The Ureka Ecommerce Forum finally hits Mega Manila

A part of E-commerce history was made again last February 25, 2017 at Megatrade Hall 1-3, SM Megamall, Ortigas Center as the UREKA Ecommerce Forum Mega Manila 2017 happened.

The largest eCommerce circuit in the country just broke its previous record with two hundred ninety one (291) newly registered MSMEs, marking a new record.


The event began with the playing of our National Anthem followed by an invocation on stage. A vibrant and lively opening performance by Buganda Drum Beaters started the forum showcasing the colorful Filipino dances portraying the different local traditional dances of Baguio, Iloilo and Davao, the previous forum venues.

An opening video greeting by Unionbank’s Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Justo A. Ortiz welcomed the participants with an introduction about UREKA, its objectives, the power of eCommerce, and the role MSMEs play in nation building.

Edwin Bautista

This is followed by a speech by Mr. Edwin Bautista, Unionbank’s President and COO.

RJ Ledesma

The event was hosted by Rj Ledesma  and Christine Jacobs-Sandejas. Monette Iturralde-Hamlin, Founder and President of TeamAsia, joined them serving as a moderator between the participants and the keynote speakers.

Act 1

The E-commerce Forum is divided into 3 main parts: Inspire, Prepare, and Educate tackling different topics relevant to eCommerce.

The first part of the forum, or Act 1: Inspire, tackled UREKA, eCommerce: The Fears and Impressions.

Keynote speakers are:

• Assistant Secretary of DTI, Arturo Boncato Jr.

• Vice President & Head of PLDT SME Nation, Albert Mitchell “Mitch” Locsin

• SVP and Head of Transaction Banking Center of Unionbank, John Cary Ong

 The speakers talked about UREKA, its purpose and how it helps small businesses grow as well as the fears MSMEs have in venturing into eCommerce. The speakers addressed these fears telling them to let it go, emphasizing the benefits of eCommerce and how it’s not really that complicated instead a helpful one. They also gave helpful tips before going into eCommerce.

Act 2

The second part of the forum, Act 2: Prepare, with a new set of speakers, explained the eCommerce system, how it works, and the mindsets MSMEs must erase in order to enter eCommerce and be successful in their venture.

The following expert industry leaders served as the speakers:

• President & CEO of Shopinas, Sheila Lina

• President of GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications, Inc, Brad Geiser

• SVP & GM of Solutions Group AMTI, Josefino “Bong” Paloma

• Division Head, Retail Sales & Business Development of Air21, Yasmin Vasquez

• CTO & COO of DragonPay, Robertson “Dick” Chiang

• COO of Esquire International Financing Inc., Navin Uttamchandani

• CEO of Taxumo, Eugene Jose Arboleda

The speakers explained how eCommerce and UREKA works, the process, the inclusions, and the benefits. The participants already have their mindset about eCommerce and the speakers addressed these telling them to erase the idea of complexity. The pillars of eCommerce was explained, from store front to logistics and payment method.

Sheila Lina Ureka Forum Manila

Ms. Sheila Lina, President and CEO of Shopinas, explained how MSMEs can take advantage of eCommerce. She explained that UREKA is a marketplace which can be used for gathering by sellers, she termed the concept as “Hunting and Gathering”. They can hunt and gather buyers through Ureka. She also gave a tip that they should use marketplaces but to not be one.

Act 3

The last part of the forum, Act 3: Educate, gave tips and lessons on how to be successful in venturing eCommerce and how the internet can be a part of it.

The industry leaders for this part:

• Senior Executive VP, Chief Technology and Operations Officer of Unionbank, Henry Rhoel Aguda

• Unit Head Customer Segments Management Group of Unionbank, Jaypee Soliman

• Head – Solutions Group of Microsoft Philippines, Reynaldo “Rey” Lugtu

• Head of SMB Community Engagement of Facebook APAC, Beth Ann Lim

• Independent Director of Unionbank and CEO of Narra Venture, Francisco “Paco” S.A. Sandejas


The industry leaders talked about the filters of eCommerce that MSMEs must know in order to be successful. Those includes the products/whatbuy, the customer’s need/whybuy, the customers/whobuy, and taking into consideration the affordability and encourage them to tweak their products. The speakers gave tips of how to market their product and even gave business advice to MSMEs at the forum.


Beth Ann Lim of Facebook, tackled the role of Facebook and how it can help MSMEs grow their business, even sharing stories of success made possible with the help of Facebook. She even gave tips on businesses opening their Facebook accounts and the functions to use for their benefit. 


While the forum is ongoing, MSMEs are at the circuit. With the help of the E-Cadets, they are assisted into eCommerce. The Shopinas team of eCommerce specialists supervised the circuit guiding the E-Cadets and the MSMEs.

It was an overwhelming feeling when the E-Cadets together with the registered MSMEs went on stage together, seeing the fruits of their labor.

Made possible by Unionbank and other consortium partners, we keep on growing and helping MSMEs in growing their business ventures and hoping to achieve more in the future.

Written by Mitzi Laya

Photos by Mikhail Desales and Fidem Sigaya

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