UnionBank holds Ureka Forum in Baguio
(The Philippine Star) - September 18, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - UnionBank of the Philippines (UnionBank), as part of its commitment to make a difference in Philippine business communities, has been at the forefront of providing Filipinos with innovative banking and business solutions for decades. Starting with its EON Visa Debit Card, UnionBank was the first to offer its customers the convenience of conducting their banking transactions online rather than physically going to the banks themselves. The bank has also been conducting e-commerce training workshops to familiarize Filipino entrepreneurs with the platform and the vast advantages it offers.

These services are all part of UnionBank’s advocacy to promote inclusive innovation. By helping pursue development that can provide equal financial growth opportunities for Filipinos, the bank continues to empower more individuals and institutions socially and economically.

With this concept in mind, UnionBank has come up with an innovative, multi-faceted initiative that aims to help boost positive business practices among Filipino small and medium enterprises (SMEs): the Ureka Forum.

A good number of e-commerce fora have been taking place in the country. What makes the Ureka Forum stand out is the fact that it goes beyond merely talking about e-commerce by enabling various industries to make the difference in the local business sector.

“Real change requires real partnerships. Through the Ureka Forum, UnionBank and its consortium partners want to enable SMEs to fully utilize the Internet as a new channel for reaching out to a wider market, thus growing their respective businesses,” says Genaro Lapez, UnionBank’s executive vice president and head of Center for Strategic Partnerships.

Despite being recognized as one of Southeast Asia’s “hottest e-commerce markets,” the Philippines has yet to utilize e-commerce as a unique competitive advantage and a significant economic growth contributor. Currently, there are 50,000 local businesses and 50 million Filipinos engaged in the e-commerce cycle, making the sector a thriving economic environment estimated to grow to $2 billion in sales this 2015. This encouraging development has spurred the creation of the country’s 2020 e-commerce roadmap-a five-year business strategy spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to enable more local SMEs to harness the potential of e-commerce.

With the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) recently revealed as having the third highest per capita income in Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP)-coming right after NCR and Calabarzon-financial experts clearly see Baguio City as a potential hub for growing businesses spearheaded by local entrepreneurs. 

“Despite somewhat flying under the radar in terms of trade and business, Baguio City today remains a hub for investments, trade, and culture in Northern Luzon,” shares Mayor Mauricio Domogan of Baguio City. “We all know it as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, which is why its community of entrepreneurs have the unique opportunity to showcase their innovativeness and business smarts to an audience seeking something new but home-grown.” 

The Ureka Forum is  UnionBank and its consortium partners’-namely Air21, AMTI, DragonPay, Panahon TV, PLDT SME Nation, Shopinas, Janette Toral, and GeiserMaclang-way of affirming its commitment to empower the Filipino entrepreneur to succeed.

“As a platform for economic empowerment, the Ureka Forum puts together a community of experts and organizations that rally behind every Filipino’s capability to multiply growth even a hundred-fold through entrepreneurship that knows no boundaries,” adds Lapez. “Just like how people go to Baguio, to the City of Pines, to relax and unwind, we look at the Ureka Forum to provide a fresh air for e-Commerce in the Philippines.”

The Ureka Forum will convene leading businesses, institutions, and industry experts to provide a dynamic platform where local entrepreneurs can realize the potential of their businesses in the online world. The consortium intends to reach out directly to SMEs and customize solutions to truly enable them to grow beyond borders and promote local entrepreneurship to the fullest.

 

 

ACIRC BAGUIO CITY BUSINESS CITY OF PINES COMMERCE DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY FORUM GENARO LAPEZ GROSS REGIONAL DOMESTIC PRODUCT UNIONBANK UREKA FORUM
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