Life

Ready, AIM, Fire – PLDT Smart SME Nation’s Pioneer Batch

What do you need to do to get that Asian Institute of Management’s Scholarship? Just answer the question: “What does it  mean to have a digitally-enhanced business?”

I had a trip down memory lane reminiscing what I was doing 7 years ago. It all started with my passion for affordable fashion. I have always been a fan of Divisoria – the commute, the variety of options, the specialty stores, the haggling experience and the rewarding feeling of buying more for less. That’s how Divisoria Diva started, I brought Divisoria to the digital world through the renowned e-commerce and digital marketplace, Multiply.

It gave me a different kind of high. I was a resource speaker for DZMM’s Sikap Pinoy Segment, side by side with a Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary, I gave advices to aspiring online sellers and I referred clients to Divisoria’s biggest suppliers. But as Multiply went offline, I did too.

Having these thoughts in mind, I typed a short by heartfelt answer to the online contest question:

As one of the country’s 1st users of an e-commerce platform for Divisoria Diva (Bringing Divisoria Closer to You), I have proven that today’s market is digitally driven. Way back 2009, my online store, Divisoria Diva kicked off as one of the Manila’s trusted online shopping sites selling items straight from the famous flea market, Divisoria. With the availability of the right software and a powerful internet connectivity, consumers now have the power to decide and pursue a purchase at the convenience of their mobile, tablet and PCs. A digitally enhanced business addresses the consumer issues on time, location and traffic. It empowers both the business owner and the consumer by giving them a faster and more convenient way to engage in a business, anytime, anywhere.

A few days after, I received a Congratulatory email informing me that I won the scholarship together with 14 others! I immediately spoke to my boss and my 5 half day leaves were granted. That means, I am going back to school starting October 19!

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Day 1

We started with a little socialization and getting-to-know-yous over lunch then, we head on to our case room to meet our Professors.

Oh, I am a full-fledged student again!

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The Market is Outside

After a few minutes of getting each other’s names, we were sent out in groups to present a product or brand and have a presentation on Consumer Insight.

Our group chose Gatorade for our presentation wherein we highlighted on Gatorade’s 50 years of fueling greatness, as their main message.

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The Dream

On the second topic for the day, we were inspired and enlightened by the powerful speech by Rev. Martin Luther King as a model for good storytelling.

Day 2 and 3

Step-up

These days were serious days for all of us. Most are quiet during the sessions only to find our that everyone’s doing parallel thinking on how to better apply the lessons on creating value, business model analysis and strategies when we go back to our businesses and work.

We capped our day 3 with an innovation session over beer:

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Day 4

Digitalization

And we already felt that happy days are gonna end soon. We became really close in just a matter of 3 days, trying to dig deeper on how we, as a group, can work altogether.

In class, we put our game faces on as we geared towards digitalization of our businesses.

We were called for a quick break for our class photo:

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We went back to class and during the bottom half of the afternoon, we learned about omni-channel marketing and consumer’s path to purchase.

Day 5

Disruption

Everyone’s prepped for the graduation dinner tonight but before that, we were amazed by our last professor for this course. What we thought was going to be a sluggish and sad day for us was ended with more insight and inspiration to take our businesses to a new level – innovation and disruption.

The Graduation

PLDT Smart SME Nation made us feel very special as the pioneer batch of this program they’ve specially developed with the Asian Institute of Management. They organized a graduation dinner for us at The New World Hotel and it was truly a memorable night for me.

It was hard that I would have to bid goodbye to my new friends but it is inspiring to know that the future is bright ahead of us – from classmates to business partners, that will be our next chapter.

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Key Takeaways

1. PLDT Smart SME Nation’s Entrepreneurship Development Workshop is a perfect avenue for small-medium business owners to start introducing innovation and digitalization to their business as a step-up. It was good way to measure and assess whether you and your business is geared towards the right direction.

2. The workshop made me think twice about the venture I wanted to pursue prior to joining. It only made me go back to my first love, DIGITAL MARKETING.

3. This workshop is a meeting of minds. It was interactive and encourages the participants to explore and discover how we can pool our resources and skills together towards a common goal – a digitally enhanced business that would cater to consumer needs and provide solutions to consumer dilemmas.

I will always be grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from PLDT Smart SME Nation and AIM. To God be all the Glory!

P.S. Watch out for future announcements and updates on PLDT Smart SME Nation’s future programs AIM through this blog.

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