Jerry Rapes

Jerry Rapes: Head in the Cloud, feet on Cebu

IF WE do things right, Exist president and chief executive officer Jerry Rapes said, the opportunity is really big.

From $9 billion and 500,000 direct jobs in 2010, the information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector in the Philippines is targeting $25 billion in revenues and 1.3 million workers by 2016.

Rapes is optimistic about hitting the target.

“I think Filipinos are as good as anybody in the world,” he said in his Cebu office at the Asiatown IT Park. Local developers are “very good and trainable and although there are areas for improvement, they are technically sound.”

Filipino developers are good at collaborating and have an excellent command of English. “The US market is still the biggest IT market. When you get a project from the US, the Filipinos don’t need translators, they can communicate directly with the American client, partners and engineers,” Rapes said.

Skilled workers

But for the industry to thrive, it must have regular supply of skilled workers.

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Start up, get ready to go

The excitement was palpable in last Thursday night’s meetup among Cebu startups at the office of the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (Cedf-it). So was the sense of optimism.

Members of the TechTalks.ph community, which is hosted in an account with meetup.com, gathered to meet other members with the arrival in Cebu of organizer Tina (she requested that we identify her only by her first name).

Last Thursday’s event was the eighth meetup of the group. Previous meetups covered such topics as Google applications, business of software startups and challenges of building one, and how to set up a company.

The group previously had as speaker Eric Su, the founder of photo-sharing service PicLyf. Su said during his guesting that unlike Silicon Valley or other areas where startups have succeeded, the Philippines is a “harsh environment” for startups.

Still, local startups are undeterred. Those present last Thursday–web developers, hardcore programmers, site managers, service founders–were excitedly talking about projects they were doing or planning during the meet and in the after-event meal and drinks.

Members of local startups meet in the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (CEDF-IT) office at the Asiatown IT Park in Cebu City. (Photo by Honeylyn Balingcasag)
Members of local startups meet in the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (CEDF-IT) office at the Asiatown IT Park in Cebu City. (Photo by Honeylyn Balingcasag)

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