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6 November 2015


WASHINGTON, D.C.— An agreement to support technology-enabled entrepreneurship and allow Filipino game-changers in the digital economy to visit Silicon Valley in California was signed today at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC.

The US-Philippines Society (US-PHS) and the Silicon Valley Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that institutionalizes the linkage between the two organizations in supporting technology-enabled entrepreneurship. The MOA was signed by US-PHS Executive Director Hank Hendrickson and Ms. Christina Laskowski, STAC President.  The formal signing ceremony was witnessed by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., Ms. Christina Le of the U.S. Department of State, US-PHS President John Maisto, and other Embassy officials.

The MOA establishes a strong institutional linkage between US-PHS and STAC allowing the two organizations to collaborate and support technology-enabled entrepreneurship through STAC’s immersion programs, including its workshops, which will take place primarily in Silicon Valley located in California, USA.  The MOA also creates a platform for the promotion of entrepreneurial growth and leadership in the Philippines.

As an initial project, both organizations will work together in the execution early next year of a prototype Silicon Valley immersion program designed for the winners of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company’s (PLDT) SMART SME (Small  to Medium Enterprise) Nation “BeTheBoss” 2015 competition. This is intended as a first-step in a continuing process of high tech exchanges.

The program comes at the initiative of US-PHS Co-chair Manuel V. Pangilinan and is designed to promote private sector-based Philippines-US cooperation in the area of high tech education, business entrepreneurship, and opportunities for expanded bilateral trade.

The PLDT Smart SME Nation, in collaboration with Rappler, had launched the very first #BeTheBoss Awards as a new kind of initiative, using social media to undertake a crowd-sourced search aiming to recognize next generation entrepreneurs at the frontiers of the information and communications technology revolution.

There were over 500 nominations from across the Philippines. Public voting came down to the 15 strong finalists selected in a rigorous panel process that identified three finalists in each of five categories: 1) E-Commerce; 2) Social Media; 3) Customer Service; 4) Social Responsibility, and 5) Mobile Readiness. Five entrepreneurs were awarded as new Bosses on #BeTheBoss Awards night on Wednesday, October 28, at the Bonifacio Global City in the Philippines. Each of the five winners was recognized for pioneering efforts in modern technology.

This program emphasizes the significance of high tech education and entrepreneurship, which is consistent with the priorities of the 21 APEC Economies to promote MSME growth, generate employment and business opportunities. These priorities will be important features during the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Manila to be attended by APEC leaders including President Barack Obama.

In her remarks at the ceremony, Ms. Le lauded the project as “another demonstration of the strong bilateral relationship of the United States with the Philippines.” Ambassador Maisto characterized the program as exciting and modern, especially since it involved young entrepreneurs.

Ms. Laskowski expressed a strong sense of optimism and excitement about the program noting the “very healthy eco-system for investors and entrepreneurs” that now exists in the Philippines under the Aquino Administration. She also noted that such eco-system benefits not only the MSMEs that are active economic participants, but also the communities around them. “Technology-enabled entrepreneurship is also women empowering,” she added.

In his remarks during the signing ceremony, Ambassador Cuisia expressed the hope that “this institutional relationship that we have witnessed sealed this afternoon will result in projects that will allow the young men and women of our two great nations to learn from each other and unleash their collective creativity and entrepreneurship with a view to more productivity and competitiveness in the global market place. For truly, in this world transformed, the only limits to the creativity of our people, especially the young, are their imaginations.”

The US-Philippines Society is a 501c3 non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization that aims to broaden and expand interaction and understanding through basic research and/or applied research in the areas of security, trade, investments, tourism, the environment, history, education and culture between the United States and the Philippines which would benefit the American public and the people of the Philippines.

The Silicon Valley Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) is an organization of professionals with expertise in important areas of science and technology, and which provides strategic advisory assistance to the Philippines and United States, and promotes global holistic entrepreneurship. ###

6 November 2015

Silicon Valley Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) President Christina Laskowski and US-Philippines Society Executive Director Hank Hendrickson sign on 06 November 2015 a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) institutionalizing their linkage in supporting technology-enabled entrepreneurship.

6 November 2015

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. (rightmost) and US-Philippines Society President, Ambassador John Maisto (leftmost), witness the signing of the USPS-STAC Memorandum of Agreement on 06 November 2015.

6 November 2015

L-R: US-Philippines Society President, Ambassador John Maisto; Minister Patrick Chuasoto, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Philippine Embassy; Ms. Christina Laskowski, President of Silicon Valley Science and Technology Advisory Council; Ms. Christina Le, US Department of State; US-Philippines Society Executive Director Hank Hendrickson; and Mr. Raymond Batac, Commercial Counsellor at the Philippine Embassy.