Saturday, January 9, 2016

PLDT Bozz Awards: The Awarding Ceremony for 5 of the Top Technopreneurs in the Country's digital arena

2 weeks ago, I was invited by Ms. Millet Liberato of DDB PR to attend one of the biggest award ceremonies this month: the PLDT Bozz Awards Ceremony held in the Palace Pool Club, Bonifacio Global City. Together with Rappler, Voyager, Ideaspace, Bloomberg Philippines, Uber, Takatack and Airbnb, PLDT has been in the forefront of recognizing and incentivizing the contributions of a new generation of technopreneurs who have heavily utilized digital media to grow and improve their businesses. The Bozz Awards is a social media crowdsourcing search for these remarkable people. 

According to FVP and PLDT Smart SME Nation Head Kat Luna-Abelarde, the search was a success. Nominations for the Bozz have reached more than 150 percent. Also, the stories that surrounded these people were one for the books. They embodied the characteristics of a innovative digital entrepreneur.

The nominees were then reduced to 15, with three nominees for each of the five categories—Boss for Mobile Readiness, Boss for E-commerce, Boss for Social Responsibility, Boss for Social Media and Boss for Customer Service.

MobKard’s Carlo Calimon won the title as the Boss for Mobile Readiness for creating a product that increases accessibility to goods and services. MobKard is a mobile application  that incentivizes customers to spend by offering promos and discounts in restaurants or establishments that are at a close proximity to the customer. It doubles as a privilege card for loyal customers as well. 

Kimstore’s Kim Lato won the title as the Boss for E-commerce. Through the use of the internet, she created a venture that has become one of the most ubiquitous tech and gadget stores online.  Her store is known for its commitment to high quality, safe, and trustworthy online shopping of electronic consumer devices.

Kristine Reyes Lopez won as the Boss for Social Responsibility. This person is the one who effectively harnesses the power of technology for a notable cause. Her Messy Bessy Cleaners, Inc. produces and sells cleaning and personal care items made from biodegradable, non-toxic and all-natural materials. She does this in conjunction with project HOUSE—Helping Ourselves through Sustainable Enterprises which employs and educates formerly abused, jailed and trafficked young adults for more productive and legal purposes.

Jason Magbanua, on the other hand, won as the Boss for Social Media. The title is for a person who utilizes social media platforms to create meaningful connections with customers and grow an online community of brand advocates. Mr. Magbanua made his mark as a wedding videographer who has become so in-demand in the country. He pioneered the “same-day-edit” videos, and his creations are popular on social media sites.

Chito Atilano, or more known as the Boss for Customer Service, uses digital platforms to provide better service and improve their business processes. His TimeFree Innovations is a virtual queuing solutions company which allows users to get an e-ticket through their smartphone. They then receive SMS alerts regarding their position in the queue so users don’t have to waste time waiting in line. This innovation helps companies improve their customer service and build brand loyalty.

They were chosen by means of public voting and a panel decision. The rating was divided into several categories: the promising entrepreneurial journey (20%), market/brand affinity (20%), integration of technology to business (30%), and product/service innovation (30%).

The winners won a Smart Enterprise Biz Kit which consists of business-enhancing tools and gadgets, including year-long data subscription, to boost their customer base and improve operations. They will also be given an opportunity to see the world’s melting pot of technology via a Silicon Valley tour. As a final twist, PLDT Smart SME Nation announced that the other 10 finalists will also join the exclusive tour.

According to Abelarde, SMEs need to explore mobile and online opportunities to cater to a market that demands so much from technology. It is up to PLDT Smart SME Nation to provide entrepreneurs with tools and solutions to enable them to flourish online and reach markets they wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach offline. She hopes that PLDT's efforts will encourage more Filipino SMEs to embrace digital platforms and inspire other SMEs to embrace technology driven platforms.

The story in pictures:

Celebrating the next generation of Bossings (from left): Boss for Customer Service Chino Atilano of Timefree Innovations, Boss for Social Media Jason Magbanua of Jason Magbanua, Mobkard Chair of the Board Jay Bernardo representing Boss for Mobile Readiness Carlo Calimon of Mobkard, Boss for E-Commerce Kim Lato of Kimstore, President and CEO of PLDT Group Manuel V. Pangilinan, Boss for Social Responsibility Kristine Reyes-Lopez of Messy Bessy, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, EVP and Head of PLDT Enterprise Eric R. Alberto, and FVP and Head of PLDT Smart SME Nation Kat Luna-Abelarde.

Kimstore's Kim Lato thanking PLDT and loyal consumers for the win.

Messy Bessy's Kristine Reyes-Lopez giving her speech.

Ms. Millet Liberato of DDB PR for the invite and pictures.

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