A new web platform for online businesses
IF DOING business online—posting info about your products and services on the web, and taking orders from people you do not see—sounds alien to you, don’t let your fear of the unknown take away a host of opportunities. Many entrepreneurs have seen their businesses grow the moment they have stepped on the threshold of e-commerce. To make things easy for the Filipino entrepreneur, a group of Filipino businessmen and women joined forces to offer a web platform that can help the entrepreneur reach the global market at a low cost. It’s AgilaGlobal.net, a new vehicle that provides Filipino businesses all over the world with the tools needed to effectively and efficiently operate an online business, while expanding their market by breaking down geographical and financial barriers to operations. “There are a lot of business-oriented Filipinos, and a considerable number of them already recognize the opportunities of doing business over the World Wide Web. Unfortunately, most of our compatriots have a very limited capacity for business using new technology due to various reasons—most of them do not have any professional online presence which stands in the way of credibility, and a lot of those who have their own sites do not have an e-commerce and logistics infrastructure which will allow them to accept payments and effect deliveries within the system. AgilaGlobal was built for the purpose of enabling our kababayans to operate efficiently without the headache and heavy investment usually associated with operating online,” says Lalaine Chu-Benitez, managing director of Illustrado Marketing & Communications Incorp., the company behind AgilaGlobal. With the web platform, subscribers can get various services, from a comprehensive website with their own URL and content management module, a ready-to-use e-commerce facility which accepts payments for orders and services, and a logistics infrastructure to facilitate deliveries anywhere in the world. AgilaGlobal also provides offline reach to clients through listings in the Annual Directory of Filipino Business slated for release in Filipino communities worldwide by the second quarter of 2009. Subscribers also get free e-learning course modules on basic management and entrepreneurship. What’s more, Filipino entrepreneurs can also strike trade deals by floating or participating in tenders through the Kabuhayan Syndicate system, the company’s networking project for Filipino entrepreneurs in the United Arab Emirates. “Our kababayans are very hardworking, that we already know. Our role is to take them to that next level, where they can really benefit from the fruits of their labor,” says Chu-Benitez. The company thus made sure to offer the service at a very low cost—just P25 or USD 0.55 a day (equivalent to about 25 text messages or three jeepney rides!). Project director Sonny Silvestre, an IT consultant and entrepreneur based in Abu Dhabi, says, “If through AgilaGlobal, we can discourage at least 100 Filipinos from leaving the Philippines just because they are in dire need of a job abroad, because we were able to give them a source of livelihood or help their business, our job is done.” AgilaGlobal was just launched last July in Davao, Cebu and Manila, but the system is already up and running, with over 9,000 Filipino companies all over the world listed in its system. The site has been attracting 25,000 hits a month.
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