Cebu needs venture capital
ALTHOUGH Cebu is already blessed with inherent advantages, it needs to develop the venture capital (VC) market to be recognized as a mature IT-BPO destination, an industry stakeholder said.
Jerry Rapes, chairman of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry BPO-IT committee, said pushing for VC in Cebu would also help the industry gain a further advantage, as it faces the specter of American companies being given incentives to back off from outsourcing.
“What is missing in Cebu right now, amid its dynamic environment for BPO and ICT, is the serious development of a VC community,” Rapes said.
Venture capital is typically provided to early-stage, high-potential, high-risk start-up companies.
Rapes stressed Cebu needs capitalists to start investing in technology.
“For VCs to come to Cebu, they should look at the technology landscape of the city and maximize the entrepreneurial spirit of Cebuanos,” he said.
Although he admitted developing a VC community is not simple, Rapes said local investors from Cebu can learn from the successful Manila-based VC companies.
“There should be more interaction, so we can create an ecosystem needed in the development of VC here,” said Rapes, who is also the president of a Filipino-owned outsourcing firm Global eXist.
Cebu’s business owners are encouraged to see the potential of local talents in software development and engineering. Rapes said they could help fund the idea and help them market the product.
“In this way, we can export more our products and services rather than send our skilled human resources abroad,” he said.
The idea of developing a VC market in Cebu has long been considered by the business chambers.
However, the lack of technical awareness has hampered its realization.
Cebu Educational Development for Information Technology Inc. (Cedfit) chairman Francis Monera said the government still has to settle some regulatory rules, particularly those governing intellectual property rights (IPR).
According to the International Chamber of Commerce, IPR can also be an important drawing card for innovative start-up firms to get access to funding from investors such as venture capitalists. It also helps in the commercialization of innovative products and services.