UnionBank brings Ureka Forum to Mindanao

source: UrekaForum.ph

UnionBank of the Philippines and its consortium partners are bringing the ecommerce circuit, Ureka Forum, for the first time to Mindanao. Ureka Forum is Philippines’ largest ecommerce conference, aimed to advance local SMEs innovation via ecommerce.

The conference will be held on July 23 following two previous successful conferences held in Baguio City and Iloilo City October 2015 and January 2016, respectively.

“For a long time, Mindanao has been called ‘the land of opportunity,’ and today more than ever, we expect even more investors to focus their attention on Mindanao,” said Genaro Lapez, UnionBank executive vice president and Ureka Forum’s lead convenor.

Started last year, Ureka Forum is open to all “registered SMEs coming from different industries who look at ecommerce as a necessary platform to grow and expand their businesses.

The fast growing Philippines

Philippines has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates among emerging markets in the world, but a recent study by Frost & Sullivan revealed that the Philippines lagged behind neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Vietnam in terms of ecommerce market maturity. 

The Google study showed that only 1% of small and medium enterprises or SMEs even have a website. These are the same SMEs that represent close to 98% of all registered businesses in the Philippines at which historically, employed goes to two thirds of the Philippine workforce.

Lapez believes however, things may change in the next four years and the Philippines would overrun Singapore by 2.97% by 2020.

“Assuming that there is a steady and solid economic growth and corresponding infrastructure improvements, Philippine ecommerce could grow 20.67% from 2016 to 2020 right behind leader, Malaysia,” added Lopez. He also mentioned the goal was to have no less than 100,000 SMEs doing ecommerce, representing no less than 10% of the country’s GDP by 2020.

After the last two road shows, the forum is now servicing around 150 SMEs from individual artists to retail and food corporations.  

With burgeoning industries such as business process outsourcing and knowledge process outsourcing, new commercial complexes such as shopping malls as well as constantly improving infrastructure to augment its traditional agribusiness and tourism strengths, Davao City has emerged as one of the Philippines’ rising economic cores.

A version of this appeared in The Standard on July 16. Read the full article here.