Daghang salamat, Mindanao!

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What Is UREKA?

"The most recent UREKA Forum in Davao, was a true testament of how the #WorldDiscoversYou through e-commerce. Learn more on how UREKA can help you bring your business to the world!"


Are you an entrepreneur aiming to take your business to the next level via e-commerce? Are you part of an organization seeking to connect with other stakeholders whose goals and values are aligned with yours? Perhaps, you’re an industry expert who wants to engage the local SME community by being part of the UREKA Forum consortium?

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Davao Keynote Speakers

Christine Jacob - Sandejas

UREKA Host, Former Olympic Swimmer & CNN Philippines Lifestyle Host

Swimmer-turned-television personality, Christine Jacob - Sandejas, took part in the UREKA Forum to help give Filipino SMEs a voice in the era of inclusive e-commerce. She’s been exposed to the challenges that a lot of entrepreneurs face, especially in terms of adopting new practices to grow their businesses further. Her participation in the UREKA Forum offered consortium partners a better look into how SMEs perceive the movement and how they can better strengthen their strategies to really win from the beginning of their e-commerce journey.  

Amor Maclang

UREKA Moderator, Brand Architect & Co-Founder, GeiserMaclang

As a globally award winning brand architect and co-founder of the UREKA Forum’s consortium partner, GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications, Inc., Ms. Amor Maclang has the decades-long expertise and industry insights that can help SMEs establish a foothold in the global e-commerce market.
Amor had decided to join the UREKA Forum as a way of continuing her lifelong advocacy of championing local entrepreneurs. Thus, her role in the movement has been one that gave a clearer voice to every Filipino SMEs who choose to start their digital journey and win from the beginning via the UREKA Forum.

Paolo Eugenio J. Baltao

Senior VP & Business Head of Digital Transformation Group - UnionBank

Paolo Eugenio J. Baltao, serves as Senior Vice-President and Business Head of the Digital Transformation Group of UnionBank of the Philippines. He joined the Bank on December 1, 2014. Prior to joining the Bank, he was the Head of M-Commerce/President of G-Xchange, Inc. (GXI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Globe Telecom, handling the M-commerce business. He was also the Category Manager of Rizal Banking Corporation from June 2000 to December 2004; Electronic Products Officer of Equitable PCI Bank from November 1996 to May 2000; and Associate Branch Manager of United Laboratories from May 1992 to October 1994.

Paulo Campos III

Managing Director and Co-Founder - ZALORA Philippines

As Managing Director and Co-founder, Paulo oversees the Buying, Marketing and promotions of ZALORA. Paulo’s aggressive marketing style has put ZALORA on the limelight even after only a few months of operations. He graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University in the United States of America and was awarded the Gale F. Johnston Prize in Public Affairs for excellence in academic achievements in the field of public policy. He pursued and completed his Masters in Business Administration from Harvard University in 2010.

Clair Deevy

Clair Deevy Head of Economic Growth Initiatives - APAC, Facebook

Clair Deevy joined Facebook in 2015 as Head of Economic Growth Initiatives for Asia Pacific. She is focused on community engagement and partnerships to create opportunities for small businesses and communities. Previously with Microsoft for 10 years Clair’s spent most of her career there leading Microsoft’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs in Asia Pacific. Her responsibilities included community grants, diversity programs, disaster response, NGO technology capacity building and employee engagement. Working in the field of CSR, communications and partnerships for more than 18 years Clair’s professional and volunteer experience encompasses Government, NGOs, private sector and corporate foundations. Clair holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Management, a Master of Management is a qualified Partnership Broker and in 2014 was appointed an Ambassador for Women in Technology for UNWomen in Singapore.

Albert Mitchell “Mitch” Locsin

VP and Head - PLDT SME Nation

Mitch Locsin heads PLDT SME Nation, an organization whose sole mission is to provide local entrepreneurs with all the technological solutions they need to grow their businesses exponentially. He joins the UREKA Forum as the movement sets its sights to engage Mindanao SMEs via Davao City, where he will be expounding on the idea of taking advantage of today’s business technologies to help Filipino entrepreneurs grow faster, reach more consumers, and engage wider markets far beyond their own locality.

Rajan Uttamchandani

Chairman & CEO - Esquire International Financing Inc.

Aside from being at the helm of Esquire Financing Inc. (EFI), Rajan Uttamchandani is also the President and CEO of Esquire International Financing Inc., a leading financing company with significant operations in the Philippines, India, the Middle East and other parts of Asia. Rajan joined the financing industry at a very young age through Esquire International. This early exposure contributed a lot to his financial and business expertise — an expertise that paved the way to the attainment of his vision of creating EFI, a company that caters to the financial needs of Philippine businesses.

Dr. Francisco “Paco” S.A. Sandejas

Independent Director - UnionBank
Director - PhilDev
CEO - Narra Venture

Serves as an Independent Director of the Bank. He is also the Chairman of the Technology Steering Committee of the Bank, and the director of Philippine Development Fpundation. He is the CEO of NarraVentures, a venture capital management and advisory group that has invested in over 25 high-technology companies. He also serves as Executive Chairman of Stratpoint Technologies, Inc. and Xepto Computing Inc.; and he serves on the board of Colixo, a payment solutions company. Dr.Sandejas also sits as a board director to investment portfolio companies of Narra Venture Capital Management LLC in Silicon Valley and other technology clusters in the United States. He completed his Ph.D. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and his Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics (summa cum laude) from University of the Philippines. He has co-invented the Grating Light Valve (GLV), has 6 US and international patents, and co-founded the Brain Gain Network ( Paco is an active consultant with the Philippine Government. He advises De La Salle University and the University of the Philippines, sits on the board of the Philippine S&T Development Foundation, and chairs the Southridge Alumni Association.

Eireen Diokno - Bernardo

Certified E-commerce Education Specialist by eBay and Paypal

As an e-commerce education specialist, Ms. Eireen Diokno-Bernardo joined other experts and thought leaders in the UREKA Forum to discuss how e-commerce has evolved to become the preferred competitive platform of today’s generation of entrepreneurs.

She also shared valuable industry insights she has gathered over the years to the Visayan SME community as a way of encouraging every Filipino entrepreneur to take the leap and grow big in the global digital marketplace.


Officer-in-Charge, Department of Trade and Industry – Region VI

As the Officer-in-Charge of DTI-Region VI, Ms. Rebecca Rascon participated in the UREKA Forum to discuss her organization’s efforts in empowering the Visayas’ community of SMEs. She expounded on DTI’s role as the bridge connecting the SMEs together with key sectors from the public and the private spheres—including the proponents of the UREKA Forum—to ensure the former’s success in bringing their businesses beyond borders.

Additionally, she took to the stage a of DTI’s efforts in streamlining processes for SMEs, particularly for those planning to remodel their business strategies.


Executive Director - MySelter Foundation

As the Executive Director of the MyShelter Foundation, Illac Diaz has made a huge impact in the lives of thousands Filipinos in his continued efforts to spread positive change to the world around him—from the classrooms and clinics his organization built to the sustainable lamp they invented via the Liter of Light project.

His participation in the UREKA Forum was a truly valuable addition as he shared key insights about how growing one’s business should be centered on spreading prosperity to local communities by promoting a culture of business excellence and innovation.


Unit Head Customer Segments Management Group

As the head of the group that specializes in UnionBank’s various innovative technological banking products and services, he has the seasoned expertise to advise SMEs in finding the right solutions for their businesses. Mr. Soliman’s participation in the UREKA Forum has been of great help to entrepreneurs who are still unsure of how to go about with their e-commerce venture from a financial solutions standpoint.

At the UREKA Forum in Iloilo, he took the stage to speak about the importance of partnering with reputable institutions—like those of the consortium—in order to properly grow one’s business on the online platform.


Division Head, Retail Sales and Business Development - AIR21

Ms. Yasmin Vasquez is responsible for overseeing the operations of hundreds of Air21’s branches nationwide. In Iloilo, she was present during the UREKA Forum to discuss the critical role logistics technology plays in creating a winning business strategy, particularly in the age of the Internet and e-commerce.

Also, she talked about how Air21 differentiates itself from other logistics providers in the country by bridging the gaps between zip codes and varying market segments.


UREKA SME Ambassador

Maui is an artist, a teacher, a registered pharmacist, an entrepreneur, and now an inspiration for other Filipinos who endeavor to succeed in bringing their businesses beyond borders.

A proud owner of two UREKA Shops, AgitoLAB Artists Production and ALAB DanseTroupe—both focused on empowering Baguio­-based artists—Maui was among the first entrepreneurs to register for the inaugural staging of the UREKA Forum in Baguio last October. He had a first­hand look into how the movement can change lives when he realized the kind of impact it brings in helping him and his group connect to a much bigger market.

As the UREKA Forum headed to Visayas, Maui once again became a part of the movement, this time sharing the story of his continuing journey towards entrepreneurial success. Facing his fellow entrepreneurs and advocates of the arts, we talked about how the UREKA Forum has paved the way for endless business opportunities that allows him to share his ideas and his advocacies to the world while also helping him excel both as a man of art and as a “man of e-commerce.”


Inventor of Computer Microchip

Many consider Diosdado “Dado” Banatao as the “Bill Gates” of the Philippines, especially with his ground breaking inventions—the computer microchip—being a vital part of today’s prominent technologies

As a keynote speaker for the Visayas leg of the UREKA Forum, Mr. Banatao shared his insights about the importance of integrating key technologies like e-commerce into businesses and how Filipinos—with a natural curiosity and eagerness to adapt to modern changes—enjoy a unique advantage in the age of digital revolution.


President - GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications, Inc

A recognized and multi-awarded thought leader in the realm of strategic communications, Brad Geiser took the stage during the UREKA Forum in Iloilo to discuss the growing role of social media in maximizing the potential of brick-and-mortar businesses in the age of digital revolution.

Mr. Geiser has seen how marketing disciplines have evolved and analyzed how these developments can help make SMEs gain the upper hand in today’s highly competitive business environment. During the conference proper, he discussed how the Visayan SME community can take full advantage of social media to enjoy a long-term, profitable e-commerce venture—from crafting the appropriate communications in promoting products and services, to engaging new customers through targeted marketing strategies.


Co-Founder and CEO
Sustainable Alternative Lighting Corporation

It was during a hiking trip in the Kalinga province when Engr. Aisa Mijeno grew inspired to create an innovation—a lamp powered merely by saltwater—that can help improve the lives of underprivileged Filipinos in far-flung areas.

After showcasing the creativity and the ingenuity of Filipinos at the recent APEC Summit, where she joined U.S. President Barack Obama and Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Engr. Mijeno shared her success story as a keynote speaker for the UREKA Forum last February in Iloilo. There, she discussed the innovative genius of Filipinos and how Iloilo SMEs can use this inherent characteristic to champion a culture of entrepreneurship and cause ripples of progress across different economic sectors.


Vice President for Customer Service and Operations Support - AIR21

From being the Branch Manager of AIR21 Subic in 1994, Yayo Estabaya proved to be born for logistics as she rose up to become the current AIR21 Vice President for Customer Service Group and Operations Support, becoming the Project Manager for Business Intelligence report development, providing data warehouse component that ensures an integrated consistent view of the enterprise data and over-all Project Manager for 2013 National Barangay elections. Ms.Estabaya provided a comprehensive brief on the role of logistics technology in ensuring the success of integrating e- ‐Commerce into the traditional business model and the advantages of having an extensive logistics plan set in place to cater to the dynamic world of e- Commerce.



As one of the primary proponents of the UREKA Forum, Mr. Bautista was on hand to talk about how local entrepreneurs can harness the power of the Web to reach customers all over cyberspace. During the forum, Mr. Bautista spoke about the distinct edge of smart banking, and how businesses can create meaningful experiences by finding the appropriate innovative services and solutions that fit their business needs. He also expounded in detail how UnionBank is empowering SMEs as key drivers of economic growth, as well as how businesses can improve their capabilities and harness their strategic and critical thinking skills to create a bigger impact on the lives of more Filipinos.


Head of Small and Medium Enterprises - PLDT

Telco companies offer innovations that complement technologies integrated into every business’ blueprint. Just ask PLDT’s Katrina Luna-Abelarde about this, and she will gladly take you through every step of making your business boom in a myriad of ways.

As the head of a renowned institution that, for years, has been a trusted partner of today’s most thriving business enterprises, Ms. Katrina Luna-Abelarde truly stands out as a woman who empowers Filipinos to go beyond the norms and really make a difference. In this forum, she will talk about the advantage of hooking up with technological innovations being offered by some of the country’s leading telecommunication companies, and how these—coupled with strategic growth roadmaps and strategies—can spell the success of Baguio City’s premier e-Commerce ventures.


Chief Business Development Officer - GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications, Inc.

As a marketing communications professional guiding businesses to explore unchartered territories, Elio Machillanda definitely knows a thing or two about what makes a brand or a business globally competitive. At the UREKA Forum, Mr. Machillanda will take the stage to discuss how entrepreneurs can readily make a name for themselves throughout the region via branding and other marketing strategies, citing successful case studies that he himself had been part of in the past. His talk will emphasize the importance of identifying market tendencies and consumer behaviors in relation to ASEAN integration and the APEC, and how Baguio-based entrepreneurs can take advantage of this shift through technology aided by the e-Commerce platform.


President & CEO - SHOPINAS

Sheila Lina, President and CEO of Shopinas, discussed how a dynamic business website can play a critical role in strengthening any business' e-Commerce venture. She also highlighted the key do's and don’ts that business owners should keep in mind when creating their respective business websites and how they can make sure that they make the best out of their e-Commerce venture.

Robertson "Dick" Chiang


Dick Chiang leads DragonPay, a leading online payment service provider in the Philippines. At the UREKA Forum in Baguio City, Dick Chiang joined a distinguished roster of industry experts as he discussed how DragonPay is adding to the overall e-Commerce experience by providing a convenient, hassle-free way to purchase online. He also provided a brief overview of their operations, their portfolio of clients, and how they see Philippine businesses playing significant roles in defining global e-Commerce trends.


SVP & GM - Solutions Group

SVP & General Manager Mr. Josefino Paloma of AMTI was in attendance to talk about how local entrepreneurs can fully maximize technology to grow their businesses beyond their targets. He expounded on the idea of the Internet as a necessary but often under-utilized marketing and sales tool that businessmen must take advantage of, particularly if they aim to grow big and earn big. Additionally, he talked about a variety of things related to operating a business online—from websites, to e-Commerce platforms, to unique apps that businesses can create to offer a dynamic experience that’s well worth every Filipino consumer’s peso.

Who Should Attend?


Clothes, gadgets, books, shoes… you name it! Retailers engage consumers directly by selling huge assortment of stuff. By making the shift to e-commerce, they have the power to interact with more potential buyers, thus growing their businesses beyond their locality.

The Filipino brand of hospitality has been one of the things the world has come to love about our country. Pair that up with the Philippines’ long-standing reputation as a top tourist destination, then you have a booming industry that even the smallest family-owned inn make a splash in the global scene. With the help of e-commerce, locals and tourists can efficiently find and book rooms months before they make their actual trip, avoiding the hassle of having to find one in the last minute.

From the most popular (i.e. start-up IT companies) to the least known solution providers (i.e. carbon emissions testing firms), these companies are in a niche industry that’s growing rapidly across the country and the region. The growing popularity of online platforms allows this industry to reach more customers in a shorter amount of time.

As a country rich in natural resources, Philippine manufacturers have the unique advantage of utilizing the finest materials for their products. Now, with these companies venturing into the e-commerce sphere, the need for a middleman can now be completely taken out of the equation, thus giving manufacturers the unique opportunity to grow their respective businesses at a pace they have never experienced before.

The world continues to be in awe with the creativity of the Filipino craftsman. From world-class singers and performers to one-of-a-kind painters and sculptors, Filipino artistry now enjoys a bigger spotlight with technological innovations and e-commerce setting up the stage for local talent to showcase their craft to the rest of the world.

Ube, barquillos, and even durian candy—these are just some of the pasalubongs Filipinos and foreigners love to snack on whenever they travel to a particular region in the country. By opening up a digital storefront for the humble food maker, these delicious treats can now travel across borders and connect with people outside of the Philippines who crave for an authentic taste of Filipino delicacies.

From handmade tchotchkes to sari-sari stores that sell farm animal feeds, homegrown Filipino entrepreneurs have the unique opportunity to take their business to the next level via e-commerce. By venturing into the digital marketplace, they can now grow their businesses ten-fold, while still earning their usual sum and expanding their physical stores.

As a globally known tourist destination, the Philippines has a wide variety of destinations and activities that continue to lure travellers from different corners of the world year-round. Online platforms, such as travel-centric websites, give tourists a stress-free time when deciding on where to go, what to attend, and how much to spend.

Services can range from household-related tasks (i.e. electric repairs or plumbing services) to industrial-related needs (i.e. construction or custodial duties). Businesses that provide such services can greatly benefit from having an online presence, especially when the customer is new to the area or has to maintain a particular property while being based in a different zip code.

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