Advice for startups from the ‘single voice of Philippine business’

Words by

Digital Reporter

One of the oldest business chambers in the nation (and by old we mean it was established in 1886 by a group of Spanish businessmen) is interested in further investing in the youth, mentoring young businessmen and improving the business community in the Philippines.

In a one‑on‑one interview, Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico, chair of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (and a Wharton graduate, too) after the Supercollider Startup Pitching session told SparkUpwhat makes an effective business pitch.

What should startup businesses do to give an effective business pitch?

First, they should devote 2‑3 minutes to describe exactly what they’re business is doing.

Secondly, they have to say what they need. Normally, these startups need money. So if they need money, they should say “this is what I do and this is what I need”.

Third, they need to explain what they will do with the money that they raise.

And the fourth thing that they have to explain is the exit for the investor—the potential pay‑off.

What kind of sacrifices should young entrepreneurs be ready for?

Once you go into business, it’s really a 24‑7 commitment. You sacrifice a lot of your free time—leisure time, going to the movies time, party time—because you’re going to devote time to nurture and develop your business. These are typical of the comments of even the successful startups.

Which industries have you seen the most startups?

E‑commerce and technology. E‑commerce has a big potential but doesn’t require a lot of startup capital as opposed to businesses that require factories, which require a lot of money. In e‑commerce you can just be, for example, a very talented programmer and your employees can be part‑timers. It doesn’t require a lot of capital when you start.

What programs is PCCI implementing for startups and the youth?

Through our initiatives here in PCCI, we are interested in developing the youth of the country, giving them the opportunity to become successful in business. For instance, I’m head of the group in charge of PCCI’s Young Entrepreneur’s Award. We give this award to the entrepreneur that is voted the best for a particular year. This is a nationwide effort where we secure nominations from our chambers all around the Philippines. We evaluate their past performance and future prospects to identify the businesses and young people with really great potential.

Another manifestation of our interest to help the youth is this pitching session. This is our first pitching session. Most of the people there are very young and they have a business, so we’re trying to blend in the millennials—the young people—into the conventional, established businesses, like the people here in PCCI.

That is within the context of the general program that I’m implementing here in PCCI where we are encouraging young people to develop hopefully into successful entrepreneurs. We are even encouraging younger people to be a part of PCCI itself. We are really preparing for the next generation of people that will be the directors and officers of PCCI. So that is our overall goal and this pitching session is just one manifestation of our long-term goal in getting the youth involved here in the Philippine Chamber.

What are PCCI’s future plans to help startups?

We’re doing these pitching sessions because we want to identify the businesses started by young people who have great potential. And after we identify that, we want to connect them with their colleagues in different fields—marketing, production, etc.—so that they will have the support that they need.

We want to provide funding for them. If they need extra capital for growth, we can provide them with that.

Lastly, we want to mentor and help them in terms of making their businesses grow even more or even help them list them in the Philippine Stock Exchange.