MVP to technopreneurs: Failure leads to success

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA—Just like many successful tycoons in the past, Manny V. Pangilinan, the head of one of the country’s largest conglomerates reiterated an often-said advice about how success is created.

“Failure is just part of success. You’ll have to learn from those mistakes.”

The chairman of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) addressed questions about success when it comes to any industry, debunking the notion that “everything has already been created.”

Ideas, be it for commercial purposes or for social responsibility, are always needed to make the lives of others better, said Pangilinan.

Young people have to develop a sense of entrepreneurship instead of becoming mere employees. Though he acknowledges that many young people tend to fear failure and take the easier way by becoming paid employees, he emphasized on the wider value of turning ideas into viable products.

Young people, being who they are, have time at their disposal to continuously develop ideas and learn from mistakes as they go along.

“Entrepreneurship means not being afraid to take risks. Success is measured on how you learn from those mistakes and going forward. You really don’t know if it’s a great decision and only subsequent experience will allow you to learn,” Pangilinan explained.

Pangilinan said he has always sought to establish a culture of entrepreneurship among Filipinos.

One of his more recent endeavors is putting up a new organization, IdeaSpace, which will serve as an incubation and venture capitalist division.

It follows an investment model used by numerous companies in California’s Silicon Valley that successfully launched technology start ups.

IdeaSpace will look for potentially viable ideas to start up into commercial firms by offering them with technical and business training and mentorship, as well as funding. After which, IdeaSpace will put in its own investment to become part of the newly-minted company’s shareholders.

To complete the Silicon Valley experience, Pangilinan also hired a couple of experts to focus on finding these would-be startups.

Among these are Marthyn Cuan, the chief information officer for the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), and Earl Martin Valencia who hails from Silicon Valley and a founding board member of the Filipino Entrepreneurs Network.

Both Cuan and Valencia are already hard at work developing a process that will allow would-be entrepreneurs to become part of the IdeaSpace portfolio. One of the first activities they will be holding is a competition to find the top ten ideas to be incubated each year.

IdeaSpace will allocate P500 million over the next five years for the program.

But more than just for the money, Pangilinan said he does not expect all of the investments they make on the startup firms will actually come back. Just like what many Silicon Valley companies say about investments, he stressed that he knows there will be some failures along the way.

“It’s part of our corporate social responsibility (as a conglomerate) to develop this culture of entrepreneurship and investing. As such, we know that of the few successes that we will have through IdeaSpace, these will make up for all the failures,” Pangilinan said. 🙄

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