Mentor capitalist eyes aid for 2 Cebu entrepreneurs
Non-profit organization Endeavor Philippines is considering support for Bo’s Coffee owner Steve Benitez and renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue to further accelerate their growth.
Manny Ayala, managing director of Endeavor Philippines, said they consider Benitez and Cobonpue as high-impact entrepreneurs.
High-impact entrepreneurs are those who have the ability to form companies that employ hundreds or thousands of people, Ayala said. They also pay it forward, he added.
Ayala was part of the American Innovation Roadshow delegation that visited Cebu last Friday.
During a networking lunch with the local business leaders and startup community, Ayala said Benitez is being considered because he already has 70 to 80 coffee shops that have provided jobs to hundreds of young people.
“He (Benitez) wants to go overseas where the Filipinos are and there are about 10 million of us worldwide,” Ayala said.
On Cobonpue, he noted how the famous designer has been paying it forward.
“He’s to me a very Endeavor-type of entrepreneur because he has already taken under his wing some younger designers,” Ayala added.
He said Cebu is one of the places where Endeavor would like to cultivate more high-impact entrepreneurs.
“In the next few years, you’ll be seeing us here,” he added.
Endeavor, which is headquartered in New York, is engaged in helping high-impact entrepreneurs across the globe gain access to networks and capital.
In the Philippines, Ayala said they have selected Nix Nolledo of Xurpas, Inc., a listed consumer technology company, and Brian Cotter and Vivek Padmanabhan of
PSG Global Solutions Philippines, which is engaged in recruitment process outsourcing.
With the help of a network of business leaders around the world, Endeavor mentors selected entrepreneurs “with the biggest ideas and most ambitious plans that have the potential to create wealth, jobs and innovative products and services.”
Cebu is believed to have a strong potential to develop into an innovation hub, given the proper resources and intervention, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Assistant Regional Director Nelia V. F. Navarro said in her presentation during the forum.
The local startup ecosystem is, however, still in its infancy stage, she said.
“We need more support, more push and pull from the enablers,” she added.
Among the challenges that Cebu faces are the weak Internet connectivity and lack of funding for startups.
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