I haven’t been blogging lately. This is because I’ve been busy talking to partners, fixing processes and interviewing people for Taxumo.

And in the course of talking to different people who want to be part of Taxumo, I’ve come to realize that some people are such a great fit for working in a startup and others would be a great addition to the corporate world. Just to clarify, each one of these environments and both are pretty amazing. I should know! I’ve tried both.

I’ve worked for corporations for about a decade. I also started the very first legit (with government papers and all) business way back in 2009. This makes the duration of time I’ve spent with startups equal to how long my corporate experience has been.

This article is not to make you choose one over the other. I believe that some people thrive and succeed in a corporate environment and others make it big in the Startup world. Some are genuinely just gifted to thrive in both.

What this article is to show you the best of both worlds. It’s meant to help you choose where you think you would find fulfilment and a sense of purpose.

Let’s start with the benefits of being employed in a big corporation.

Established Structure

When you join a large corporation, they would probably have been there for a decade or more than a decade already. In a corporation, there are more established ways of doing things. If you are the type of person who would want a more “plug and play” kind of environment, then joining a huge company may a more favorable choice.

Stable Pay

Being employed will definitely give you a stable income. If you’d like to know what you’ll definitely be earning next month, join a more established company. You’ll also probably have the other benefits like SSS, Philhealth, Pagibig and probably other allowances and an HMO card, too. Come to work, clock in and out and you’ll definitely be given all of these.

Career Path

Since structure has been established, a well thought of organization plan is also in place when you join a corporation. They know exactly what your role is and what your responsibilities are. They know exactly which positions they need to fill. They also have a structure for promotions if you want to have a bright career ahead of you. You know exactly which positions you could aim and aspire for in the years to come.

For startups, there are also numerous benefits. Here are a few benefits that you could enjoy.

Opportunity to Test Jobs and Learn

If you are the type of person that loves testing new things out, you will have access to jobs that you’re completely unqualified for in a startup! haha! Yup! If you’ve been aiming to be that social media manager that you’ve heard about or that growth hacker that you’ve read about, this is your chance to dive in and learn how to become one.

In a start up, everything is new. Processes are new, and most of the people around you are learning as they go along. Each day will be a day of absorbing tons of new information. Everyone moves quickly and uses the new information that they learn to help get the team to a common goal.

Road to Starting your own Business

If you plan to start your business in the future, joining a startup is one of the best things that you can do. You learn while observing the startup founders in action. Since most startups have a flat organization, there will be a lot of chances to interact with the founders. You will also quickly learn about different aspects of the business, and this will prove useful when you start your own thing in the future.

Control over the things that you need to Do

Since there is not much of structures and processes that are set, you have the freedom to use your talents to improve a lot of things and to invent products and processes along the way. Heck, you can even choose your own title sometimes. Job descriptions are there, but oftentimes, each “team member” moves out of this boxed description to help a teammate in need. A marketing officer can suddenly help operations one day. A processor can easily be a sales representative given a certain scenario when they are faced with a client.

Everyone works toward a achieving a certain goal and since the organization is still not that deep, everyone can be a leader of a team if one wants to be one in the future. Work hours are very flexible, but founders often demand to see results faster. With this work arrangement, people who are more proactive and hate being micro-managed thrive in this kind of environment.

So these are just some of the things that I have observed. So where do you think you would thrive? In which environment? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to add some benefits to either scenarios, too!

Great news for social entrepreneurs! Now in its fourth year, BPI Sinag is looking to help more social enterprises get a head start on their business ideas.

And this year, they are challenging social entrepreneurs to encourage the creation of wealth among the Filipino ultra-poor.

BPI Sinag is the flagship program of BPI Foundation, the social innovation arm of the Bank of the Philippine Islands. Its goal is to accelerate businesses that create products and services that aim to make a social impact in a sustainable manner, targeting the triple-bottom-line of people, planet, and profit.

To celebrate BPI Foundation’s 40th anniversary, BPI Sinag is taking on the road to reach new social enterprises, launch new ideas and opportunities, and pave the way in improving the social enterprise ecosystem in the country.

Since its launch in 2015, BPI Sinag has been able to reach out and help 138 social enterprises nationwide. Each year, social entrepreneurs are given a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts. They are then shortlisted based on their pitches and their performance until ten awardees are selected.

To reach social enterprises all over the nation, BPI Foundation conducted the Sinag Fast Track. Qualified applicants will secure a spot on the #BPISinag2018 Top 40 and will be moving on to the first round of Sinag Bootcamp to be held in Manila. From there, 20 enterprises will be selected based on their presentation until only ten are left.

Five of the awardees will get P100,000 while the top five will get P500,000. Winners will also receive cash grants and continued mentorship that can increase the chances of their project’s success.

Here’s the list of social enterprises that made it last year.

Accents and Petals Crafts and Accessories  a novelty shop selling flowers made from recycled wood and paper

Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. – develops, manufactures, and installs technologies such as ram pumps for drinking and irrigation water, for the poor in the uplands

Association of Differently-Abled Persons in Iloilo Multi-Purpose Cooperative – a furniture making business giving jobs to persons with disabilities

Buhatan River Eco-Adventure Service Cooperative (BRESC) – an eco-tourism service in Sorsogon promoting the attractions of the Buhatan River

Coffee For Peace – a coffee supplier of world-class Arabica and Robusta beans working to promote peace in Mindanao

CustomMade Crafts Center, Inc. – a weaving novelty shop offering assorted items designed with Hinabol fabric

Happy Helpers a professional home cleaning service that employs and empowers mothers from poor communities

Lamlifew Village Museum and School of Living Tradition – a living museum which showcases the cultural practices of Blaan tribe in the Sarangani Province

Mori Creations – a designer of innovative fashion accessories collaborates with mothers from poor communities in Apolonio Samson, Quezon City

Zarraga Integrated Diversified Organic Farmers Association (ZIDOFA) – a community of farmers revolutionizing rice growth with rich organic fertilizer 

As an entrepreneur, I think it’s an awesome venue for fellow entrepreneurs to test their ideas. Pitching your ideas to an expert panel can give you a different perspective and feedback on which aspects need improvement. Pitching on the stage also helps boost your confidence, presentation, and negotiation skills.

Events like these are also a great place to meet people who are as ambitious and as driven as you are. Here you can exchange ideas and get the support that you need to change the world as we know it. Who knows, you might also meet your future mentor in these events!

So if you think your idea has the potential to make a great impact and improve the lives of the Filipino people, send your entries to www.sinag.bpifoundation.org or email info.bpisinag@gmail.com. Deadline of entries is on May 15, 2018.

I am an avid fan of Shark Tank. I love watching Start-up pitch their ideas, even if some are super unprepared. I love seeing the different ideas that people have. Man, there are a lot of unique and creative ideas. I love taking note of the judges questions and I am always amazed at how good they are with numbers. I think Shark Tank is the only show that I watch where I have my notebook by my side to actually take down notes. You may laugh at me (haha!) but I do learn a lot from this show.

In my mind, the end goal really of the start-ups joining the show is either to raise capital (which is pretty normal) or to gain enough publicity to build traction. And for the rest of us watching the show, it’s really for our entertainment and education. Anything that I could learn from, I love!

Imagine my delight when I was invited to the Final Pitch press conference. I didn’t get to go (because I had to focus this week on Taxumo, but I decided to share it anyway. The Final Pitch is something like Shark Tank. The show will challenge entrepreneur contestants in every way — from exploring funding options, refining their business plans, and marketing their products and services. The show is set to air on History Channel this May, 2017

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“The Final Pitch aims to help entrepreneurs find success by connecting them to investors who can finance them, and to mentors who can fine-tune their businesses—reducing risk factors and boosting growth potential and sustainability,” shares the creator and host of The Final Pitch, John Aguilar.

The show will make entrepreneurs go through a series of challenges that will test their creativity, motivation and character. At the same time, they will learn the secrets behind the success of their potential investors, who are also tasked to handpick the top finalists to proceed on the show.

L-R The Final Pitch creator John Aguilar, venture capitalist Jose ‘Jomag’ Magsaysay, CEO of MFT Group of Companies Mica Tan, Chairman and CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies and SL Agritech, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, and Chairman and CEO of Catala Corporation Joseph Calata

L-R The Final Pitch creator John Aguilar, venture capitalist Jose ‘Jomag’ Magsaysay, CEO of MFT Group of Companies Mica Tan, Chairman and CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies and SL Agritech, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, and Chairman and CEO of Catala Corporation Joseph Calata

For Jose ‘Jomag’ Magsaysay, founder of a well-loved global food brand and one of the investors on ‘The Final Pitch’, his picks for the show would be based on whether or not he can see them as future business partners. “I’m looking for people who deserve a break, as I believe in the person more than the business,” he shares.

self-made-billionaire-and-the-youngest-to-become-the-chairman-of-a-publicly-listed-company-in-the-pse-joseph-calata

Other investors include the multi-awarded Chairman and CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies and SL Agritech, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong; self-made billionaire and the youngest chairman of a publicly-listed company in the PSE, Joseph Calata; and lastly, 25-year old millennial CEO of the angel investing group MFT Group of Companies, Mica Tan.

In addition to the potential funding from the investors, contestants will receive business coaching from an esteemed lineup of mentors, who are composed of well-known business experts and inclusive business champions, namely Department of Trade and Industry Secretary, Mon Lopez; former President of MicroVentures, Inc., Senator Bam Aquino; Chairman of Start Up Village, Prof. Jay Bernardo and; President of the Ateneo Center for Entrepreneurship-Masters In Entrepreneurship (ACE-ME), Dr. Andy J. Ferreira, among others.

I think this is a good initiative, because (1) Filipinos need to see that there are a lot of opportunities out there — opportunities to solve problems, opportunities to innovate and opportunities to make a difference; (2) We need to stir up the start-up ecosystem in the Philippines and having more publicity for the entire industry is good (in that way, we, startups won’t have to explain what we actually do, especially to our friends and parents. haha!);  and lastly, (3) We need to strive to be better than we are and let go of that “okay na ako” attitude. We, Filipinos, are very talented individuals and it’s such a waste to see people full of potential not maximize their talents and skills.

So there, these are the reasons why I, personally think, that we need shows and other activities like this. Will we join this competition and represent Taxumo? Maybe. We will have to think about it! haha!

But for those who are ready to join, here are some details:

To join The Final Pitch, applicants will be required to fill up and submit an online entry form to The Final Pitch via its official website www.TheFinalPitch.ph Deadline for submission of entries is until March 17, 2017. Investors interested in becoming a part of the show or investing in the entrepreneurs behind the scenes may also get in touch with The Final Pitch through through its website.

*The Final Pitch’ is produced by Streetpark Productions Inc., the company behind the longest-running real estate and construction TV show Philippine Realty TV. For more info and for sponsorship and partnership inquiries, visit www.TheFinalPitch.ph or call 0917-8136674.

Goodluck to all my readers who want to join! Message me so that we can all watch you!

interviews-with-business-owners

From one of the largest cities in the European Union, Budapest (in Hungary), a very admirable lady named Renáta Tamási-Irsai runs a technology company. She is one of the women in power that I have met during my short visit to Israel. She is the CEO of Samebug, a technology company.

reni_blackwhite_photo

Renata founded Samebug with her husband who she married 10 years ago. She is a mother of three young children. “I am raising a child who is different than other people, through this I develop an understanding of what it means not fitting in to society. Using this experience I am able to listen and help other mothers who are in the same situation,” Renata added.

family

Renata also mentions that her Christian faith plays an important role in her life.

She is a very organized person and she love things to be in order in every aspect of her life. She’s a member of the Budapest Toastmaster Club: http://toastmasters.hu/. She is also very passionate about cooking. She loves inviting people either to cook together or eat what they have cooked. In fact, cooking is another shared interest with her husband. “I am an introvert, but if you know me deep and long enough, you would not tell. Reading is my favorite activity when I want be alone,” Renata says. “My goal in life is to get to know the purpose of my life and become the person who I was created to be.”

My interview with Start-up Founder, Renáta Tamási-Irsai, CEO of Samebug

Ginger: Hi Reni! Can you share with my readers what your start-up is about?

Renata: Samebug is an online software startup company that builds a platform to help developers to find solutions to software problems. Simply take a stack trace from a crash, plug it into Samebug (either via a browser or plugin to IntelliJ IDEA or Android Studio) and it will search across over 800,000 (and growing) solutions to determine if the problem causing the crash has been solved by another engineer or not. If it has, Samebug will present the solution, if the problem has not been solved, Samebug will connect you with experts who can help. Founded in 2015, Samebug is headquartered in Budapest, Hungary and owned by a Delaware Corp, Samebug, Inc. The three co-founders are full-time employed, two of them are computer scientists, the CEO has a MBA degree in Finance.

Samebug

Ginger: Your product is a bit technical. I was wondering who your target market is for your product/services?

Renata: 18.5 million developers all over the globe. Our software is a developer tool, the market is given. The technical founders who are developers are solving their own problem. Developers are spoiled all of over the world – they are in high demand as every company is becoming more and more digital. Good developers are expensive and rare. They are used to use development tools free, so it is hard to get them to pay for any tool.

Also in our market the user and the customer is two different person, and you have to find the ways to make both of them happy at the same time.

Ginger: Excellent! So how did you and your husband come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

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Renata: My husband, Árpád has been a developer for 25 years and an entrepreneur for 10 years, developing tailor-made softwares to a financial company. 3 years ago, when the business was struggling and he got his Master degree, we both felt that we need to change what we are doing. Samebug was one of the option out of the three we evaluated, things pointed towards Samebug and we took plunge, jumped and has been doing it for 3 years.

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?

Renata: Lack of knowledge of startup world, funding.

Ginger: Yes, I have to agree. This is what we went through as well. How about anything specific to your country? What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business in your country?

Renata, CEO of Samebug

 

Funding. Lack of understanding of the startup world, building a global company and lack of trust. Most of our family and friends do not understand what we are doing, what we are live on and why is it exciting.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur/Start-up founder should have when starting their own business?

Renata: Risk taking, commitment and willingness to be different and work hard.

Ginger: Do you have any unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder?

Renata: I rather let go of what I have worked for and sacrificed a lot rather than doing a bad deal or make compromises on my values.

Ginger: Oh, that’s great! I just read an article yesterday of one company that was looking to hire a CEO that would die working or would rather spend time working than spend time with his family, and I just thought it was so sad. So, what advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Renata: Act as you don’t have Plan B, but have a Plan B to act on it when it is necessary. Be honest and transparent and stick to your values (if they are good) I also don’t believe tha everyone should be entrepreneurs. I believe there are many things that has to play in harmony for someone to be willing to take the risk.

Ginger: What are ways that you can do to raise capital?

Renata: Angel investors abroad and when the product gets to that stage later stage investors in abroad. There is very little chance to raise it in Hungary. The culture of building a global company is almost non-existent. We can provide services and from the money we can fund our startup.

Ginger: What is your growth strategy?

Renata: We are Software-as-a-Service company, selling online and later on targeting major enterprise corporations.

Ginger: Just to give others an ideay, what are tech tools that you use for your business?

Renata: Evernote, Slack, Jira, Skype, Google Docs, Balsamiq Mockup, Sketch

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us today, Renata. Again, it was great having one of the women in power from Hungary join us today! 🙂

If you want to know more about SameBug, here are the details:
Website: https://samebug.io
Email address: renata.tamasi@samebug.io
Mobile Number: +36 70 381 9619
Twitter account: @samebug

For parents, we are all familiar with this statement “It takes a village to raise a child”. I just had a thought the other day while having our weekly check-up meeting with Ideaspace (entity behind the acceleration program we are part of), that the same is true with businesses. We were talking about the value proposition of Taxumo (our startup). In the room, EJ (my husband and CEO), yours truly, Manny and Prim (mentors) and Dustin and Brenda (from Ideaspace) were all pitching ideas and sharing experiences to further solidify our VP, and it was nice to see that everyone was so involved! There was a moment when I stopped and looked at all of them, and thought it takes a village to raise a business, too!

It takes a village to raise a business.

For the longest time, I always thought that there wasn’t anything difficult about putting up a business. Once you overcome that fear and just start turning your concept into reality, it should be that easy. Basically, a business is just a great idea that we implement and that’s it. Making Manila Workshops successful even further strengthened my belief that it’s all about jumping and fast execution. Boy, was I wrong!

In the past year, I have grown leaps and bounds in terms of learning more about putting up a business, and this is because I was open to hearing from other people. There are a lot of things that I see and wished that I could have done better for Manila Workshops. The good thing though is that I could still adjust now and make everything better than how it was. And the other thing is that I could apply what I have learned with this new startup, Taxumo. To tell you honestly, I haven’t had this much clarity as to what I need to do with my business, and this clarity was because I never let anything pass me by (both good or negative inputs about the business).

But being open means also looking at the value of these things. As a startup founder, you need to decipher if these inputs are things that are valuable or things that are not. There are plethora of tools that were explained and given to me by mentors, by our classes,etc. and most of them are available online. These tools are mostly used for validating the need of the customer. The old me would have said, “Doesn’t this lead to analysis-paralysis?”, but since I have seen the value of this process and the value of each tool (from Business Canvas, to QFD, to the Kano model, to strat mapping and usability tests, etc.), I, together with the team, of course, go through each one. As a team, you should talk to each other and discuss what you think are the insights, tips and tools that would make sense for your business.

Being open to listen doesn’t really equate to action or reaction for most of us. For example, even if most of these are readily available online and even if we know that we need to talk to the customers, we are so preoccupied with the idea that our business idea is just so amazing that we think who would not want to purchase or use it? I have been a victim of this (lol!) — in a few business that I have started, which eventually failed. I learned my lesson the hard way, and by validating the need even before you launch it may be the wisest way to go, so that you don’t waste time and effort. You can not know your customer enough. Each day should be a day to look for new insights about the customer.

There is this article from Forbes Magazine that’s circulating the web and it’s the fact that only 10% of the startups make it. Sharing the article here: 90% Of Startups Fail: Here’s What You Need To Know About The 10% This is a very good read!

Just wanted to share my thoughts on this, so go and talk to people. See what they think about your product. You’ll learn a lot from talking to the “villagers”.