Startups is a hot term right now. In fact, for a while now but pertaining to different industries or technology categories e.g. Cloud, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Transformation and more.
Most times, it would have to be either technology leveraged or based.
Many startups therefore have technology roots. Some who can see pass technology get to enjoy productising what they started and a few get to then transform these products and solutions into business value proposition and be a successful enterprise. But for every successful one that is publicized, known and celebrated, 10 fall by the wayside and are forever interred in the graveyard of failed startups. Although that is considered the nature of startup ventures, it is nonetheless sad and, to an extent, wasteful.
There are two very basic reasons – at least – for failure of startups. One is based on Attitude and another Aptitude.
The ATTITUDE part is like the founder is on an overdose of technology Kool-Aid.
It is understandable, on a good day, to be adverse to being intoxicated with one’s great idea and sometimes brought to false sense of security by friends and family.
Founders also do not take kindly to people telling them that their ‘baby’ is ugly!
APTITUDE complements this ATTITUDE by channeling all thoughtful energy towards the WHAT that technology will deliver – very much like creating a solution – without establishing the WHY – the problem statement that the supposedly solution is to solve.
With this, somewhat like blind leading the blind, down the startup goes.
Advisors and consultants are assembled to help and support a fledgling startup because the checklist called for it. Engaging these professionals is only impactful if their advise and proposals are not only accepted, but executed, and not just to do it for show.
Many startups tend to do that step of forming advisory councils and panels but coward off implementing – not because they are afraid, but arrogant about the fact that what they hear and counselled upon – telling the founders things are not as rosy and not just about technology – is not part of their comfort zone and cannot accept that their ‘baby’ is not as pretty as they thought.
Strategy formed to deliver on the objective relevant to the profile of the market lays on the wayside of the now perilous task. Execution is now on tactical things not aligned to the strategy planned and thus will not deliver on the objective in the addressable market.
Without relevant execution, great strategy is just wasted ink on good paper.
Without execution, nothing gets done while one still lie in the laurels of a fantasy cloud of self praise and self contentment with technology, and technology only.
Therefore, who killed startups in this case? FOUNDERS.
Of course generalisation is unfair but for the sake of this article and from experience advising and counselling, this is the conclusion.
For Founders who are open to new ways of solving the challenges and focused on the bigger picture – the WHY – and beyond the current important WHAT – usually technology – we have that very needed opportunity of a startup that can be given a chance to not just survive, but thrive and become the much desired unicorn. This combines the ATTITUDE and APTITUDE of de-linking a great idea and the big picture needed – structure for coverage like Marketing, Business Development, Services, Support etc – for long term growth.
The Ministry of Agriculture’s Indonesia Quarantine Full Automation System (IQFAST) innovation from the Agricultural Quarantine Agency (Barantan) is to be the Top 45 Public Service Innovations in 2020 as announced by the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic (PANRB) online.
The Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, had presented the Barantan’s application directly to the Sinovik independent jury. He was of the opinion that this initiative was at the forefront of public service innovation.
The Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo appreciated the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Ministry for organizing this competition as part of realizing an advanced Indonesia.
IQFAST made the coveted list after surpassing approximately 2,250 proposals from various ministries, institutions, BUMNs (state-owned enterprises) and BUMDs (provincially- or municipal-owned corporations) that entered and had passed the administrative selection stage and by an independent panel team.
Head of Barantan said the innovation was designed to be able to provide the widest possible opportunity for agripreneurs; providing information and inspiration for business and exports in agriculture.
The strategic position of Barantan is not only as a guardian for protecting agricultural resources but maintaining the smooth flow of goods at the port. It encourages the export of agricultural commodities considering that barriers are now no longer tariff-related but more on health aspects, namely sanitary and phytosanitary requirements. As such, quarantine systems strengthen the agri-sector both domestically and in cooperation with partner countries.
IQFAST is a digital innovation within export services. The digitisation of quarantine operations is a strategic choice that ensures accuracy, acceleration of services and health insurance and safety of products.
IQFAST is a large quarantine information system used by all quarantine technical units throughout Indonesia. This system makes it possible to monitor the flow of agricultural commodity traffic in real-time. This system is the starting point for the future development of quarantine big data. The Barantan staff have made preparations for structuring the cyber-physical system in the industrial 4.0 era. There are four steps it does:
First, structuring data using the Cloud Data Archive. It allows data to be managed electronically in a secure, validated and controlled manner.
Second, the use of a Quarantine Blank Certificate in paperless and digitally verified operational activities with the hope of being realized in the near future.
Thirdly, the development of e-traceability audits. This traceability check can reduce the rejection of agricultural product commodities in export destination countries.
Lastly, empowering structuring IQFAST data analysis. This step is to support import control policies.
Currently, besides focusing on automating services for service users through PPK Online (request for online quarantine inspection), IQFAST is also developing information on agricultural commodity maps.
IMACE is expected to provide updated information regarding agricultural commodities which are currently on an upward trend, including areas of origin and potential export destination countries. This is expected to open up opportunities for agribusiness actors to increase export and investment opportunities.
Apart from IMACE, IQFAST is also developing and increasing electronic certificate cooperation with partner countries so that it guarantees the acceptance of export products.
They are also working on a smooth flow of goods, both imports and exports, as well as the development of priority routes. In this plan, IQFAST system will provide a special route for compliant service users. Such users will receive priority services in the form of no physical inspection so that goods can immediately leave the port.
Barantan was committed to maintaining public services and any challenges with IQFAST and/or other Barantan services could be conveyed through various options such as social media, email, technical service unit offices and aid centres.
The Department of Science and Technology-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) is offering free online, webinar training in support of forest-based and allied sectors affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
DOST-FPRDI’s Chief Training and Manpower Delivery Services Section (TMDSS) Dr Maria Cielito G. Siladan emphasised the importance of online platforms in continuously providing technical assistance to DOST-FPRDI’s client.
According to a press release, she stated that DOST-FPRDI believes that the physical distancing the country is currently experiencing should not hinder learning. Thus, the Institute is shifting to the use of online platforms to continuously provide technical assistance and training to its clients.
The virtual technology training webinars are divided into three levels:
It is a lecture-type discussion that provides an overview of the DOST-FPRDI technology. It will discuss the science behind and the advantages of the technology, as well as its potential as a business venture. The session will last for not more than 1.5 hours and will be conducted via Google Meet.
It involves showing an audio-visual presentation detailing a step-by-step guide to the processes and technologies. This level aims to provide an opportunity for the participants to appreciate the technology by watching the processes involved and discussing them further with DOST-FPRDI experts afterward. Like Level 1, this session will last for not more than 1.5 hours and will be conducted via Google Meet.
This is supervised, face-to-face, hands-on skills training. After going through levels 1 and 2, those who have decided to learn the skills can progress to this stage. It will be conducted at DOST-FPRDI for a maximum of only five participants per session to abide by minimum health protocols and social distancing. The training will be arranged by the interested parties with the TMDSS staff.
Among the interesting topics featured is bamboo-framed face shield production held 30 June and the recent webinar training conducted on 4 August about the charcoal production and briquetting.
Electronic certificates of participation will be given to Levels 1 and 2 attendees, while a certificate of completion will be awarded to those who will undergo the Level 3 training.
The training schedule and registration details are posted at the DOST- FPRDI Facebook page.
The government has been rolling out skilling initiatives for various sectors in the country. OpenGov reported that DOST in partnership with the Department of Agriculture has been helping Western Visayas farmers, fisherfolk, and agribusinesses in improving the packaging of their products.
The partnership aims to enhance the market competitiveness of agriculture and fishery products in the Western Visayas region. Department of Agriculture (DA-6) had provided DOST-6 with a PH 7.5 million (US$ 152,915) funding support last month so it could aid at least 100 beneficiaries. The partnership helps in the technical and aesthetic parts, the Department of Agriculture is responsible for identifying beneficiaries.
The initiative works on the competitiveness of the businesses specifically in aesthetics, longer shelf life, better protection of the products, keeping the buyers informed of the nutritional label, and to better compete with imported products.
The training being provided is primarily aimed at the Department of Agriculture field workers. For the enterprises, it is more on packaging design, material selection, labelling, and actual product packaging for test marketing.
The funding is also being used to develop a technical manual for agri-fishery product packaging and capacity building of agribusiness enterprises, as well as the Department of Agriculture and local government personnel assisting farmers and fisherfolk.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture has been helping Western Visayas farmers, fisherfolk and agribusinesses in improving the packaging of their products.
The partnership aims to enhance the market competitiveness of agriculture and fishery products in Western Visayas region.
Department of Agriculture (DA-6) had provided Department of Science and Technology (DOST-6) with a PHP7.5 million funding support last month so it could provide assistance to at least 100 beneficiaries.
The partnership helps in the technical and aesthetic parts, the Department of Agriculture is responsible to identify beneficiaries.
The initiative works on the competitiveness of the businesses specifically in aesthetics, longer shelf life, better protection of the products, keeping the buyers informed of nutritional label and to better compete with imported products.
The training being provided is primarily aimed at Department of Agriculture field workers. For the enterprises, it is more on packaging design, material selection, labeling, actual product packaging for test marketing.
The funding is also being used to develop a technical manual for agri-fishery product packaging and capacity building of agribusiness enterprises, as well as the Department of Agriculture and local government personnel assisting farmers and fisherfolk.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will collaborate with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Region 5 to help food processors in the region.
The three agencies signed a memorandum of agreement earlier this week for a collaborative project focused on facilitating the registration and compliance of food processing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to the mandated food safety regulatory certifications and standards.
The DOST Region 5’s role in this collaborative project is to assist in capability development of DTI technical personnel through the conduct of training on Basic Food Hygiene and current Good Manufacturing Practices.
The DOST Region 5 will also provide analysis and testing, technical assistance on the evaluation of compliance to mandatory packaging and labeling requirements.
Dela Peña said that the DTI, for its part, will identify and evaluate target food processor beneficiaries, and will also determine products for testing, as well as the specific tests to be conducted.
The FDA, on the other hand, will conduct orientation to the beneficiaries regarding product registration and licensing. Dela Peña said the FDA would prioritize and provide a special lane for applicants endorsed by the DTI.
With regard to the food sector, the DOST has also partnered with the DTI and Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 11, to address issues in the cacao value chain.
Among the challenges in the cacao value chain are the technology support, marketing, land tenure system, institutional capacity for technical support, access to crop inputs, he said.
DOST will align its programmes and projects, such as the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Programme (SETUP), technology transfer training in cacao processing and food safety consultancy services, among other assisstance.
The DOST 11 already assisted two MSMEs in Davao del Norte who are into cacao processing through SETUP.
An enhanced version of the Department of Science and Technology’s SETUP Programme will be implemented before yearend.
SETUP is DOST’s programme that aims to encourage and assist micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in adopting technological innovations to improve their products and operations.
About 800 MSMEs can be accommodated in the SETUP programme in 2020, with a budget of around PHP 860 million (US$ 17.5 million). About PHP 900 million (US$ 18.4 million) is has been allocated for the SETUP programme in 2021.
DOST is transitioning to SETUP 4.0, to help MSMEs in digitalisation and automation part. They are enhancing the implementation of SETUP to align with the industry 4.0.
Industry 4.0 is defined as “the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the internet of things, cloud computing, and cognitive computing”.
Senator Win Gatchalian recently said that the government needs to be ready with its policies and infrastructure before electric vehicles (EVs) become more affordable and popular in the country.
The Senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy, is pushing for the creation of sound policy and regulatory framework for the adoption of EVs and the sustainability of the EV ecosystem.
Citing the 2019 data of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance, it was forecast that the cost of EVs could reach parity with traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2024 as batteries become much cheaper.
As such, the government must have the right policies, infrastructure, and incentives so it can roll out the EVs in a big way, as the country moves toward the promotion of sustainable transportation in a post-COVID-19 world.
According to the lawmaker, Senate Bill 1382 or the Electric Vehicles and Charging Station Act, which he authored and sponsored, supports the transition to new technologies, aims to generate jobs, and attract investments to grow globally competitive.
While the COVID-19 crisis shows that effective public transport is vital to keeping cities running and quarantine measures have put a strain on the country’s public transport system, over the long term, public transport is an investment that can create jobs, reduce carbon emissions, and innovate people’s access to their workplaces.
The bill is now up for interpellation in the Senate. Once the bill becomes a law and if implemented correctly, the Senator expresses confidence that the country’s dependence on oil will be greatly reduced and that the country will save PH₱ 297.92 billion (around US$ 6.7 billion) of annual oil importation.
The bill provides fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for the importation, utilisation, and manufacture of EVs. This includes a 9-year exemption from value-added tax, customs duties, and discounts on the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge as well as expedited registration procedures for EV users.
According to the 2018 Philippine Statistical Yearbook, the country imports 96.84% of crude oil. At least 74% of the country’s crude oil import comes from the Middle East, making the country more vulnerable to supply and pricing disruptions.
Senator Gatchalian is also sponsoring the measure to further promote and adopt EVs in the country, which he says will help reduce Philippine greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and foster greater energy independence. He pointed out that the transport sector is the second biggest GHG contributor in the country with 31.6%, citing the 2017 DOE data.
In July, the Department of Trade and Industry proposed a PH₱ 83 billion (US$ 1.6 billion) incentive package to support the local manufacturing of EVs.
According to a news report, support to the e-vehicle subsector would come in the form of production assistance and consumer subsidy.
The objective is to provide time-bound, targeted, performance-based perks and transparent fiscal and non-fiscal support in order to attract EV and EV parts manufacturing, particularly electronic parts and other strategic components, batteries, charging stations and the establishment of testing facilities in terms of the production support.
The Philippines is expected to have a stock of 36 million units of motor vehicles by 2030 and 6.6 million of these would be EVs. At least half of the projected inventory of EV will be locally-manufactured.
The government is targeting to manufacture 100% adoption rate for PUVs, trucks and three-wheelers, 50% for e-buses and two-wheelers, 23% for UVs other than PUVs and 3% for passenger cars.
The sales of plug-in hybrid EVs are still small in the Philippines, with only 54 manufacturers and importers, 19 charging stations, 11 parts manufacturers, and 18 dealers and traders. The industry employs 71,840 workers, both direct and indirect.
The National Institution for Transforming India, (NITI Aayog), is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India, providing both directional and policy inputs.
While designing strategic and long-term policies and programmes for the Government of India, NITI Aayog also provides relevant technical advice to the Centre and States
NITI Aayog is keen to explore the potential of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) to enhance the Ease of Doing Business in India.
Ease of Doing business has been a priority area of the government for combating deceleration in the growth of GDP and investment.
COVID-19 has instilled an urgent need for ODR that requires decisive action, with the likelihood of a spurt in disputes before the courts – most notably in lending, credit, property, commerce and retail.
With this as a background, a discussion with heads of legal firms and industry representatives and NITI Ayog was co-hosted by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on 8 August.
ODR is the resolution of disputes, particularly small- and medium-value cases, using digital technology and techniques of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR), such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
LegalTech in general and ODR, in particular, can be a game-changer for citizens as well as Indian businesses, particularly MSMEs. It has the potential to
- reduce the cost of dispute resolution in the face of rising cases and disputes
- allow citizens and consumers to raise any grievances they may have at the click of a button and have an independent third-party firm review and address their grievance.
- in the medium-term, once ODR firms have collected enough data around disputes, it can start feeding back into business decisions regarding the product and service being offered
The benefits can help businesses sharpen their offerings apart from improving access to dispute resolution. They can truly help businesses enhance consumer trust and improve customer retention.
Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog said India is witnessing a visionary period in the history of India’s court system.
In today’s age of data-driven solutions and machine learning, ODR provides the potential to resolve a substantial percentage of disputes at the site of their occurrence without burdening the courts.
Progressive and disruptive changes in justice delivery are critical components that can alter the course of access to justice in an unprecedented way.
Former Supreme Court Justice, B.N. Srikrishna said ODR could complement the court system. As an auxiliary to the system, it could limit the large numbers of litigations present in courts.
ODR does away with the need of the A litigant to travel, attend face-face hearings and can resolve disputes through the electronic platform. Online Dispute Resolution can help deliver justice to the doorstep of the litigant.
It was felt that pandemic has presented an opportunity to not just use technology to optimise the old way of doing things, but to be creative, create the right alliances and to bring in transformation.
This was the opportunity to reimagine dispute and conflict resolution for the future, for the 21st century and post pandemic era.
Innovative methods like Online Dispute Resolution have extensive application and can be used to resolve a wide variety of commercial disputes.
Recognising the essence of ODR, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has also undertaken a plethora of initiatives such as setting up a CII Centre for Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR).
Through this Centre, CII plans to impart training and undertake analysis through research papers, seminars and conferences.
Interaction with various national and international arbitration forums and other stakeholders in promoting arbitration is also planned.
These initiatives will reduce time and cost to litigation and can advocate harmony in the legislature, executive and the judiciary.
It was opined that ODR should be promoted vigorously and any constraint in law or procedures that reduces its efficacy must be eliminated.’
A need to facilitate online ombudsperson platforms to resolve disputes at the pre-litigation stage was also proposed.
Online dispute resolution can be very substantive for India, it was expressed, as it will bring the labour market outsiders back into the labour force.
People who prefer flexibility, gig economy and those who can’t commute will be greatly benefitted.
However, to enable ODR to reach its full potential will require an significant public-private collaboration.
ODR startups will be a critical stakeholder in this as they are the ones working on the actual solutions to the different use case categories.
A multi-stakeholder exercise will be undertaken in the coming weeks to enable ODR in India in a sustainable, efficient, and collaborative manner.
Desh Gaurav Sekhri, OSD, NITI Aayog, said: ‘We need to enable an ecosystem that is conducive for the entire landscape of stakeholders being active participants to make sure ODR becomes a point of first contact for dispute avoidance, containment and resolution.’
Australia and Singapore yesterday signed a Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) to harness digital transformation and technology to expand trade and economic ties in the region. Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham and Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing signed the DEA digitally via videoconference.
The SADEA is the second Digital Economy Agreement that Singapore has signed, following the signing of the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) with Chile and New Zealand in June this year.
At a time of global uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the signing of the DEA demonstrates Australia and Singapore’s recognition of the value of digital trade in forging a path to a post-COVID economic recovery.
Mr Chan said, “The signing of the Singapore-Australia Digital Economy Agreement marks a milestone in the long standing and multi-faceted partnership between our two countries. The SADEA will facilitate digitalisation of trade processes and make it easier and more cost effective for Singapore companies to engage in cross border business activities with Australia.
“As COVID-19 forces businesses to consider innovative ways to reach customers and adapt to a new way of doing business, agreements like the SADEA will allow our companies to take advantage of opportunities in the digital economy and tap on new technologies to create new digital products and services.”
Singapore and Australia enjoy strong bilateral trade and investment flows and the SADEA builds on this foundation to enhance economic opportunities in the digital realm. With the SADEA, Singapore and Australia aim to create a seamless digital trading environment which is crucial for businesses during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Enhancing economic opportunities in the digital realm
It will also enable trusted cross-border data flows without unnecessary and costly requirements such as data localisation, while protecting consumers’ privacy and businesses’ proprietary information.
Australia and Singapore have agreed to set new rules to prevent unnecessary restrictions on the transfer and location of data, improved protection for software source code, and ensure compatibility between e-invoicing and e-payment frameworks.
Importantly, the DEA will also feature rules for enhanced business and consumer trust in digital trade and cooperation in creating a safe online environment, and protecting personal information and consumer rights.
The Digital Economy Agreement is further supported by MoUs on data innovation, artificial intelligence, trade facilitation, e-invoicing, e-certification for agricultural exports and imports, personal data protection and digital identity
The signing today follows the conclusion of negotiations by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Lee Hsien Loong on 23 March 2020. The DEA will now undergo Australian treaty-making processes, including tabling in Parliament and consideration by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties prior to ratification. When the DEA enters into force it will amend the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement to replace the existing Electronic Commerce chapter with a new Digital Economy chapter.
PHOTO CREDIT: dfat.gov.au
A virtual bank based in Hong Kong has confirmed the public launch of its digital banking services. It is notably the only stand-alone firm to acquire a virtual bank license from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the city-state’s de facto central bank that’s also responsible for promoting the efficiency, integrity and development of its financial system.
The new virtual bank reportedly began pilot services back in April 2020 (under the HKMA Fintech Supervisory Sandbox).
The bank is a homegrown digital bank that acquired an operational license in April 2019. It’s one of only eight virtual bank licenses in Hong Kong.
It claims to be completely digital, and has been developed for customers to take advantage of “a range of next-generation digital services 24/7 from their mobile phones.”
The digital bank allows account opening to be completed within minutes. There are zero monthly fees for maintaining accounts, the bank’s management confirmed.
The services being offered include time deposits, along with a virtual debit card and real-time payments via the Faster Payment System (FPS). The WeLab debit card is a numberless card that has been issued with the help of Mastercard.
The bank’s public launch has come after the introduction of ZA Bank by ZhongAn/Sinolink, and Airstar Bank by Xiaomi/AMTD.
The bank is the third digital bank to launch in Hong Kong at a time when the Coronavirus crisis has accelerated the shift towards digital platforms and services.
The bank appears to have entered a saturated market with around 155 traditional lenders and eight digital banks that are offering services to Hong Kong’s over 7 million residents.
The Bank is offering a 4.5% annual rate on deposits, starting from HK$10 (appr. $1.30). The company is also offering a time-limited 8% rebate on customer spending.
The CEO of the bank stated that the Covid-19 pandemic offers opportunities and challenges. It has forced many people to work and shop from home. Many people are more comfortable using their mobile phones to open an account and conduct banking transactions.
The Chairman of the bank stated that the bank aims to offer a high deposit rate and cash rebate to help customers better cope with the Covid-19 outbreak. Hong Kong residents can earn more by saving their cash handouts with the bank or by spending with our debit card.
Last year, the HKMA awarded eight digital bank licences. Some of the other licensees include Mox, Ant Bank, Livi, Ping An OneConnect, and Fusion Bank. These banks are still in the process of completing their pilots.
A partner at stated that all the virtual banks which have launched to date have, understandably, focused on customer acquisition in the form of promotional discounts, time-limited interest rates, referral bonuses, and so on.
The real challenge will be engaging customers beyond these initial launch offers. Right now, we believe that only a handful of new players will truly be able to differentiate.
OpenGov Asia previously reported that since the Hong Kong Monetary Authority has started issuing banking licenses to several local virtual banks in the first half of 2019, the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) has swiftly strengthened its training offering in the fields of Fintech, cybersecurity and digital banking.
The institute has launched more than 30 related courses and seminars, ranging in subjects from risk management, business development, blockchain, data security to global regulatory and compliance that has been attended by over 2,000 participants.
Over the next year, the HKIB will continue efforts to promote Fintech development in Hong Kong. As the Fintech ecosystem in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area continues to grow in prominence, the institute remains committed to improving the cross-border and cross-sector financial and market knowledge of banking practitioners through its professional training programmes to help local professionals sustain their competitiveness.