Lack of transparency in some government agencies and the practice of informal payments to move business transactions forward pose the biggest threats to Cebu’s competitiveness.
A good number of Cebu enterprises that were the respondents of a survey conducted by Isla Lipana & Co. in collaboration with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) admitted they were asked for gifts and tokens in the course of their dealings with government officials and agencies.
At least 20 percent of those surveyed said they made informal payments within the last 12 months, according to CCCI Trustee Aldie Garcia who revealed the survey results in a press conference shortly before the CCCI General Membership Meeting yesterday, October 29, 2019.
Despite innovations in the field of finance, e-commerce, consumer services, transport and logistics, only a third of Cebu entrepreneurs believe that technology should be a business priority.
Results of the PwC Cebu 2017 CEO Survey showed that only 35 percent of business leaders look at how technology can help in the company’s overall strategic plan.
Less than half or only 48 percent of the 108 Cebu CEOs surveyed by Isla Lipana & Co./PwC Philippines feel threatened by the speed of technological advancements.
Factors for successful innovation
The sentiments of Cebu businessmen are in contrast to the 80 percent of 2015 Philippine CEO survey respondents who consider technology breakthroughs like robotics, automated supply chain, enterprise solutions, and digital platforms as crucial to business transformation.
A slightly higher number or 50 percent of Cebu CEOs, which PwC Philippines calls Cebu’s next generation business leaders, see the need to continuously innovate to stay relevant for the long term.
The CEOs cited strong visionary leadership, right culture, willingness to challenge norms and take risks, capacity for creativity, and close collaboration with customers as factors for a successful innovation.
Technology as threat, opportunity
Aldie Garcia, PwC Philippines lead branch operations partner, said that for these CEOs, technology is both a threat and an opportunity.
“Our next generation business leaders believe the first to adopt will be the first to succeed,” he added.
Atty. Alexander Cabrera, PwC Philippines chairman and senior partner, said during a forum to share survey findings that “building a lasting legacy for the organization and the people they serve while growing the business is fundamental to our CEOs’ success.”
Vision for Cebu
Sought for their thoughts on how they envision a new Cebu, CEOs said focus should be on stronger partnerships between government and the private sector (83 percent), better investment incentives (63 percent), and maintaining and growing the local Cebu brands (49 percent).
PwC also found out that close to half of business owners were not originally from Cebu but moved here because of trade and economic opportunities.
Many of them or 77 percent worked for top companies as junior executives (40 percent), management executives (32 percent) , and board executives (10 percent) before going into business for themselves.
Series of CEO surveys
The survey was conducted by PwC Philippines in partnership with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and marked the first of a series to be done on Cebu business leaders.
Melanie Ng, CCCI president, said the undertaking is “envisioned to benchmark the changes in how our CEOs think and innovate.”
She added that the CEO Survey will provide a glimpse into the entrepreneurial journey of business owners that hopefully will inspire more entrepreneurs in the region. Respondents in the first CEO survey represent about 12 percent of CCCI members.
Other CEO Survey findings
Other survey findings showed that:
Majority of CEOs started their business in trading but have diversified to manufacturing, retail and wholesale distribution, and consumer and food beverage.
Over the next three years, business owners plan to enter the following industries: real estate and construction, tourism, food manufacturing, and consumer retail and technology.
Business leaders consider infrastructure, tourism, and technology as industries that need priority.