Monthly Archives: July 2012

The need for Energy Efficiency

With Asia’s highest cost of power, a more energy efficient use of it would be a natural approach. However, its only now the need to develop a standard for this purpose. Let’s hope the pending bill that will encourage more energy efficient activities is given priority.

From BusinessWorld Philippines

July 29, 2012

Government eyes energy-efficiency standards

THE GOVERNMENT is developing a standard on measuring the energy efficiency of widely used appliances as it is set to build testing facilities to certify if those appliances are really power savers, an Energy official said.

The Energy, Trade and Science and Technology departments are discussing a uniform testing for widely used appliances which will confirm the claims of manufacturers on the energy efficiency of their products, Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras said.

“We have finalized the standard on how energy efficiency is going to be measured in buildings and we’re doing the same with appliances… so that you can compare one brand or one appliance versus another,” Mr. Almendras told reporters on the sidelines of the opening of Petro Business Pavilion of Franchise Asia Philippines 2012 Expo at the SMX Convention Center last Friday.

“We need to test it to find out if one appliance will only consume this much power,” he added.

The standard for measuring the energy efficiency of appliances will be based on the discussion of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to come up with a common energy-efficiency convention, Mr. Almendras said.

“We are a signatory to that, so we are developing along those lines in accordance with the ASEAN initiative,” said.


Meanwhile, the Energy Efficiency Bill, which is still pending in Congress since September 2010 according to the Senate Web site, will require all appliances to be tagged, Mr. Almendras said.

Power-saving appliances will have labels of high Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) which will guide consumers in buying the appropriate models for their energy requirements.

The Energy Efficiency Bill also aims to provide incentives to those with energy-efficiency and conservation projects.

For the testing facilities, the Energy secretary said they will be coordinating with the Trade department to put up these testing centers.

“We already have the resources — the equipment and the sites — and we are waiting for our budget to be approved,” Mr. Almendras said.

“We’ll start with the most widely used appliances for the testing laboratory. We’re looking at testing air-conditioners, refrigerators, televisions, etc.,” he added.

Starting next month, Mr. Almendras said there will be a program to identify energy efficiencies in television sets being sold in the country.

“We’re working with a few groups that is going to set that up and we’re going to test a few dozen brands of TV,” Mr. Almendras explained.

Last week, manufacturer Concepcion-Carrier Air Conditioning (CCAC) said it has asked the government to issue a formal testing protocol to verify if air-conditioners are indeed the power savers their manufacturers claim them to be. —Danessa O. Rivera

Article location : eyes energy efficiency standards&id=55914

Australian boat builder moves to the Philippines

With the South Koreans already valuing the good workmanship Filipinos give in their shipyards at Clark and Subic, I think it is just a matter of time before Australians value the same skills for their boat building needs.

Australian boat builder transfers manufacturing center to PH


Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Australian military and commercial boat builder Austal has chosen the Philippines as the future center of its global manufacturing operations, taking advantage of competitive labor costs that do not sacrifice the quality of work.


The company, which leads globally in the production of high-speed catamarans, said it would soon start exporting state-of-the-art vessels out of its newly acquired facility in Balamban, Cebu.


“It has become uncompetitive for us to build these ships in Australia. It’s our intention to systematically and progressively transfer the technology from Australia into the Philippines so it is our center of excellence for all things commercial,” Austal CEO Andrew Bellamy said in a recent interview.


The Balamban shipyard is the company’s third location.


“We chose the Philippines because of its high level of growth, the English-speaking population that has the right skill set and work ethic, and the country’s location is also an obvious take-off point for our Asian-centric expansion,” Bellamy said.


The company’s oldest facility is in Perth, Australia, where the bulk of commercial vessels are made.


Among the notable ships the company has delivered are the passenger ferries used for trips between the Chinese cities of Macau and Hong Kong.


The company also has car and passenger vessels operating inter-island routes in Greece.


Austal’s second location is in Mobile, Alabama, by the Gulf of Mexico. The United States shipyard focuses on ships for defense. The company has been building warships for the US Navy since 2006.


The company specializes in catamarans and “trimarans,” which have several thin hulls that are able to cope with rough sea conditions.


The company has about 200 employees working in Balamban, with a firm plan to hire 150 more people. Being built in Balamban today is a 27-meter three-hull trimaran—the first of its kind Austal has ever built—that will be used by wind-farm operators in Europe.


Bellamy said the Balamban facility, which the company bought from the Aboitiz group for $8 million last year, could end up employing thousands of employees, if demand stays strong.


“This is about building a long-term manufacturing capability in the Philippines that will be industry-leading and sustainable,” Bellamy said.

Banking opportunities abound in the Philippines

For those Filipino residents abroad and are looking for an investment opportunity in the Philippines, consider making an investment in a rural bank. There is currently legislation pending that will allow foreigners to invest in rural banks. Unlike big commercial banks, a rural bank is small enough to be managed efficiently and if properly managed can make a great community benefit to those who need access to credit.

From BusinessWorld Philippines

July 25, 2012

Rural banks seek cap on foreign equity

FOREIGNERS’ stake in rural banks must be capped at 40% to prevent the overconcentration of ownership in their hands, said the newly elected head of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP).

“RBAP members are divided on their stance on the entry of foreign equity in rural banks. Some want up to 40%, while others are pushing for up to 60%. I think 40% is better for the rural banking industry,” said RBAP President Edward Leandro Z. Garcia, Jr. after the induction of the new set of RBAP officials on Tuesday night.

Mr. Garcia replaced Ian Eric S. Pama as the association’s president.

While pointing out the entry of offshore equity through foreign institutions such as the International Finance Corp. in rural banks would strengthen banks’ financial base and “professionalize management,” Mr. Garcia said allowing foreign individual investors to hold a majority stake in rural banks is another case.

“If a foreign individual will come to the Philippines and buy a rural bank, I doubt how the central bank will be able to throughly check on his or her history because regulators will simply ask for his background,” he said.

“My fear is, we do not know the ‘real interest’ of these individuals who want to gain a majority stake in rural banks. Besides, it is not that simple to get someone to go to far flung areas to manage a rural bank,” he added.

“The RBAP’s official stand on the matter is to allow up to 60% foreign equity in rural banks, but since there are members pushing for 40%, then we plan to present the side of those pushing for 40% to the legislators at the Senate.”

Section 4 of Republic Act No. 7353, otherwise known as the Rural Bank Act of 1992, states that “…the capital stock of any rural bank shall be fully owned and held directly or indirectly by citizens of the Philippines or corporations, associations or cooperatives qualified under Philippine laws to own and hold such capital stock…”

This provision effectively isolates rural banks as the only category of local banks not allowed to have foreign ownership.

Foreign investments in commercial and thrift banks are allowed by law.

House Bill No. 5360, sponsored by Leyte Rep. Sergio F. Apostol and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez, which proposes changes to the RA 7353, has already been approved by the House of Representatives on third reading on Dec. 5, 2011 and was transmitted to the Senate on Dec. 7, 2011.

HB 5360 proposes to allow rural banks to allow non-Filipino citizens to own, acquire, or purchase up to 40% of the voting stock of a rural bank.

Meanwhile, Senate Bill No. 3089, introduced by Sen. Edgardo J. Angara, also proposes up to 40% foreign ownership in rural banks. It is pending at the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies.

As of the first quarter, there were 574 rural banks.

“In the end, it all boils down to the management of the bank, who and how they will manage a rural bank,” Mr. Garcia said.

“Good governance, the people managing a rural bank and a strong capital base will always be the important factors to prevent closures of rural banks,” he said. — Ann Rozainne R. Gregorio

Article location : banks seek cap on foreign equity&id=55751

The need to develop our own Philippine animation

Having developed already the capability to do animation for American companies like Disney, there is a need to take it to the next stage by developing our own local version.

BusinessWorld Philippines

July 24, 2012

Pixar co-founder urges local animation sector to develop own content

THE CO-FOUNDER of American computer animation film studio Pixar Ralph Guggenheim yesterday urged Filipino animators to take advantage of their growing presence in the outsourcing of animation and gaming work in order to develop more of their own content.

“The Philippines, we’ve learned, has a lot of talented people working in the film, animation and gaming industry that outsource their work and they should be given the chance to tell their own stories,” said Mr. Guggenheim who is also the chief executive of animation firm Alligator Planet LLC in a press conference in Makati yesterday.

He added: “The Philippines has a lot of unrealized potential to send out stories to the world because creative products here are not seen outside of the country.”

Mr. Guggenheim is one of several creative industry experts that have been tapped to present in the 2012 Film, Animation and Gaming Congress which will be held this Thursday at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The event hopes to expand the global market for Filipino creative talent and connect the industry with potential backers.

“There should be both a domestic and an international market for Filipino animation and games because that is one way that investors will be interested in funding these talents. But you need writers and directors who know not only to speak to the Filipinos but also outside of the country,” said David Kostiner, founding partner of entertainment law firm Counsel LLP.

The Trade department said there are several small animation and gaming firms that eventually close up and leave to work in another country. “Creative industries is one of the investment priorities of the country, however, we see that there are more international firms taking advantage of the incentives rather than local firms,” said Trade department Special Trade Representative Josephine C. Romero.

Under the 2011 Investment Priorities Plan of the government, creative industries are allowed to enjoy an income tax holiday.

The Business Processing Association of the Philippines said on April 11 that revenues of the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc. — which specializes in 2D and 3D animation catering to clients in the US, France and Japan, among others — fell to $128 million in 2011 as the sector lost some contracts due to competition from other countries like China.

On the other hand, Game Developers Association of the Philippines — which creates and publishes interactive games and entertainment content for various platforms — saw its revenues grow to $8 million.

Mr. Guggenheim said one of the ways to encourage the local animation and gaming industry to grow is by creating a road map detailing how the private sector and the government can work together. “This road map lay out the value chain where the government and the industry can work together to bring work for the talent here and to develop their skills further. There is a need for support to market Filipino made productions to develop a sustainable local market,” said Mr. Guggenheim.

He added the government could also start by introducing industry players to potential investors and avenues where their products can be shown.

Ms. Romero said the government wants to provide an environment where the local market will also be attractive to local animation and gaming firms thus giving them a choice to stay or go abroad.

Article location : co founder urges local animation sector to develop own content&id=55669

Helping hand from the IFC

Developing projects which help reduce green house emissions and mitigate the impact of climate change will benefit from the support of the IFC. In the Commercial Building Sector where 50% of the power generated from the  grid is consumed its help in this sector can make a big difference.

IFC lends support to eco-friendly projects  
By Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) Updated July 18, 2012


MANILA, Philippines – The International Finance Corp. (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank Group, is continuing its support on eco-friendly projects in the Philippines.

In a statement, IFC said it signed a memorandum of understanding with Mandaluyong City “to develop building regulations that will help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and mitigate the impact of climate change.”

Specifically, the IFC will help the city in drafting a green building ordinance requiring new buildings in Mandaluyong City to include environmentally-friendly features in their design, construction and operation.

“These features will promote more efficient use of energy, water, and construction materials and better waste management,” IFC said.

“This project will eventually help all of us in adapting to the impact of climate change as well as in reducing the city’s operational costs,” said Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos, adding that power rates are continuously increasing.

The IFC will help build local capacity and promote public awareness for local regulators, developers and other stakeholders.

Such projects will show the financial viability of environment-friendly construction, IFC said.

“This green building initiative will help attract environmentally responsible businesses to the city and make it a healthier and safer place to live and work in,” said Jesse Ang, IFC’s resident representative in the Philippines.

Commercial and residential buildings in the country consumed more than 35 million megawatt hours of electricity in 2010, accounting for about 50 percent of the country’s total electricity supplied from the grid, data from the Department of Energy show.

The Philippines ranks third in the list of countries most vulnerable to climate change, according to a study of the UN University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security.

The World Bank earlier said losses from natural disasters account for more than 0.5 percent of the Philippines’ gross domestic product annually. Climate change is expected to increase these losses further.

In June, China Banking Corp. signed an agreement with the IFC, with the bank committing to develop a financial lending program for clean energy and energy efficient projects.

How to run a movie business of a different kind

Michael is known to be a film maker of a controversial kind given the subjects he does. However, reading this article I find he also has some strange but good business sense judging how he started this movie theater and film festival.  And it all started with the desire to make use of an abandoned Theater, getting volunteers to help rebuild and run it, show movies people want to watch, and of course he also gave some start-up money to do it. The result is a property asset which is operating again, people actively being involved with some as volunteers, and a community activity that will hopefully will revitalized the spirit of its residents.  I consider what he did a social venture and I hope more of us do consider doing something similar too.

From the Huffinton Post

I Built a Movie Theater — and a Film Festival — and I’d Like You to Come to It

Posted: 07/15/2012 9:57 am


Here’s something I haven’t spoken much about outside of Michigan, mainly because I live here and I like what modicum of privacy I have in this place I call home and where I try to live a “normal” life. For instance, not a day goes by here where a Republican doesn’t stop and shake my hand. Seriously.

But I think it’s time you guys come here and hang out with me! So consider this your invite to make your way to Traverse City, Michigan, where each summer I hold a film festival that is a favorite for filmmakers all over the world. More on this in a bit.

For the past seven years, in addition to my day job of making movies and writing books, I have spent a significant amount of my time volunteering in the town where I live in northern Michigan. Our state, as you know, has been in a long-term depression (say the word “recession” around here and someone is likely to punch you).

So I decided to devote my time (and resources) to help the area I now call home by getting its long-closed downtown movie palace restored and reopened. Downtown Traverse City was doing better than most Michigan cities – which means that there were “only” five or six stores on our block that were boarded up (or “bombed out”), and the nearby elementary school had “only” 70% of its students qualifying for the federal free lunch program (i.e., they lived near or in poverty).

The local Rotary foundation owned the large, ornate empty theater, which had not shown movies in 20 or so years (a theater has stood on this site for nearly a hundred years). I would often pass by it and think, “What a shame this isn’t open” – but it was no different than any of the hundreds of other downtowns I’ve seen all over America. The locally-owned independent movie theaters were abandoned years ago (how I wish some of you younger than me could have seen a movie in one of these grand rooms!) in favor of corporate chains and indifferent, cookie-cutter multiplexes where one low-paid projectionist runs the projectors for all 14 screens. You can bet that really improves the sound and picture quality of the films being slammed onto those screens – and the pleasurable experience of “goin’ to the movies” has now become just another way to kill some time in between texting and talking to your girlfriend during the show.

The $10 popcorn helped make things better, too.

So I had this epiphany. What would a movie theater look like if it were designed, built and run by the people who actually make the movies? Why are we, the filmmakers, never consulted about what the movie-going experience should be like? After all, that’s our art, our creative work, up there on those screens. In no other art form does the artist NOT have a say in how their art is presented to the public.

I asked the Rotary group to give me the theater for a dollar, and we eventually settled on a dollar. I set up a community-based non-profit organization that would own the theater. Four others and I donated all the money needed to bring the theater back to life. I promised that we’d complete the entire rebuild in six weeks. And we did. Hundreds of people pitched in to hammer nails and make curtains – and the new “Historic State Theatre of Traverse City” was opened in 2007 with its 584 brand new made-in-Michigan seats, the biggest screen within 150 miles, a state-of-the-art sound system, a big new balcony built from scratch, a complete restoration of the 1940s art deco décor, and aconcession stand where you could get drinks and popcorn for just $2.00. I, as the theater’s chair and volunteer programmer, promised to bring “just great movies,” especially those movies that never make it to areas like northern Michigan.

Since our grand reopening, the State Theatre has been one of the largest-grossing independent art houses in North America. We have landed in the top 10 highest-grossing theaters for a total now of 138 weeks. And, get this – for 62 of those weeks, we were the #1 theater in the country for the film we were showing during each of those weeks. This success has happened while movie attendance nationwide has dropped in the last decade – and with us, it has happened in a depressed state and in a rural, somewhat politically conservative area where the nearest four-year college is 100 miles away.

I am going to make an audacious (but true) claim: You will not walk into a nicer, friendlier, better movie theater anywhere in the U.S. than the State Theatre of Traverse City. I’m not kidding. When you leave you’ll want to know why every movie-going experience can’t be like this one.

How have we done it?

1. We have no desire to make a profit (e.g., you will never see a commercial before a movie). All decisions are based on what’s best for the patrons and the community and the art of cinema. We do not share the cynical attitude of the cineplex owners when they say, “We make our real money on the popcorn!” We, instead, make the money we need to run the State by simply showing only good movies. We’ve spent every day in the black for our entire five years.

2. We are a mostly volunteer-run operation. Hundreds of people work a shift or two a month to ensure the nonprofit theater’s existence. This theater is essentially owned and run by its stakeholders – the citizens of the area. Everyone has a vested interest in its success.

3. If we catch you texting, checking your email, or talking on your cell phone during the movie, you will be banned from the theater for life.

Now, back to the reason I want you to come to Traverse City in a few weeks. Two years before my neighbors and I got the State re-opened, I started a film festival in Traverse City called, naturally, the “Traverse City Film Festival.” It is now in its eighth year – and I would like to invite you to come here this summer and experience It. It will be unlike anything else you’ve done. During the six days of the festival I’ll be showing a great mix of fiction, nonfiction and foreign films I’ve discovered in the past year – 91 of them in all. In 2011, the combined attendance at all of our festival movies was 128,000! The whole event takes place in this small town that sits on a beautiful bay that’s part of Lake Michigan. Tickets are cheap, and many events – like the nightly outdoor films we show on a 100-foot screen by the water – are free. You can park your car and walk (or take the free shuttle bus) to any of the 5 indoor venues. This includes the State Theatre and the four other historic buildings that we turn into first-class movie houses. Over half of the films will have their director or stars appearing in person. This year, we are proud to have with us Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon and the legendary German director Wim Wenders, among many others.

This summer’s festival runs from Tuesday, July 31st through Sunday, August 5th. Tickets to the public go on sale next Saturday (but if you join the “Friends of the Festival” you can buy your tickets starting today [Sunday]).

So, come see me in Traverse City! I promise, you won’t regret it, you’ll have a great time, you’ll see some fantastic movies, and you’ll meet a lot of good people.

And you’ll see what an old-school movie theater and a popular film festival have done to pump millions of dollars into the local economy. There are no more boarded-up stores on our block, and we now are helping and advising other Michigan cities about re-opening their historic movie palaces.

It’s a little story I’ve wanted to share with you for some time, and now I have.

Online Home building is going to be expensive or cheaper

While I sit and ponder doing a similar start-up, I read this article of another person doing the same for AUD$1.5 million. Makes me think I will need to raise first my capital sufficient for this purpose. Or use the latest online software.

From StartUpSmart

Start-up Profiles

By Michelle Hammond
Monday, 16 July 2012 was founded three years ago by Morry Schwartz, who recognised an opportunity to revamp how real estate agents do business. enables real estate agents to reach more buyers, in what Schwartz says is a quicker, cheaper and more attractive way.


Schwartz, who is the chairman of property development firm Pan Urban, is also the publisher of politics and current affairs publications Quarterly Essay and The Monthly.


The website belongs to start-up company Dog No. 7, which, according to Schwartz, is designed to reflect the fact that it is always one step ahead of the game.


Schwartz, who has since been joined in the business by friends Mark Copley and Vicki Williams, talks to StartupSmart about how is attempting to get in front of the competition.


What prompted you to launch What niche did you identify?


I launched and its sister site because, in my real estate development business, I was amazed at how expensive it was to advertise on the existing real estate listings portals.


Using the existing real estate portals as a consumer, I also found them to be slow to load, cluttered with advertising and ugly to look at.


I wanted to create something that was different from what was already available in all of those ways: it would be free to advertise basic listings and less expensive for premium listings.


It would be fast to load. And it would be clean and attractive to look at.


Both and belong to our start-up company, Dog No. 7. We picked that name because the CEO of our biggest competitor had said that Dog No. 7 is the one he worries about.


He compared the business to a dog race and said that Dog No. 2 always follows what Dog No. 1 does, and Dog No. 3 follows in the footsteps of Dog No. 2.


But Dog No. 7 is so far behind that he realises he can’t beat the top dogs by following in their footsteps.


Instead, he decides to win by cutting across the middle of the arena. The moral of the story is to always watch out for Dog No. 7.


How did you fund the business and what were your start-up costs?


I lent money to the business to fund its start-up. I’ve invested about $1.5 million so far.


How many staff do you have?


We have seven excellent people on our team. That includes myself, our CEO and an editor, a social media and advertising manager, a salesperson and two web developers.


Every one of them is on top of their game. I’m proud to have them working with me.


How do you promote the business?


Our business depends on consumers being able to find as many real estate listings as possible when they come to our site.


We are currently focused on acquiring more of that listings content and then driving web users to them. We are not doing much brand and awareness advertising as yet.


We put a lot of effort into being found online because we are an online business. That means search marketing and search optimisation are the biggest line items.


How do you stand out in the market? What’s your point/s of difference?


I already mentioned that we provide free basic listings and much less expensive premium advertising to real estate agents.


I also mentioned that we focus on being cleaner to look at, faster loading and more enjoyable to the consumer.


When we tested speed earlier this year, our web pages loaded twice as fast as our big competitors’ pages. That’s better for the consumer.


In addition, our key strength is the fact that we refuse to do priority listings.


When you type in a property search on our competitors’ sites, they return a bunch of listings results, but they don’t show you the most recent listings first by default.


Instead, they take money from agents to promote certain listings above others, and then they make sure you see all those “priority” listings first.


We decided to give people a break and always put the most recent listings first, so that you don’t have to scroll through listing after listing just to get to the ones that you haven’t seen yet.


After all, when you’re searching for property you can find yourself checking the site for new listings several times a day.


People tell us that our system is much more productive and enjoyable to use, and it is one of the things that brings them back to the site for repeat visits.


What are your revenue projections for 2012/13?


We don’t share our revenue numbers, but it’s fair to say our primary focus in 2012 is to acquire content. Revenue is a secondary focus right now, although it is growing.


What’s the biggest risk you face?


We’re growing steadily and quickly in content, traffic and revenue, so we are confident we will hit our growth targets.


I suppose the biggest risk is that online technology is getting cheaper and easier every day. That lowers the bar and makes it easier for new competitors to pop up.


We are confident, however, because launching a website is the easy part. Building relationships with agents and consumers is much harder.


Is there anything you would have done differently?


It’s not that we’re perfect, but we have learned from the mistakes we’ve made. No one mistake stands out as a horrible error that I would go back in time to correct.


What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?


Invest in good people and reward them. Building a business is all about people and relationships.

10 option to raise start-up capital and get mentoring

Sometimes a cross border opportunity may require a setting up a new start-up to serve the business opportunity. And you happen to be the start-up that needs capital and more importantly mentoring here 10 options you can option to address them.

From StartUpSmart


10 top start-up competitions to check out

By Oliver Milman
Monday, 16 July 2012

feature-bus-thumbThe world of start-up finance used to be fairly simple – you’d go to friends and family, your bank manager or, if you were lucky, a business angel.


Increasingly, however, start-ups are using competitions as a way to scoop up much-needed funds in the crucial formative stage.


Tax app finder goCatch – run by two young Sydney entrepreneurs – managed to amass a handy $500,000 from, in part, success in pitch competitions. The venture continued its winning streak in a Microsoft-backed competition last week.


Competitions don’t just provide funds of course – they can offer even more valuable intangibles, such as mentoring, networking or even just a first-hand lesson on how you should pitch your business to potential investors or clients.


So which competitions should you be applying to? We have picked out 10 of the best from around the world. To check out each competition, click on the tabs below.



1. The Million Pound Startup




Billed as a cross between X Factor and Dragon’s Den, The Million Pound Startup competition is the latest initiative aimed at capturing the best ideas of would-be entrepreneurs.


The UK-based competition is open to any enterprise in the world, as long as they have under £1 million ($1.522 million) in revenue and have an idea, product or business that’s less than 10 years old.


The winning start-up will get £1 million in investment, with organisers promising that they will help propel the business to £100 million revenue.


The catch? You’ll have to relocate to London in order to claim your prize.


Kam Star, founder of the event, told The Guardian: “This is the X Factor approach – just as they see that £1m record contract being dangled by Simon Cowell and get inspired by that, we want people to get something on paper and move forward.”


2. Marshall International Case Competition




It may be less cash-drenched than The Million Pound Startup competition, but this Californian event is a great way to test the rigour of your business plan if you’re still a student.


The University of Southern California competition requires teams from premier business schools to solve a real problem using simulated business conditions to formulate workable, action-oriented recommendations.


The teams are mentored by academic advisors, including alumni from previous case competitions, who coach them so they can learn from their experience.


Judges at this year’s iteration included representatives from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Google, Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, Boeing and Ernst & Young.


To demonstrate that you have a genuine chance, this year’s competition was won by four business students from Queensland University of Technology.


3. Startmate




While prize money is regularly thrown at promising start-ups in the US, it’s traditionally been rather thin on the ground in Australia.


Happily, the situation has improved markedly in just the last 18 months, with a wave of new initiatives.


Startmate has staked a claim as the premier competition for tech start-ups, offering a decent chunk in initial funding – $25,000 each in return for a 7.5% stake – and ongoing mentoring from some of the leading lights of Australia’s tech scene.


After each of the five chosen start-ups in last year’s inaugural competition got funding – with one, Grabble, even being snapped up by US retail giant Walmart – Startmate returned this year with an expanded program, picking eight lucky participants earlier this year.


The eight winners selected for the inaugural Startmate have been taken to Silicon Valley to see how they do it stateside.


“Each one of these start-ups has incredibly talented technical founders and they are keen to build businesses that are the best in the world,” Startmate co-founder Niki Scevak told StartupSmart.


“They don’t just want to adopt a US trend, such as Groupon, to Australia. They are ambitious and they want to be on the world stage.”


“I’ve been positively surprised by the quality of applicants at every step.”


4. Global StartCamp




IBM deserves a tip of the hat for its support of start-ups. Not only has it committed $US150 million to the Startup America project in an attempt to unearth the top entrepreneurial talent in the US, it has also backed a global odyssey to find start-ups that can build a “smarter planet.”


The StartCamp scheme – a networking and mentoring initiative that aims to link promising start-ups with investors and other help – held 17 different events around the world in 2010 and 2011 and will be landing in Australia for the first time this year.


2012 will also see the introduction of ‘KickStarts’ – one or two day events with a similar structure to SmartCamp events from previous years, enabling start-ups to receive mentoring from world-class advisors.


Selected finalists from the KickStart events will have the opportunity to advance to the four SmartCamp regional events.


This travelling start-up jamboree will be arriving in Sydney on September 6.


5. MassChallenge




Challenging IBM for the title of the ‘world’s biggest start-up competition’ is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with its MassChallenge competition.


Start-ups from across the world can apply to MassChallenge, which invites 125 selected finalists to Boston. The top dozen companies split $1 million in funding, as well as receive free business tools and mentorship.


The competition’s website says: “MassChallenge is the largest-ever start up accelerator and competition, and the first to support high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs with no strings attached.”


Start-ups are able to access a four-month accelerator program and $10 million “in kind” support. Best of all, it’s open to any venture around the world, with no equity given up in return for taking part.


The 236 start-ups supported in the 2010 and 2011 Accelerators have already raised over $250 million in outside funding and created 2,150 new jobs.


6. Women 2.0




Women 2.0, founded by Shaherose Charania and Angie Chang, is a US-based global network and social platform for aspiring and current female founders of technology ventures.


The Women 2.0 PITCH Startup Competition, held annually since 2007, is a global competition open to early-stage ventures operating in the tech scene.


To be eligible, companies must have a female in the founding team and a technologist, which could be an engineer, scientist, mathematician or biologist.


The venture must be in beta, which means a prototype is in existence or the product is already on the market, and cannot have raised or received more than $1 million in funding.


Applications are reviewed by online judges before finalists compete at a conference. The winning team is paired with a leading venture capital firm.


7. Startup Bus




Operating at an even greater breakneck speed than the likes of Startup Weekend, the Startup Bus competition requires teams of strangers to band together to come up with a business concept and launch a website in just 48 hours.


The teams have to do this while travelling on a fleet of WiFi enabled buses heading to Austin, Texas for the SXSW Festival.


The team behind TripMedi, a joint Startup Bus winner at last year’s SXSW, was headed by an Australian lawyer, Roland Dillon.


There was no Aussie winner this year but three tech innovators from Down Under – Bart Jellema, Scott Cowley and Ivan Vanderbyl – did come up with a new technology, dubbed Year In Print, to help social network users preserve their digital lives.


Get lucky and be pitched together with a talented team and you can get your winning idea off the ground in this rather unlikely travelling setting.


8. We Media PitchIt Challenge




The beauty of some US-based start-up competitions is that, if you win, you don’t have to give up any equity in return for seed funding.


One such competition is the We Media PitchIt Challenge, aimed at innovative media and tech start-ups. Two winners are handed $25,000 each, without relinquishing any stake in their businesses.


The down side – if you can call it that – is that should you be shortlisted, you have to travel to New York to pitch your idea. The good news is that the competition is actively searching for Aussie entrants.


Last year, Andrew Nachison, founder and MD of We Media, told StartupSmartthat he’d “love to see some strong entries from Australia.”


9. SXSW Accelerator




The novelty element of the Startup Bus competition may have grabbed it the media headlines, but the most worthwhile start-up competition at SXSW could well be its Accelerator program, held with Microsoft Biz Spark.


This year, eight budding entrepreneurs emerged from the field as winners after demonstrating their products to a panel of judges that included Christine Herron, director of Intel Capital, and, bizarrely, large-panted 1990s rapping sensation MC Hammer.


Microsoft hasn’t been slack in taking the concept to Australia – last week, Microsoft named Sydney-based app goCatch as the best start-up in the Asia Pacific region.


10. Enterprize Business Plan Competition




The number of entrepreneurial courses delivered by Australian universities is steadily rising and, with them, various start-up groups and competitions have emerged.


Melbourne University group Student Entrepreneurs has created the Melbourne University Entrepreneurs’ Challenge, which provides prizes of up to $5,000 for students with a winning business plan.


There’s also the University of Sydney’s Genesis Entrepreneurship Competition, which awards prizes in two categories via a one-page proposal.


However, the real standout is the University of Queensland’s Enterprize Business Plan Competition. Not only does the winning team get $100,000 to commercialise their idea, the competition is open to business plans from student and non-student alike.

We will all be forgotten after the 3rd generation

I read this article after I saw the title and was curious about the subject. The article tells us the survival of a business even if family owned rarely continues pass beyond the 3rd generation. And this statistical rule while applies to a family business also applies to political life. Its a good information to know and remember that even most successful business (or politician) will only last for so long even if his heir continue the business (or the vocation).

From BusinessWorld Philippines

July 16, 2012

Political life beyond the 3rd generation

Families dominate business, media and politics in the Philippines but very few maintain their dominance beyond the third generation. However, when one family loses, voluntarily or involuntarily, its influence or power, this then passes on to another family.

This phenomenon has been proven in empirical studies, and is considered to be the result of Asian culture which places the family as the basic unit of society as contrasted with the Western world where the individual is the basic unit.

There are extensive studies about family businesses. One major finding is that family businesses that reach the third generation and beyond, like the Roxas-Ayala-Zobels and the Aboitizes, are very rare.

There are hardly any comparative studies on families in politics. One rare book is The Rulemakers: How the Wealthy and Well Born Dominate Congress by Coronel, Chua, Rimban and Cruz.

In this column I have chosen as case studies the composition of the Senate in 1946 and the winning candidates for the Senate and the House of Representatives in the 1953 elections. Our senators and congressmen are a very good representative sampling of our country’s national leadership.

The 1945 Senate was the first senate elected by an independent Philippines. The 1953 elections took place almost 60 years ago, which is normally the time span of two generations.

May 25, 1946, 11:05 a.m., was the opening session of the first independent Philippine Senate. There were 21 senators present when the roll call was read. They were Jose Avelino, Vicente Francisco, Melecio Arranz, Mariano Cuenco, Ramon Torres, Enrique Magalona, Olegario Clarin, Salipada Pendaturn, Proceso Sebastian, Domingo Imperial, Emiliano Tria Tirona, Romas Confesor, Carlos Garcia, Ramon Diokno, Pedro Hernaez, Nicolas Buendia, Jose Vera, Alejo Mabanag, Tomas Cabili, Jose Romero and Eulogio Rodriguez, Sr. The three senators absent were Vicente Sotto, Rama and Saramain.

Of the twenty-four families that these senators represented, only one — Sotto — has a descendant in the present senate. However, the original Sotto became a national leader by virtue of being a Cebuano political leader. The present Senator Sotto became a senator not because he was descended from a political family but because of his prominence in the entertainment world.

It can therefore be concluded that of the twenty-four political families in the Senate in 1946, only one (4%) survived beyond the second generation. This is also a typical statistical finding for family businesses.

In a study of the 1953 elections, Jorge Coquia stated that senatorial candidates were chosen because of their national and regional political leadership. The political tickets were representative of the dominant national and regional political families at that time.

The eight-man Nacionalista Party slate consisted of Fernando Lopez for the Western Visayas; Eulogio Rodriguez for Manila and the surrounding provinces; Lorenzo Tanada for Southern Tagalog; Edmundo Cea for Bikol; Mariano Cuenco for the Cebuano votes; Alejo Mabanag for the Pangasinan and the Ilocano votes; Ruperto Kangleon for Eastern Visayas; and Emmanuel Pelaez for Mindanao.

The Liberal Party also chose national and regional political leaders which included Jose Avelino for Eastern Visayas; Camilo Osias from the Ilocos region; Geronima Pecson from Pangasinan; Pablo David from Pampanga; Jacinto Borja from Bohol; Vicente Madrigal from Bikol; Salipada Pendatun from the Muslim region; and Jose Figueras from Manila.

The presidential candidates were Elpidio Quirino from Ilocos Sur and Ramon Magsaysay from Zambales. The vice-presidential candidates were Jose Yulo from Western Visayas and Carlos Garcia from Bohol.

The national winners in the 1953 elections were Ramon Magsaysay for President and Carlos Garcia for Vice-President. The eight Senatorial winners were Fernando Lopez, Lorenzo Tanada, Eulogio Rodriguez, Edmundo Pelaez, Edmundo Cea, Mariano Cuenco, Alejo Mabanag, and Ruperto Kangleon.

Out of the 20 political families that were national candidates in 1953, only two or 10% have family members still nationally active. These two are former Senator Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. (2nd generation) and Congressman Erin Tanada (3rd generation). Again these are statistics similar to the survival rate of family businesses.

In 1953, 102 candidates were elected to the House of Representatives. While almost all of them belonged to political families, I count only around ten families that are still dominant two or three generations later. Among those elected and whose families remain active were: Lorenzo Ziga (Albay); Felix Fuentebella (Camarines Norte ); Miguel Cuenco (Cebu); Ramon Durano (Cebu); Ferdinand Marcos (Ilocos Norte); Floro Crisologo (Ilocos Sur); Francisco Ortega (La Union); Daniuel Romualdez (Leyte); Lorenzo Teves (Negros Oriental); and Diosdado Macapagal (Pampanga). After a time span of two or three generations, this is a survival rate of around ten per cent (10%). If I missed one or two families, there will still be no significant change in the statistics.

If we look at the composition of the present/2012 Senate, there are, at best, three who are third generation politicians, namely Guingona, Recto and Osmena. This is a 12% third generation survival rate, which is higher than those of family businesses. There are 6 second generation families, namely Cayetano, Escudero, Pimentel, Estrada, Marcos and Defensor. This is a survival rate of around 25%, which may seem unusually high.

Does this mean that we will see political families with a higher third-generation survival rate than business families? I do not believe this will happen. The dynamics of families in business and politics will reassert itself and third generation survivors will be less than 5% as has been the past norm. This means that statistically, less than half of the existing second generation families will survive as political families onto the third generation. In fact, at present there are no fourth generation national political families that I am aware of, while there are merely a few in the business sector.

While families will continue to dominate the realm of politics, no family so far has continued its reign beyond the third generation. While this may be possible in the future as what has occurred in business, the probability of it happening is highly unlikely.

Dr. Elfren S. Cruz is a professor of Strategic Management at the MBA Program, Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business, De La Salle University. Please send comments or questions to

Article location : life beyond the 3rd generation&id=55234

Focus on making the right climate present

Part of the problem or shall I say challenge of attracting foreign investment in the Philippine is the investment climate present.  And there are a variety of reasons why. But not impossible to do if only we put our best efforts in it. One way mentioned is providing industry support.

From BusinessWorld Philippines

July 15, 2012

Improving the investment climate

The development of the private sector is key to a country’s long-term economic growth and poverty reduction. Steady increases in investment and productivity underpin the evolution of the private sector. Investment and productivity growth critically hinge on the quality of the investment climate. Fostering a sound investment climate is a fundamental responsibility of the government for the country to achieve rapid, sustained and inclusive economic growth.

The investment climate can be defined as the institutional and policy environment that influences the actual and potential performance of business establishments. Three broad sets of factors make up the overall investment environment: macro fundamentals, institutions and governance, and infrastructure.

Macro fundamentals include social and political stability, macroeconomic stability (e.g., sustainable fiscal and external balances, realistic exchange rate, low inflation and interest rates), and competitive markets. Institutions and governance refer to transparency and efficiency in regulation, taxation, and legal system; strong and well-functioning financial sector; labor market flexibility and skilled labor force. Infrastructure concerns the availability and quality of physical infrastructure such as transportation (roads, ports, and airports), telecommunications, power and water supply.

With globalization and more intense competition, a favorable business environment assumes even greater importance to draw in foreign direct investment (FDI) and new technology. This in turn can complement local capital and technology to produce exports besides domestic goods. This is how the Philippines’ Asian neighbors have been able to achieve their economic dynamism.

A recent Asian Development Bank report on the Philippines, “Taking the Right Road to Inclusive Growth”, argues that the economy has relied for too long on the “one leg” of services that today account for nearly 60% of gross domestic product (GDP), while industry’s share has plummeted from 39% to 32% in a matter of a decade. Yet the country brags over its being the world’s third largest business process outsourcing (BPO) center after India and Canada, thanks to its continuing double-digit growth.

But BPO absorbs only about 1.0% of the labor force, of which still many continue to be un-/under-employed. To be hired in BPO one must be a college graduate, which means the millions of poor and relatively uneducated don’t stand the glimmer of a chance. Hence, pursuing the BPO channel to help foster economic growth — more so the inclusive type — will likely be a lost cause. This issue is somewhat akin to overseas labor migration which requires skills and for which the remittances benefit significantly more the higher-income households (see my BusinessWorld “Introspective” piece, 2 April 2012).

By contrast, our Asian neighbors put emphasis on promoting the “other leg” of industry, shifting from the traditional primary sector to this productive and labor-intensive secondary sector. Industry attracted FDI, produced exports, created more jobs, and rapidly reduced poverty.

Our country is coming in late in the intensely competitive FDI and development game. It needs to seriously redouble its efforts to improve the business environment. About a decade ago, when I led the first ADB investment climate study in Asia, the Philippines was at or near the bottom of the investment climate ranking. Now comes the 2012 UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) World Investment Report (WIR) which hardly gives us a sigh of relief.

The WIR has three main indices: (i) Inward FDI Attraction Index — the average of a country’s percentile rankings in FDI inflows and inflows as a share of GDP (183 countries covered); (ii) Inward FDI Potential Index — a composite of market attractiveness, availability of low-cost labor and skills, enabling infrastructure, and presence of natural resources (179 countries); and (iii) FDI Contribution Index — encompassing valued added, employment, exports, tax revenue, wages and salaries, R&D expenditures, and capital expenditures (77 countries). Here we focus on the latest (2011) rankings among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members (the smaller the number, the higher the ranking).

As to the Attraction Index, the best is Singapore, as expected, with a score of 3, followed by Vietnam (13), Malaysia (36), Thailand (48), Indonesia (72), and the Philippines (137) is at the bottom of ASEAN 10.

Concerning the Potential Index, the Philippines (51) does better than Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Brunei Darussalam but not vis-a-vis the other five which are topped by Indonesia (9) owing to its abundant natural resources and large market with rising purchasing power. Regarding the “enabling infrastructure” component of this index, the Philippines (111) is also in the lower half with the new members of ASEAN. It’s in the “availability of low-cost labor and skills” where the Philippines (10) fares relatively well along with Thailand (4), Indonesia (2), and Malaysia (15). The ASEAN latecomers don’t have the data.

Turning to the Contribution Index, among the six ASEAN countries with the data, the Philippines (60) also ranks at the bottom, with Malaysia (7) highest followed by Singapore (13), Thailand (16), Cambodia (19), and Indonesia (45).

Logically, the effectiveness of the Attraction and Potential indices should be reflected in yearly investment inflows which are also available for 2010 from UNCTAD. There are no surprises. Excepting Singapore which is sui generis, Indonesia tops with $13.3 billion ($8.3 billion in 2005); Malaysia, $9.1 billion ($4.1 billion, 2005); Vietnam, $8.2 billion ($2.0 billion, 2005), and Thailand, $5.8 billion ($8.1 billion, 2005). The Philippines tops the lower half with $1.7 billion which is down from $1.8 billion in 2005.

To revive and strengthen the industry “leg” of the economy — a principal task of the private sector — the public sector must quickly improve the investment climate. The present government has done fairly well in enhancing the macroeconomic fundamentals and beginning to streamline the bureaucracy and regulatory system. Still, much more urgency and effort are called for to bring infrastructure up to par with that in the country’s Asian neighbors. Faster-tracking the public-private partnership projects will be a concrete step.

Let’s make “virtuous impatience” prevail over our accustomed “vicious patience!”

Prof. Ernesto M. Pernia is with the UP School of Economics and is a research fellow of the Institute for Development and Econometric Analysis.

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Article location : the investment climate&id=55172

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