Cebu courts Brooklyn bizmen for collab across industries

Business.(Business File photo)

CEBU is prepared for collaborations and partnerships spanning tourism, business, ventures, exports and manufacturing.

This was how various Cebu business communities presented Cebu in front of Brooklyn-based businessmen who visited Cebu on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024, as part of their study trip itinerary in the country.

Both former and current chamber of commerce and industry officials from Cebu City and Mandaue City seized the opportunity to promote Cebu’s value during the welcome dinner for the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce delegates at the Cebu Provincial Capitol on Wednesday, with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and the Provincial Board as hosts.

Randy Peers, president and chief executive officer of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, led the delegation. He acknowledged Cebu’s potential.

In his message, he said that just like Brooklyn, which has led the economic recovery of New York City after the Covid-19 pandemic, Cebu is also presenting its value as a business haven in the Philippine context.

“It seems to me that you are putting all elements in place to attract new investments, to grow new industries and to really be at the forefront of an economic renaissance for the entire region,” Peers said.

He emphasized that although their trip is not specifically an investment mission, their discussions with the Cebu business community demonstrated a positive relationship, which he said, is a fundamental aspect of any business deal.

The welcome dinner on Wednesday was streamed live on the official Facebook page of the media arm of the Cebu Provincial Government.

Brooklyn is one of the boroughs of New York City, home to a large Filipino-American population. Peers said almost 100,000 people of Filipino descent live in New York City.

Peers said Brooklyn’s fastest-growing industry is technology, saying its new tech startups outpaced San Francisco since 2017. The Brooklyn delegate is led by the Philippine Consul General in New York Senen Mangalile, who said part of the trip’s focus is to make Brooklyn-based businessmen discover how to do business in the country and experience what kind of human capital the country has.

“We were often asked when we were planning for this trip and being interviewed about this trip, we were often asked what kind of investment and how much in dollar value are you bringing?” Mangalile said.

“And I said this is not an investment mission. This is a study trip and the design of this trip is to open opportunities for conversations between our business communities and that of the great borough of Brooklyn,” he added.

The study trip is supported by the Department of Trade and Industry, various local government units, including Cebu, and the various agencies that promote business exchange and international relations.

Mangalile said they visited the Mactan Economic Zone earlier on Wednesday.

Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president Kelie Ko told Brooklyn-based businessmen that Cebu has much to offer, such as information technology industry, and business process outsourcing, creative, business and retail hubs.

Ko said Cebu serves as a vital manufacturing and shipping hub for southern Philippine islands.

Moreover, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s past president Felix Taguiam said Cebuano businessmen always welcome new investments.

“With you coming into Cebu this afternoon I hope we can do more together with you,” he said.

“Cebu, by far, is a vibrant city [that is] growing. Though we have seen the worst during the pandemic, we are now out of it,” he added.

Delia Suplig, executive director of the Mactan Economic Processing Zone Chamber of Exporters and Manufacturers, for her part, said their chamber would be very happy to help should Brooklyn want to do business in Cebu.

Other exchanges

MCCI incoming president Mark Ynoc, in a text message to SunStar Cebu on Thursday, Feb. 1, said part of the discussion on Wednesday were the opportunities in the region’s economic health and the ease of doing business in Cebu.

There were also exploratory and brief discussions on real estate development and the future of work in line with the advent of artificial intelligence.

“We were hopeful for a strong collaboration between the two countries (Philippines and US) and our chambers of commerce specifically in the areas of energy, BPO, and healthcare industries,” Ynoc said.

He said the Brooklyn-based businessmen also introduced companies from the renewable energy sector and discussed how companies from Brooklyn can introduce the newest technologies to Cebu.


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