Technology for generosity, social good

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UNICEF’s online shop at Lazada will feature various gifts as backpacks and school supplies – real items that have an instant impact on children’s lives.

Technology and generosity may seem incongruent. The former is a means or a conduit, while the latter is a virtue characterized by giving and sharing. But together, they can result in the betterment of society.

Lazada’s partnership with UNICEF might last only during the Christmas season, but its program for entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises will have longer lasting effects

Lazada recently joined hands with UNICEF, which will have a shop at the online portal until 31 December 2018. Through this shop, consumers may buy gifts such as backpacks, hygiene kits and emergency supplies with prices ranging from P199 to P999, and these will be donated to children all over the country.

“E-Commerce has helped cater to the needs of many underserved Filipinos and our UNICEF partnership allows us to extend this help to those who need it the most. With kids, a little help goes a long way because you’re helping build the future, one child at a time. We believe that the Filipino future is bright because of the kids we help today through our platform,” Lazada Philippines CEO Ray Alimurung says.

“Living in the Philippines, you know that there are environmental emergencies every year so it is very important for us to be prepared,” says UNICEF special advocate Daphne Osena-Paez, who is confident that many Filipinos will support this online shop as studies show that Filipinos are the most socially-conscious consumers in the world.

“So having a partnership with Lazada now is so wonderful because it makes it so much more easier to make a difference and I guess to feel good about yourself. But it’s not just about you feeling good about yourself because you are making a direct impact to the lives of the children,” she adds.

Alimurung says Lazada’s Mompreneurs program in the Philippines provides stay-at-home mothers with free training and assistance that allows them to run an online store while juggling family responsibilities.

Lazada’s partnership with UNICEF might last only during the Christmas season, but its program for entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SME) will have longer lasting effects.

By 2030, it aims to support eight million e-Commerce entrepreneurs and SME in Southeast Asia through the creation of an inclusive and sustainable e-Commerce ecosystem in the region.

Donations made through the online shop help UNICEF to respond immediately to needs of children and families during disasters.

“Our goal is to cultivate eight million entrepreneurs by the year 2030. It’s a sign of commitment by Lazada. How do we do that? What we do is invest in our logistics and technology of sellers and brands, we do our own warehouse, we have our own delivery network and provide a wide coverage. We also train our sellers to give them tools to make it easy to do business from Lazada,” Alimurung explains.

Alimurung was joined by Osena-Paez; Simon Baptist, global chief economist and managing director, Economic Intelligence Unit in Asia; Department of Trade and Industry’s eCommerce head Dir. Ma. Lourdes Yaptinchay, L’Oreal’s country managing director Thibault de Saint Victor; and media personality/beauty queen Laura Lehmann as host.

“Our goal is to give them equal access to build a nationwide business, eventually allowing the potential to build a regional or a global brand. This shows that Lazada is on the right track and that there is huge customer demand for e-Commerce. These are very exciting times for e-Commerce. It shows that we are a part of an industry that is in its sunrise, an industry that will forever impact and uplift the lives of Filipinos,” he adds.

DTI’s Yaptinchay says the government has the “Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan” that is providing employment to Filipinos.

Our goal is to give them equal access to build a nationwide business, eventually allowing the potential to build a regional or a global brand.

“It addresses the needs of the micro, small and medium enterprises. So right now, with our program, we implement it through almost a thousand Negosyo Centers which we have established nationwide. These would help facilitate the SME to register their business and for them to have access with services like financing, packaging,” Yaptinchay says.

Alimurung adds that the new generation of sellers see e-Commerce as a necessity.

“And e-Commerce players like Lazada can be strategic partners to sellers who are committed to their professional and business growth. Their thriving businesses will boost the ecosystem.”

However, the various challenges faced by SME in Southeast Asia are the limited fulfilment players, a small and fragmented transportation sector, as well as vastly different infrastructure landscapes and logistics.

“Singapore has led the way in actively pursuing an agenda for open trade borders. However, there are still challenges for SME, especially in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, due to a lack of access to financial and support services, as well as a need to develop capacity in e-payments and e-Commerce,” says Baptist.

“Our research showed that logistics is a challenge, particularly in archipelagos like Indonesia and the Philippines. Road networks, as well as the retail and distribution network, came up as higher-risk areas for e-Commerce firms,” he adds, agreeing with other panelists that data and technology as the two key factors that will dynamically evolve the experience for online shoppers.

E-Commerce has also lured female entrepreneurs as well as shoppers.

“When you consider how female shoppers will be key demand drivers as ASEAN economies develop, it makes business sense for large eCommerce players to cultivate female entrepreneurship, particularly in certain e-Commerce categories, like cosmetics and children’s products, that will be fueled by female-driven growth,” says Baptist.

Alimurung says Lazada’s Mompreneurs program in the Philippines provides stay-at-home mothers with free training and assistance that allows them to run an online store while juggling family responsibilities.

“Women play a significant role in the digital economy, and an inclusive eCommerce ecosystem is one that creates an empowering environment for women entrepreneurs. In supporting the local female community,” Alimurung emphasizes.

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