Paving the way for technopreneurs: Start-ups at UP JMA’s NEXT

Technopreneurs, or technology-based entrepreneurs, have been rising as of late. They’re often run by young entrepreneurs, usually millennials, with a purpose in mind other than making money: public service, pursuing their passion, etc.

These companies seem to come out of nowhere and become success stories seemingly overnight. They start off as an idea, and blossom into something that’s suddenly the talk of the town. They cater to things you wouldn’t have thought of, or may have but never had the chance to pursue.

The University of the Philippines – Junior Marketers Association (UP JMA) recently held NEXT: Kickstarting Innovation at the Gateway Gallery in Quezon City to introduce some of these tech start-ups.

CALIFORNILA. Delivering anything you purchase from any international online store that ships to the US straight to your door. Know more about them at


GAVA. Crowdfunding for a cause… no matter how big or small it may be. Learn more at


MOBER. You’ve heard of Grab and Uber? Think of Mober as something similar… but for delivery and/or moving vans. Know how to move at a click at, or download the app from App Store or Google Play.

We picked out two of the most unique start-ups that graced the event, start-ups that you should keep your eyes on in the coming years:


3D printing has been around for a while, but Filipinos often associate it with foreign companies that use it to build high-tech equipment. Local companies often resort to overseas orders just so they can prototype a certain product or part of a product, often to debilitating costs… until today.

Shapecloud, the country’s first online 3D printing platform, gives locals access to a user-friendly option that doesn’t require you to go to offshore companies just to bring a 3D model to life. Some of the services they provide are 3D scanning, CAD services, and, of course, 3D printing.


Shapecloud makes 3D printing look like an ordinary process by letting users either upload their designs on their website or choose from the many designs they have in store. You can also have them do 3D models of photos you have, though that would cost you extra.

They’ve already gotten a foothold in the country thanks to partnerships with businesses and schools, particularly those who deal with engineering and architecture. They have also branched out to producing one-of-a-kind memorabilia, which you can have shipped directly to your home anywhere in the country or the world!

To know more about Shapecloud, visit their website or follow them on social media (Shapecloud on Facebook and @shapecloudph on Instagram).

Mica PH

Waiting in line is trivial for most countries, but it’s a part of everyday life in the Philippines. Anywhere you go, there’s a line you have to stand and wait in before you get to what you want… only to be led to another line.


Three Ateneo high school students saw this as an opportunity and created Mica Q, an online application that lets you queue up for an appointment with a doctor, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) embassy without the need to actually line up.

Mica Q is like setting an appointment – only smarter. All you need to do as the user is to choose the date and time of your appointment and you’re good to go. A text message confirms your appointment, and integration with Waze makes sure you can make the most out of your day before having to go to your appointment.

Both the app and the appointment site are set to go live in mid-2017, but interested clients can already ask about their services by sending an email to For updates on this unique app, follow them on Facebook (Mica PH) and Twitter (@teammicaph).


Article Source: Primer

With only US$50, LA-based Pinoy millennial starts successful online shopping business

Ishka and pre-Christmas deliveries. Photo by Ishka

Ishka Villacisneros-Tusjakova is 27 years old and lives in Los Angeles, California. She may seem like your regular Filipina migrant who is starting her family abroad, but in fact, she singlehandedly built an internet empire that capitalizes on Filipinos’ love for imported goods.

In her teens, she built, formerly Stuff2Shop, an increasingly popular website that acts as your “Personal Shopper from California to Manila.” Whatever stuff you want in the US, Californila will personally purchase for you. It acts as your personal taga-padala that will ship straight to your door via Sea Cargo and Air Cargo, may it be in the Philippines or in other parts of the world. You may order from their online store, have a customized order, or even order in bulk.

Years later, because of Californila’s success, Ishka not only has the financial freedom to buy sports cars and her own house, but she also employed her grandmother and other members of her community.

Ishka and her team gets four batches of these orders in a day. Photo by Ishka

The American dream

Ishka migrated to Los Angeles with her family when she turned 18. She was fortunate enough to experience the exciting world of American shopping – she had access to the latest gadgets, novelty items and other unique products that her friends back in the Philippines wanted.

Having this opportunity, when she made a bit of money from a part time job at a café, she would send items that are worthy to share to her friends and relatives in the Philippines. It wasn’t long before her relatives, friends and friends-of-friends took this as an opportunity to obtain commodities from American retailers, similar to nakikisuyo or pabili.

“My friends and relatives were the ones who asked me for the ‘personal shopper fee’ because they realize there are expenses such as time, gas and shipping. That’s when I started the ‘Personal Shopper and Shipper’ service,” she recalled.

To make ordering easier for her potential customers, she first set up shop in Multiply back in 2007. She called it “Stuff2Shop” but she was always apprehensive of her dependence on the free shop hosting website.

“There were a lot of features that cannot accommodate so I decided to build my own site from [scratch]. I also had a bigger vision for the Californila website – to be an actual online store processing orders and special orders not on the product list on the site,” Ishka said.

Being a Bachelor of Science in Information and Communications Technology Management graduate from De La Salle University – Manila, she quickly went to work to program her own website. She also created a system to make the process more efficient.

When the website launched, they had around five to ten product orders a month and shipping once a month. Roughly three years later, they have around 5,000 to 8,000 product orders a month and they ship almost every day.

“We’re actually moving to [a] bigger warehouse this month which is four times bigger than our previous office space,” she said.

As the number of orders grew, Ishka realized that she is allowing Filipino consumers who are not in the US to experience the shopping privilege she had.

“I provided them with [a] faster, more convenient and more affordable way to shop for products from the US without needing to wait for their relatives to bring it to them as pasalubong,” she said.


Carefully sealing packages. Photo by Ishka

A one-woman show

The road to success hasn’t been easy for Ishka. For one, she did not have enough funds to accommodate all of the orders. She would even borrow money from her parents. Another issue she faced was the time difference.

“It was a one woman show – running the website, buying orders, taking the public transportation (because I didn’t drive back then), working the wee hours in the US until around 4 or 5 AM because it’s morning in the Philippines, and still having [to] go to work at 7 AM.”

Ishka explained that this routine is made more challenging because on top of all of her tasks, she still needs to do personal or household chores like cleaning, cooking and doing laundry. She had managed to survive, however, because she had been trained well in managing her time.

Before her migration to the States, she had already been a working student. In fact, she had been working as early as 11 years old, doing clerical tasks for her parents’ company.

“I actually would like to thank my parents for giving me the opportunity to be exposed to these experiences at such an early age. Balancing school and work at age 11 can be challenging, but it’s really not that hard if you enjoy what you do,” she said.

Eventually, she was able to take on bigger tasks such as payroll and database management at the age of 14. She would go to Makati after she finished school in Quezon City to release the payroll for her mom’s employees. On weekends, she would also work with her mom on their database management company.


“It taught me how to manage my time effectively, to be more responsible for my actions and decisions but still have fun in everything I was doing. My parents made working seem like playing,” she said.

“At 18, I started taking more risks when I built my own businesses so I started taking my own risks, learning from my mistakes, accept failure but still never give up on your dreams,” she added.

And true enough, time management and her hard work paid off. grew and it also paved way for her to establish other businesses. She also currently runs a one-stop-shop Digital Creative Agency in Los Angeles which offers website design, graphic design, marketing, video production/TV commercials, billboard production in Las Vegas, and across Los Angeles and many more.

She is also a partner of a popular online community portal for the Filipino people abroad. The portal provides up-to-date information on Filipino related businesses, events, deals and coupons, job openings and even offers easy-to-digest cultural information. It also gives the Filipino subscribers a voice and allows them to share valuable information and their experiences even if they are miles apart.

With her earnings, she was able to buy a brand new BMW Sports Car at the age of 18, a Mercedes Benz SUV at the age of 23, and a house in Los Angeles at the age of 25.

Despite these, Ishka believes that materials things should not establish the success of a person or a business.

“True success is not measured by material things. True success is your happiness. One of my happiness about running this company is having the ability to hire my 83-year-old grandmother as one of my social media managers and also provide jobs to those who deserve to get a chance,” she said.

Ishka and her crates of deliveries. Photo by Ishka

No limitations

Though she has faced initial challenges and some even doubted her capacities because of her young age, Ishka believes that age is not a weakness. She believes in the saying, “Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind.”

“I think it’s all about the experience. There are a lot of hurdles I encountered that I know people I’m dealing with even threefold my age hasn’t even encountered. No matter what age you are, you can accomplish anything if you put your heart and soul into it,” she said.

“The funny part about building my business at a young age is, I am the youngest worker in the company!”

Ishka said that you need to conquer your fears before starting a business. From her experience, some of the common entrepreneurial fears are: (1) lacking enough background and knowledge to get started; (2) fear of failure; (3) being overwhelmed, and; (4) initially losing some of your own money.

“The fear of the unknown will always be there and there’s always a room for improvement, but I believe once you build your own structure and find people who you can trust and invest on, your business is on the right track,” she advised.

And of course, running her own business has its perks.

“My business is a reflection of who I am. Handling my own business feels like I’m in my own playground. If you actually visit one of our offices, you’ll see a fun working environment where employees would consider it a place to work and play,” she said.

Five years from now, Ishka looks forward to a lot of changes, especially since her business heavily relies on technology. For Californila, she’s envisioning the company to make online shopping abroad to be as simple as shopping at your local malls but getting the convenience of shopping from anywhere, from any of your mobile devices.

Despite the fickleness and fast-paced characteristic of a digital business, Ishka firmly believes that starting your business online is the way to go. She attested that it is extremely inexpensive, you’ll have more flexibility of your time, you have the freedom of choosing your location and you have unlimited income potential.

“If you’re looking to start your business, start it when you’re young so you’ll have more energy and motivation, more time to learn from your mistakes, you have less responsibilities, fewer commitments and much more time to make up for any losses you’ll incur.”

Article Source: Entrepreneur PH


5 Influential Filipino Women – 21st Century Literature

When you hear the word “influential”, most people would immediately think of Henry Sy or John Gokongwei. In fact, majority of our presidents and leaders are men. However, there are lots of strong independent women in our country just waiting to be discovered.

1.Encarnacion Alzona

Encarnacion Alzona was the first Filipina to complete her doctoral studies and national scientist. She was also an advocate of women’s suffrage.  She explained that if women are permitted to vote, men’s respect for them would likely increase because “a person enjoying full political rights deserves greater       respect and esteem than a disenfranchised one.”

2.Maria Corazon Aquino

Following the Marcos occupation, the late president Cory Aquino led the nation from dictatorship to democracy. From the crony capitalism to a market economy, she allowed the normal “Juan” to start his very own business. She also restored human rights as rights and not just a privilege. She was the first female president in Asia and was also named Time magazine’s “Woman of the Year” in 1986.

3.Therese “Reese” Fernandez- Ruiz

Reese Fernandez-Ruiz opened opportunities for women in poor communities in 2007 with her business, Rags 2 Riches where she and her team weave accessories out of scrap cloth, organic materials and indigenous fabrics. Due to her efforts and impact on our society, she was recently listed as part of  Forbes’ list of 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs.

4.Ishka Villacisneros-Tusjakova

Ishka is another young entrepreneur in the community. The 27-year-old is the founder of Californila an online store where customers from Manila can purchase items which are only available in the US.

5.Ayasofya Vittoria Aguirre

This seven year old Filipina figure skater won 3 gold medals in the recent 29th Annual Skate Japan 2017 held in Ageo City, Japan. She also got one silver and was voted best overall in Artistic Performance. Above all that, it was her first time to join a foreign competition.

These women have shown that no matter your age, gender or social status, you can make waves in the world through hard work and dedication. Do you know any other influential Filipinas waiting to be known?

Article Source: 21st Century Literature