The path to becoming an entrepreneur is not traditionally the road often taken by Filipinos. For those who choose this path, the road ahead can be risky at times, but for the successful startup founders, they say the journey, the experience of founding a company from scratch, is the reward itself.
Alwyn Joy Rosel has been in the Philippine startup scene for a decade now. During this time, she worked at DOST – PCIEERD (Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development) as a consultant and at the Asian Institute of Management’s Dado Banatao Incubator as a community manager.
Startups, Alwyn said, have evolved from being a novel term when she was first starting to something that people now associate with tech and companies with agile teams that move very fast. The startups’ ability to move quickly and positively impact industries has led to the rise of startup incubators in the Philippines. And many of them are funded by or in partnership with DOST or leading enterprise organizations like Microsoft, with the goal of helping startups succeed and help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
At the Dado Banatao Incubator, Alwyn’s role went beyond creating relationships with startups and the community ecosystem. “I handled most of the operations and a lot of coordination with partners to make sure the programs were up and running.”
Even when she took a break in the startup scene, Alwyn always felt she did not leave the startup community, as she continued to get invited for talks and meetups, and mentorship sessions.
Helping startups is a role Alwyn finds very fulfilling. “It’s an industry that I want to see grow and develop.”
Now the Head of Startup Development Program at QBO Innovation Hub, Alwyn is looking to draw from her years of experience helping startups in various stages of their life. “I felt it would be a good opportunity for me to share more of what I’ve learned and at the same time learn how I can become more of a startup enabler for the ecosystem,” she noted.
Alwyn is in charge of the activities and programs to help guide or assist startups as they go along the startup journey. Her team primarily benefits those who have their prototypes or minimum viable product (MVP) already, adding that they will provide support through training, services, or funding as they go through each phase.
Setting up the team for success has made her schedule more jam-packed than usual, yet Alwyn finds fulfillment in her current role. “We cannot really complain that we’re tired because we find it very fulfilling doing all of this,” she remarked. “I think this is where the quote ‘para sa bayan’ applies because knowing that you’re doing this for your country makes it very fulfilling despite the challenges.”
When asked what advice she can give young women aspiring to become entrepreneurs, she said that purpose is a powerful motivator, but the journey is challenging and tricky. “But as you go along the journey and you feel that ‘this is not just for me, I’m creating this tech, I’m creating this product or service, not for me but really to make an impact on people and the society,’ that makes it more meaningful,” Alwyn noted.
“If you feel that you have that passion in you. Kung buo ang loob mo to create this product and service. I think you should just give it a try,” Alwyn said. But she cautioned that when you give it a try, you also have to be prepared.
“It takes a while for you to create something, so be prepared to go through the journey, you look into the pros and cons. You ask yourself whether it’s an emotional thing or if you have the capacity to execute, you even think about financials. As long as the goal is to create something that would make things better, easier, more convenient, and for the good of everyone, I think it will always be worth it.” – Alwyn Rosel, QBO
Alwyn is engaged with Microsoft and their startup initiatives, a program aimed at helping B2B startups successfully scale their companies in the Philippines and globally. More than providing access to tools like Microsoft Azure, Microsoft connects startup founders to in-house mentors to give thoughts and insights about startup development, as well as help them unlock the right opportunities for their venture. To learn more about this program, visit the Microsoft for Startup Initiatives website.
This article is produced in collaboration with Microsoft and originally published on BitPinas: Women in Tech: How Building a Startup is Challenging Yet Fulfilling