Interview with Pacholo Garcia Morera of Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines
1. Please explain about the activity of Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines.
The chamber is a non-profit organization comprised of different business both local and international with business ties to Spain. It mainly focuses on SME's and links them to the Spanish as well as the wider EU community. It is one of the oldest chambers in the Philippines
2. Please explain about your background before you become director of Spanish Chamber.
I have been a part of the Spanish community in the country for a long time largely thanks to my father who is quite active. He was once the president of the chamber and has been a director on and off throughout the years. I got more involved once I was well established with the business community
3. As Spanish Chamber of Commerce, what kind of contribution can you do for Startup community?
The same as with any other business, the chamber is a good venue to expand your business network in both the Philippines and to also link you to the business community in Spain. Most countries also have Spanish chambers wherein you can be linked with if ever you have requirements for that country.
4. How can we bring more European startups to Philippines? (not traditional one) What do you think is the biggest challenge?
Like any small business, information is key. Most small EU companies do not have the Philippines on the radar. They usually have Latin America due to the language similarity. For Asia, they look at other countries like Thailand, HK, Singapore, Japan and China. For those that want to get into the Philippines, they wouldn't know where to begin researching.
5. European still don't take enough attention to Asian market. How can we make them realize Asia is important market?
Find out what makes the Philippines competitive with the neighboring countries and to see what advantages we have being part of the ASEAN. English is our biggest asset so far but we must show what else we have beyond this. Give information on our eco/PEZA zones, tax holidays, free trade agreements, etc.
6. We want to invite more investors to Startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia. What do you think is the biggest hurdles for them?
Setting up the company is tough since there are certain rules limiting foreign ownership but there are rules around this. Corruption and red tape is also a problem and can be frustrating.
7. Philippines is still difficult to do business. What is your first advice for international business persons who is interested to do business?
Turn weakness into strength. Difficulty to start a business means less people do it. Less people means less competition. Less competition means an easier chance to grab a huge chunk of an existing market or monopolize a new market.
8. If you have chance to do tech Startup in the Philippines, what do you want to do?
More B2B commerce. C2C commerce already has a start but is still very small.
9. What is your practical advice for future entrepreneurs?
If there was a business that was easy to do, everyone would be doing it by now. Also, when it comes to making decisions, let your numbers be your guide.
They are holding many events related to European, Spanish business.