KPMG RG Manabat & Co., also known as KPMG in the Philippines, held the Innovation Summit on July 20, 2023. In its three-year history, this was the first time it was held as a hybrid event. In person at Fairmont, Makati, tech and business leaders from various industries spent the day learning from four panel discussions and networking with their peers. Virtual attendance through Zoom is free for anyone who wants to learn about the latest technologies that help organizations thrive in this digital landscape. This year’s topics are smart cities, ESG tech, the next wave of automation, and industry disruptors.
Digital Government Center
Also launched by KPMG RG Manabat & Co. the Digital Government Center (DGC), the company’s one-stop shop for national government agencies and local government units (LGUs). As per the Innovation Summit’s theme of Making It Happen: From Innovative Ideas to Execution, KPMG will assist government bodies in their digital transformation journeys. Services range from strategy and road map development, design of citizen-centered solutions for digitizing and automating services and processes, and project management, to civil staff development through training and certifications.
Emmanuel “Noel” P. Bonoan, KPMG Vice Chairman, COO, and Head of Advisory, said that KPMG has made a big bet on tech in the Philippines and is focused on transforming businesses using digital automation. Since the LGUs are the first touch point in our entire lives, the DGC wants to focus on them. For KPMG’s future services, they intend to deploy their traditional financial knowledge in new applications.
Sharon G. Dayoan, KPMG Chairman and CEO, said that DGC is not free, but KPMG is willing to invest in LGUs that want to continue the digitalization journey. The technology has a cost, but the long-term benefits are there. Of KPMG’s offerings, he cited that after the pandemic, the number of their advisory services began to grow to cover their audit and assurance. With growth came an increase in staff. KPMG provides courses to help their new employees think differently to serve their clients better.
Jallain Marcel S. Manrique, KPMG Head of Technology Consulting, said that the Philippines is not a first mover. We are more adopters. Things happen slowly, but adoption is sudden. When asked if the Philippines is ready for the digital future, he said it is not a matter of readiness. Sometimes, you just have to do it. If AI takes over, a large workforce will be displaced. So as early as now, people need to upskill or they will be left behind. With more automation, KPMG can focus on providing more insights and advisory services.
Global Tech Innovator
The Innovation Summit is also the culmination of the KPMG Global Tech Innovator in the Philippines. The competition showcases start-ups and entrepreneurs who are innovating to become tomorrow’s technology leaders. The winner of the local leg will represent the country in the global final in Lisbon, Portugal later this year. Finalists Packworks, Peddlr, and Prosperna gave it their all for the final pitch.
Prosperna is an e-commerce platform that offers business owners the opportunity to launch their online store in just a few minutes, with no coding skills required. Lola Nena is one of the famous customers.
Prosperna uses a product-led approach and product distribution partnerships to grow the company. CEO and founder Dennis Velasco comes from a Silicon Valley background. He leads the company with Ruel Nopal, Head of Engineering and Security, and Francis “Fro” Oliva, Head of Business Development.
Packworks empowers sari-sari stores in the Philippines through scalable and accessible technology. They work in all aspects of the FMCG distribution supply chain and charge a take rate to each partner, except for the sari-sari store owners, their main customers. They are a data company for MNCs, a digital order taker for distributors, and an advertising and loyalty program platform for various merchants.
CEO, CTO, and cofounder Bing Tan believes that a strong economy is an inclusive economy. One of the sari-preneurs of Packworks, Ana Lou, can now take days off because she can leave her store with her family. Most of Packworks’ market is women with an average age of 55. They have teenage children who also help manage the stores. From the initial 14 days, onboarding will take just 1 day.
Peddlr provides a free POS and digital ledger that helps micro and small businesses in the Philippines better manage operations and generate profits. They have been operating for 2 years and now have 80 people. They reach out to their community of users to find out what matters most. In addition to helping improve the product, it builds trust. That’s why Peddlr’s retention rate is significantly higher than the 25% industry average for fintech apps.
Instead of burning money for exponential growth, CEO and founder Nel Laygo chose to gradually build the basics. Based in Catbalogan City, the company pays Metro Manila wages while spending in the province. By attracting local talent, he also established a narrative that success is not limited to Metro Manila and Cebu. And that is the case because one of the judges commented that Peddlr can be found all over Samar.
The judges are looking for a company whose business plan is sustainable and can be scaled internationally. Peddlr, the crowd favorite, took home the gold. Packworks was second, and Prosperna took third place. Congratulations to the finalists! Let’s hope they implement more innovative ideas in the near future.
KPMG in the Philippines