CREATING a conducive location that is ripe for information and communications technology (ICT) – enabled jobs and investments is never easy. For over a decade, I have been immersed in countless meetings with investors and stakeholders in more than 50 provinces around the country. I have practically been to all the regions of the Philippines helping and assisting ICT councils and stakeholders composed of academe, government and industry as well as other important sector in building the right ecosystem. I have also led countless presentations before due diligence teams of investors searching for the right location, especially outside of Metro Manila.
In Bacolod, there are currently more than ten major ICT companies but I have pitched to almost a hundred for the last fifteen years. We were able to attract a good ten (10) percent of the companies we invited or presented to and yielded around 30,000 jobs.
I have kept many guide materials and only share with local government units (LGUs) and stakeholders during workshops so they can understand where to start. Now I am sharing this publicly. I am also willing to assist LGUs and ICT councils in obtaining collectively possible answers to these questions. These “how” questions are not only for LGUs and ICT councils to answer but these are also just some of questions investors ask today when they go to your locations. It is not advisable for any leader to expect easy questions that start with who, what, when, where.
Do you want to create thousands of ICT jobs in your community? – Answer these questions first:
How do you get the buy-in of stakeholders to collaborate towards attracting ICT jobs and investments? How do you change the mindset of the community to embrace ICT jobs? How do you reach your target market? How do you create the right branding or message? How do you improve your ecosystem in terms of talent quality and scalability, infrastructure, business environment, ease and cost of doing business?
Which areas need to be improved further? Which areas can you improve on your own? Which areas can you improve only with the help of others? How can you build a strong ICT organization? How can you build a sustainable organization? How can you align your local targets with national and international targets? How can you ensure cooperation and commitment of your members?
How can you ensure the sustainability and business growth of your locators? How can you identify or address locators’ needs and requirements? How can you immediately deliver these needs and requirements? How can you raise funds and resources for your ICT programs and projects? How can you get the public to understand and participate in your programs and projects? How can you access industry support and guidance? How can you get the support of the general business sector in your area?
How can you get the support and commitment of the national government? How can you ensure a continuing conducive business environment for your existing locators? How can you assure your locators of quality and quantity of talent? How do you ensure the presence of sufficient infrastructure in your area? How can you ensure the presence of PEZA accredited information technology parks and buildings?
How can you ensure industry calibrated and standardized training programs? How do you adopt to the changes in technology and to new innovation? How do you address again disruptions? How do you ensure business continuity in the face of natural calamities and manmade disasters?
Leaders can never leave investments and job generation to chance. Sadly, many leaders commit that mistake. Leaders also need to listen and work more instead of just talk all the time. Leaders are not assumed to have all the answers but good leaders need to ask the right questions. Sadly, many leaders are fond of lip service.