For an entrepreneur to become successful and make a contribution to his country or community, he or she will require a number of positive assets. For, however great the ideas they have might be, unless certain factors are in play the entrepreneur is almost doomed to failure.
Under the sub-index, ‘Attitudes’, the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI) – an annual indicator supplied by the Washington-based Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute – assesses the following: ‘Start-up Skills’, ‘Cultural Support’ and ‘Networking. The more of these the entrepreneur possesses, the greater the chances of success.
Here we explain those areas and show, in terms of them, how the Philippines fairs on the index in the context of the Philippines’ peer group, the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), and give a brief report card.
1. ‘Start-up Skills’ refers to the abilities required to start a business. The essential ingredients here are education and training, both of which develop the skills of the entrepreneur. This is not about theory or notions of starting and running a business; it’s about having the skill-set to do those things. Having a great idea is one thing; getting it to work in a complex commercial framework is quite another. The GEI ‘Start-up Skill’ scores are: Philippines, 0.51; Thailand, 0.41; Indonesia, 0.39; Malaysia, 0.32; Vietnam, 0.28; Laos, 0.15; Cambodia, 0.11; Myanmar, 0.07; Singapore, 0.03; Brunei, 0.00.
Leading Asean in this discipline shows that start-up skills are without question a strength within the Philippines’ entrepreneurial community. Certainly, the Philippines can’t rest on its laurels here but there’s no disputing it’s developed a solid base on which to build. Well done. B+.
2. ‘Cultural Support’ is defined as society’s perception of entrepreneurship – the degree to which societies respect, encourage and support their entrepreneurs. The more positive the view of this sector, the more likely it will attract the best and the brightest to it. One thing that will deter them, however, is corruption; high levels of corruption undermine the status of entrepreneurs. The GEI scores for this measure are: Singapore, 0.72; Brunei, 0.33; Indonesia, 0.30; Philippines, 0.29; Thailand, 0.29; Malaysia, 0.23; Vietnam, 0.21; Laos, 0.15; Myanmar, 0.12; Cambodia, 0.11.
This is an area that has to improve if the true potential of Filipino entrepreneurship is ever going to be realised. Entrepreneurs can do so much – they can come up with the ideas and the ways to implement them – but if society fails to recognise them and support them they stand little chance of success. It’s still possible, of course, but innovation should make its mark with the help of society, not despite the absence of that support. Meanwhile, corruption remains an abiding problem in the archipelago. Must try harder. C-.
3. ‘Networking’, for the purpose of this index, is a combination of an entrepreneur’s personal knowledge and his/her ability to use the Internet for business purposes. Entrepreneurs who have better networks are more successful. They can identify more viable opportunities, and access more and better resources. Here are the GEI scores for ‘Networking’. Malaysia, 0.68; Indonesia, 0.53; Brunei, 0.47; Singapore, 0.44; Thailand, 0.23; Laos, 0.22; Vietnam, 0.21; Philippines, 0.19; Myanmar, 0.11; Cambodia, 0.09.
Here the Philippines trails badly. And, frankly, we’re at a loss to know why. Filipinos are among the most tech-savvy in the region and have no problems whatsoever with social networking on line. Globally, Filipinos, along with Brazilians, spend more time on the Internet daily than anyone else. And, for example, while Indonesia has more Facebook accounts than anywhere else in the region, they only account for 48.24% of the country’s population; in the Philippines they account for a 66.79% penetration. Connecting with the rest of the world via cyberspace provides a tremendous networking asset and one which Filipino entrepreneurs are well capable of utilising. Needs to apply itself better. D.