Yvana Wong’s innate desire for growth inspired her to perform several roles that always took her outside her comfort zone. After all, not all first jobs require a rookie employee to pack their bags and move far from their homes. For job aspirants, such offers are insane and would require a lot of courage to decide. Well, the Manila-based Yvana took it anyway, and so Procter and Gamble assigned her to Bacolod and then to Tuguegarao. “It’s a very interesting role because the foundation that was built upon me was very strong. I learned a lot very quickly. Until today, I’m able to apply frameworks and skills I picked up early on.”
At the first junction of her career, she was reminded of how interested she was in technology and data analytics, leading her to learn more about this space and industry. “That’s when I decided to ask myself where I want to go and realized tech and innovation is where I can create the most impact,” she expressed.
Startups and Fintech
After moving back to Manila, Yvana began working for First Circle, a fintech startup, that gave her the opportunity to engage with different stakeholders and partners. She quickly went to work on the startup’s special projects. “We performed a lot of experiments. I learned the value of validating assumptions and experimenting, then learning from the failures, which will propel you for faster growth in the future, she revealed.
Yvana said that her long-term motivation is to work with startups, incubators, and accelerators. She also sees fintech as the “enabler” of all the other industries’ growth. It’s a critical way to give a leg up to the country’s financial sector, that can serve as the springboard for more innovative solutions. There is a need to guarantee that our banking and payments infrastructure that facilitates commerce is there. “I wanted to be part of the team that enabled SMEs to grow. They have so much potential to grow and expand,” Yvana pointed out.
Something that Yvana has been doing for the last few years in her personal capacity is helping social enterprises like Bayan Academy. Through these projects, she’s able to work at the intersection of people, planet, and profit. When asked why she chooses to channel her energy into this space, Yvana says that, “a social enterprise is sustainable, it helps with our GDP and churns the economy around, and at the same time helps communities and the environment.”
Yvana recounted how she got involved in revamping TESDA’s curriculum—allowing her to help bring together its stakeholders in partnership with DTI, as well as transportation and logistics companies. Such collaboration allowed them to figure out what the industry needs and how to train people to give them an actual path to employment. She was very passionate about upskilling and empowerment and saw its impact on almost a million Filipino laborers.
Throughout Yvana Wong’s career, one key trend is her unique role being always at the intersection of collaboration between the government, corporations, and startups. To her, when all sectors work together, the impact is continuously compounded.
So when the opportunity for Microsoft for Startups came knocking, she knew it would be perfect for her because it’s a program that helps budding entrepreneurs and startups get a leg up, whether on the business side or the technology side.
Microsoft for Startups is a global initiative that helps B2B startups scale their operations quickly and successfully. In addition to providing access and training to products like Microsoft Azure, the initiative is focused on leveraging Microsoft’s long-standing enterprise clients to help startups unlock the right opportunities for their venture.
Heightened Importance of Security
A big focus of Microsoft is security. Security is critical, especially with B2B businesses. It’s not easy to create a secure application when a cloud provider is not focused on it. Fintech, with all the rules and regulations surrounding it, is required by law to ensure that their applications and products are highly secure against bad actors, which is very important with all the hacks happening now.
Through Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud computing service, startups can build, test, deploy and manage applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers. Azure has a comprehensive set of compliance offerings necessary for any business, especially fintech, and can empower a startup to scale their websites and businesses globally.
Azure is a highly robust service for companies using its cloud infrastructure while utilizing its built-in securities. This directory counts more than 600 paid and free products under the Azure suite of tools, including Azure DevOps and Azure Application Insights. The Microsoft for Startups Initiative not only provides access to these tools. Perhaps its most significant benefit is access to Azure experts that will mentor startups and developers on utilizing the most of Azure and how to use it properly.
Even before Microsoft for Startups was launched, the multinational company has been a very early pioneer of supporting startups in the Philippines. It has helped build developer communities, organize hackathons, and advocate “teching up” in the country.
Microsoft’s key strength has always been its enterprise-facing side, and in its DNA is the drive to work with partners to find win-win collaborations. As such, emerging ventures that are part of the Microsoft for Startups initiative get access to industry-leading products and well-connected account teams. Additionally, startups can take advantage of Microsoft’s commercial marketplaces and partner ecosystem in a streamlined path to maximize marketing and special events with the corporation. After all, at the end of the day, the most significant thing a startup needs is traction.
Beyond this, the tech company also acts like a mentor to startups – providing them with a customized go-to-market plan to maximize their venture, as well as 24/7 technical support, among others.
For more information on how to be part of the Microsoft for Startups Initiative, visit here.
This article is in collaboration with Microsoft and published on BitPinas: Working in Collaboration With Each Other