's founders. "This event gives a taste of Pinoys in business. We have more events and projects in store for the community. We have a community-powered digital hub, Philcham.org , we can get updated there and contribute as well, " remarked Joe Santiago, a founder of PhilCham Shanghai.
The event poses three questions: Where to invest? How to get investors (in China and the Philippines)? Who can inspire? A powerhouse of speakers and panelists were invited to share their points of view.
Part 1. Where to invest: The Philippine Potential
"There is no one homogeneous Filipino," explained Gayia Beyer, Director of Anthropological Studies, Havas Ortega Media. She gave a sneak peak on the evolving Filipinos from varied groups, from middle class Homemakers who lead secret double lives, to Millennials, to how the Global Filipinos spend and invest, to the desires of Golden Millennials.
"The Philippines is one of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world; and in the top 5 in Asia. We have many industries at their infancy, that's where the most opportunities lie." Consul Mario Tani, the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry's trade attache in Shanghai, showcased the industries the country is good at, and the industries with the most growth potentials. He also shared the entrepreneurship programs of DTI such as Negosyo Centers and Mentor Me.
Part 2. How to get Investors: Expert Group Think
A panel of investor experts from China and the Philippines shared their POVs on how to get investors interested in your company. It was moderated by Nike Jordan VP Eric So. Stanley Chan, a partner at Ernst & Young, advises to "Put your idea in numbers" to see if it makes financial sense. He also advised to study businesses that failed and why they failed, because you will learn a lot more from them than the success stories.
Chris Lim, Philippine Franchise Association director, shared that many investors look at the team, before looking at the product or service. He also advised to find ways to make your business easy to teach and easy to replicate, in order to accelerate growth. He recounted SM's Henry Sy's advice, "Dream big. Start small. Act fast."
Iannique Renaud, founder of Renaudair and founding partner of www.smartrade.com, advised to make as many mistakes fast. He also advised to think of the worst case scenarios and have viable plans for it.
Part 3. Who can Inspire: Entrepreneurs' Journey
Browhaus and Strip senior partner BJ Macatulad shared how she's able to open a new market of hair removal in China, a country that is practically hairless. "Know the What. Know the Why. Move forward or get left behind. Be long-term greedy. Be a place that no one leaves."
International theatre star and musical director Robert Vicencio of RGV Global Productions, likewise opened the market for musical theatre in China. "Failures are my pillars for success," he recounts his journey from Miss Saigon to HK to China.
Business networking break out sessions were scheduled at the Pinoy snack bar. Because it's not a true Pinoy gathering without a feast.
Classic Filipino food and drinks were provided by Opalyn Zamora of Lutong Bahay ni Nanay, Linda Dato of La Mealy Cuisine, Nali Ng Cakes, Tanduay, and Oishi.
The fabulous food display was styled by Edda of Estilo premiere eco party styling.
Puma's Ludwig Tsai, Market Research veteran Millette Tsai with Browhaus and Strip's BJ Macatulad
"I was happy to be there! Learning new things, meeting new people... I liked it!" Michelle Teope-Shen, head of FilComSha. Pictured together with friends from F&B and Education sectors.
PhilCham Shanghai co-founder Michelle Nocom with Global Basic's Hector Ty, international theatre star Robert Vicencio, Parkyard Hotel F&B Director Allan Chan.
Marketing veteran Claire Syson with digital expert Jocelyn Kue of Artefact
"Start small but dream big. Look in the long term. This is what resonated with me," recounted Arch. Herbie Recato, head of Tsupiterong OFW.
"This is one of the most well-organized chamber events. Impressive, " remarked Canadian Chamber's Tony Jaw. Pictured with Dr. Michael Ong, MD, and Philcham Sh co-founder Carol Ong
"The rebranding of the Filipino is a noble aim. I think the Filipino brand is underrated because when people get to know Filipinos better, they start to realize oh this is not what I thought the Philippines was. This is not what I read in the news. So we need to get that brand more exposed. That's what Filipinos deserve," Scott Si (HSBC). Pictured with fellow banker Annie Yap (Metrobank), Robert Vicencio, and friends
The event is presented by Oishi, Philippine Airlines, Parkyard Hotel. Supported by Century Pacific, Philippine Franchise Association, Metrobank, Profoods Cebu Dried Mango, The Bridge. In cooperation with Bebebalm, Tanduay, Nali Ng Cakes, Estilo party styling, Lutong Bahay ni Nanay (Opalyn Zamora), La Mealy Cuisine (Linda Dato). Special thanks to the working committee, and to our volunteers.