Overseas freelancing challenges local startups

Overseas freelancing challenges local startups
Ian Carl Espinosa/SunStar Photo

FREELANCING for overseas clients could emerge as a formidable competitor to local startups in the country, according to Liezlle Wong, the team lead for Google Development Groups - Davao (GDG-Davao). 

Speaking at DevFest 2023 at Holy Cross of Davao College on November 11, Wong acknowledged that freelancing abroad offers higher pay, posing a challenge for local companies to attract and retain talent.

“[Freelancing] can be a competitor in a way. Instead of finding opportunities in Davao, sa local companies and start-ups, people would opt to find jobs in foreign companies, so that means there’s a hard time for local companies to find talents here,” Wong said in an interview at the sidelines of the DevFest 2023.

While Wong said there's nothing against freelancing and opportunities abroad, she noted the competition it creates for local startups. 

GDG-Davao co-lead and software engineer Kyle Naranjo agreed, suggesting that local startups must enhance operations and offerings to retain their employees and compete with freelancing options.

“Local startups should consider improving operations and offerings, in which in return their employees can stay and keep up with the competition in freelancing,” Naranjo said.

Naranjo also pointed out the funding challenge for startups, emphasizing the high-risk, high-reward nature of such investments. Despite the challenges, he highlighted the booming potential of the tech community.

Wong and Naranjo Both expressed satisfaction that more people are joining tech communities and events, recognizing the positive impact on the local economy. 

“Aside from that the tech is becoming more interesting or ma-drawn ka (you will be drawn) into tech communities, I would also say na parang it’s starting to become a need in these current times, if you don’t know how to adapt to new technologies, you’re going to be a step behind,” Naranjo said.

A 2022 GCash and Payoneer survey revealed that 1.5 million Filipinos are registered on international online platforms for freelancing services. 

In comparison, the Philippine Startup Ecosystem Report 2021 indicated the existence of around 700 startups, a significant increase from the 100 active startups in 2015. ICE


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