Dexter Ligot-Gordon of Kalibrr shares inspiring advice for Filipino Entrepreneurs
By Bea Perdigon
founder and inventor Steve Jobs was once said: “the only way to do great work
is to love what you do.”
Whether it be through creating new content, building brands, or even helping others, these things that you love doing will actually define your future and purpose. Such as with Dexter Ligot-Gordon’s case, wherein his passion was in helping his country’s development. “I’ve always wanted to give back to the Filipino community,” Dexter says.
Dexter is a Filipino-American based in the United States with a background of political economics. “I worked for the government,” Dexter says. Although his field was somehow not connected to business, he says that it is still related. “I worked for a work force and law movement systems. The main purpose of my job was: how do governments prepare a population for growing industries.”
Little did he know that his work experience would lead him to building a brand that would revolutionize the recruitment system in the Philippines.
Moving to the Philippines and joining Kalibrr
Moving to his home country came as a surprise to Dexter. “I quit my job. So I decided to go to the Philippines to visit my family,” he says. In the process of visiting friends and family, he met up with his college classmate Paul Rivera, which later became Kalibrr’s Co-Founder.
“As we were talking, we discussed the problem in Paul’s call center. “Paul said,’The Philippines is growing really fast, but the problem is I can’t find the right people who are fit for the job.’ And, I told him, “Paul, that’s what I do.”
A month after, Kalibrr was born. “What’s interesting is I was offered a job with six figures in the U.S.,” Dexter emphasizes. “And the job was literally 30 meters from where I live. And I told myself, ‘should I go for the security or should I go for the opportunity for the Philippines?” Since Dexter choose the later, he thought it was a great opportunity to help the Philippines in his own way. “It was a very easy decision for me to turn down that high-paying job offer.”
The Philippines as a growing country
“Basically in college, we studied ‘how do developing economies industrialize?’ And when I met with Paul, I realized that the Philippines is changing, and we can be part of that development,” says Dexter.
But how do we make that change happen? Dexter believes Kalibrr can change the current state of the economy of the Philippines, through entrepreneurial training. “One of the key things that the Philippines needs is a jumpstart in it’s economy.” According to Dexter’s research, it’s in the history of the Filipinos to not have been trained to be entrepreneurs. “I studied colonial education. Filipinos were trained to be workers, their curriculum was designed for them to be prepared for the industry. But it was not designed for leadership. So no wonder, the Filipinos lack entrepreneurship or leadership. That’s factual,” Dexter says.
But Dexter says this should not stump the growth of the Philippines, but all the more encourage more entrepreneurs.“The educations system will change. However, I think what needs to be changed first is the workplace. That’s where the ripple will start, like creating companies like Kalibrr, Lendo, MClina, Lenddo. You need to create an environment where they can be entrepreneurs,” says Dexter.
“I believe that one way to track talent abroad is through success stories. Because you need proof that startups are successful here. We want to encourage other people to take that risk,” says Dexter.
Advice to startups about pivoting
Most startups usually face pivoting, which means the change of direction when the business model isn’t working. As an entrepreneur, you have to be smart in what changes you have to do do. “A good entrepreneur needs to strike a balance: be honest and confident. You have to be confident about your idea, but you have to be honest and open minded when your idea is not working. That ultimately differentiates a strong entrepreneur from the rest,” says Dexter.
“For us, we had to be disciplined about not trying to many things at the same time. If you’re trying to do too many different solutions, then you’re going to be distracted, and not succeed in anything.”
Advice in becoming an entrepreneur that will attract investors
“Investors really invest on the entrepreneur and not the business. They should be confident in your perceptiveness and your vision. It’s purely a bet on the entrepreneur and the problem, and they are funding you to experiment,” says Dexter.
“Once investors understand what you are passionate about, and if you want to make a difference, they will respond to that. Even if they may not invest in you (in terms of money), because they believe in what you are doing, they’ll still want to help you by introducing you to other investors or clients.”
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