Information and Communications Technology helped Filipinos survive through the COVID-19 pandemic -- from quickly disseminating info about the virus, keeping them connected even when physically apart, and offering virtual ways for demand to meet supply for almost any commodity.
"The Philippines is no global leader yet in the tech universe. But with an innately intellectual and industrious workforce, what our country truly needs is the opportunity for learning in an uplifting yet ambitious environment. It’s what will get us out of our economic rut and power us through the new normal," shares Anne David, segment marketing director of Globe myBusiness.
This is why companies like Spring Valley Tech Corp, an ally of the Globe Partner Network, are putting all their efforts in doing just that. The Globe Partner Network is a program aiming to foster an ecosystem of Tech Enablers with SMEs.
This network aims to drive and speed up tech adoption. SMEs often request for help on where to start, and it takes visionaries with robust muscle and decades-long experiences like Globe myBusiness and Spring Valley to point them in the right direction.
The Silicon Valley of the Philippines
Unifying their knowledge and developing an incubation hub is the driving force behind the creation of Spring Valley Tech Corp, a rising technological township in Panay, and which has expanded its operations in Negros Occidental. Spring Valley aims to be the Philippines’ counterpart to California’s famous Silicon Valley.
“I thought about the problems of our nation when it comes to technology and innovation. A lot of Pinoys work in the headquarters of companies like LinkedIn or Facebook, but we’ve forgotten how to create our own products. Maybe it’s because of colonization that created a subservient culture for us. Another issue is the terrible gap between what the academe produces and what industries require. What would be a solution to all these? That’s why Spring Valley was born,” shares Spring Valley Tech Corp founder and CEO, Jonathan Defensor De Luzuriaga.
Besides the word spring connoting the season of growth, the business name stands for “Software Products Incubation Group,” a term hailing from one of the Philippine Software Industry Association’s committees, whose initiative for the last 32 years has been to grow the IT knowledge and skills of Filipinos.
De Luzuriaga is developing three arms for Spring Valley. First is Sprint (Spring Valley Incubation and Training), which matches workforce skillset to industry needs. Second is Spring Valley ARK (Advanced Research and Knowledge Center), which is for hardware and software development. And third is Spring Valley Academy, the arm focused on fostering a community of learners that inspires them to be innovators.
The 11-hectare plot also has room for local and foreign IT and BPO offices, tech manufacturing facilities including agri-tech and aqua-tech, sports amenities, and housing units that will establish it into a secure, self-sustaining city.
With several projects already under their belt after the company’s conceptualization only four years ago, De Luzuriaga shares that their journey to build fast inevitably led to some failures. But their fearlessness to pivot fast and repurpose efforts gave birth to sought-after products in the market. He emphasizes, “In the world of innovation, there’s no such thing as failure. It’s just about pivoting or changing direction.”
Another key to realizing De Luzuriaga's vision for Spring Valley, which has been valuable to the company's success, is their active participation in top tech companies. Networking with as many people in the industry as possible, whether locally, regionally, or internationally, is vital to Spring Valley's growth. Through running associations such as the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines, the Philippine Software Industry Association, and the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines, many valuable connections have turned into partnerships for Spring Valley.
The rise of innovators
CLEAR PASS (Personnel Access for Safety and Security), a digital gatekeeper solution; Read and Bill, a utilities meter reading platform; and OJTPH.com, a job-matching app for undergrads, are products of Spring Valley’s blossoming collaboration with Globe myBusiness, who had shown support beyond the usual telco and data servicing. “It’s imperative that you find the right partners along the very difficult journey [of building a business.] You have to put your money where your mouth is. Globe myBusiness has been supporting our products and requirements. But more than that, they’ve made events that help promote Spring Valley,” De Luzuriaga says.
As two tech-driven companies, their services intersect, and so does their vision. For instance, Globe Labs APIs and other solutions complement the specialized apps and facilities Spring Valley developed for its clients and the township. Aside from APIs, Globe's core services empower their daily operations from direct internet to mobile services. This interdependence will likely grow moving forward, with both businesses’ social responsibility and commercial trajectories aligned to elevate Filipino lives.
As a member of the Globe Partner Network, Spring Valley is also able to offer connectivity to enable online education. “We need to tackle academic disciplines for professionals, like Cyber Forensics, Mobile Development, or essential [IT] skills. These will help make our countrymen marketable. Thanks to Globe myBusiness, we can offer connectivity to students.”
The new business landscape
At the onset of the pandemic, Spring Valley’s unique proposition became even more valuable as it offered a safe, self-contained working township. Inquiries soared, whilst businesses pivoting operations online needed swift assistance: an opportunity that grew out of adversity for Spring Valley. “In 2016 when Spring Valley was conceptualized, a lot of people didn’t believe in the concept of having an environment where innovators can work, play, live, and change the world at the same time," De Luzuriaga mentioned. "Now, [clients] are asking if our facilities are ready. It’s the time now for Spring Valley. A place to create solutions and platforms.”
Globe has likewise been an ICT leader creating future-ready products that help protect and empower businesses, even before innovative trends rise. An example is GCash that has been around for years before people noticed and utilized it.
De Luzuriaga outlined one of their objectives: “These days we are betting on at least three things: that scientists develop a COVID-19 vaccine, the government to manage the chaos, and the tech industry to find novel and speedy ways to make pandemic life tolerable. Retraining our IT workforce with specialized courses can put the Philippines at par with the global IT giants. However, it will only be possible if we also support locally made IT products, plus trusting talents and dreamers from our smallest islands, not just those already established in Metro Manila or Metro Cebu.”
“Everything that we do, we equate to a greater purpose. It’s not just about revenue. At the end of the day, we want to get into as many activities to hire many countrymen as much as possible. A lot of people lost their job. To jumpstart the economy, we have to build things no matter the difficulty. And as consumers, prioritize products made in the Philippines. We need to hold hands and help each other out,” De Luzuriaga added.
De Luzuriaga says that teamwork will make the dream work, “Globe myBusiness in Iloilo worked tirelessly to help us set up. When you find partners, your purpose should align. They align with Spring Valley’s aspiration, and that is to create more products and services to uplift our countrymen and their quality of life.”