Paying it Forward Through Connections

The following is an excerpt from The Evangelists: Insights from Leaders of the Nation’s Most Beloved Brands. Written by Monica Padillo, this chapter is titled “Paying it Forward Through Connections.” In it, Maita Mojica, the Head of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships of Endeavor Philippines, is interviewed about how the organization executes its strategy in networking.   

In the world of business, connections are important. It’s often a rewarding feeling for a  business leader to close deals, work with other like-minded entrepreneurs, and hire  great talent as they scale up their businesses. However, more often than not, building  connections is not easy for a number of reasons. Sometimes it starts with giving a good  first impression, finding the right people to share your ideas with or simply having access  to the right type of resources they need. 

Maita Mojica can second this being the Head of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships  of non-profit organization Endeavor Philippines, which is part of a network of Endeavor  offices located across North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and  Asia. Mojica has been in the business of connecting entrepreneurs to mentors, investors,  journalists, talent, and more for over two years.  

However, as mentioned before, building this bridge was not easy. To help business leaders  make high value connections, Endeavor Philippines hosts a range of events that fall under  two categories: servicing events and social events. 

Mojica explained that the organization’s servicing events were designed to allow  participating entrepreneurs to get access to Endeavor Philippines’ global network of  mentors, investors, markets, and talent. When it came to providing access to mentors, for  example, Endeavor Philippines connected entrepreneurs to relevant people who can give  them feedback on different aspects of their businesses. 

Some of the prominent figures included in Endeavor Philippines’ mentor network include  Ayala Corporation CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, J.P. Morgan Philippines Executive  Director Carlos Mendoza, NutriAsia President Angie Flaminiano, and Suy Sing Commercial  Corporation President Tina Tan. 

The organization has also hosted investor networking events where entrepreneurs can  connect with investors and gain access to different markets as some participants hailed  from different countries, mostly from the Asia Pacific. 

One of the organization’s most successful investor networking events was MatchCAP,  which was launched in 2019, just a year after Mojica joined Endeavor. During MatchCAP,  30 entrepreneurs and 30 investors were paired in a speed dating fashion and given 12  minutes to talk to each other. It became an effective way for both parties to state their  purpose—entrepreneurs shared about their business and reason for seeking capital and  investors explained their investment philosophy, asked questions, and selected which  projects they could support. 

Even Manny Ayala, the managing director of Endeavor Philippines, participated in the  event as a “matchmaker” as he would talk to the participating business leaders, shake  

their hands, and make them feel comfortable. In that moment alone, he was able to build  connections for himself as well, staying true to his leadership role in the organization. 

Mojica said that MatchCAP became a platform for entrepreneurs raising anywhere from  series A to series C funding rounds, as well as a venue for investors, from corporate and  traditional venture capitalists to private equity firms, to fund various businesses. 

Endeavor Philippines was able to measure the effectiveness of the event by looking at how  engaged the entrepreneurs were at MatchCAP and how much value they were getting  from it. Mojica recalled one entrepreneur who spent eight months trying to meet with a  particular investor prior to MatchCAP. The investor fortunately participated in Endeavor  Philippines’ event and this move prompted the entrepreneur to join as well. Not only did  the entrepreneur meet his target investor, but conversed with 10 other investors in a two hour window as well. 

“We have this global network of mentors and investor relations that we believe is  Endeavor’s strength and can be used to leverage what we can offer,” Mojica said. “We  have no control over the amount an investor has invested in a company or the amount an  entrepreneur has raised. What we are good at as an organization is organizing those very  valuable introductions.” 

The success of the first MatchCAP prompted Endeavor Philippines to organize a bigger  and better one in 2020 but had to shift the event online due to consequences brought on  by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of talking in person, entrepreneurs and investors had  to interact through their screens.  

Mojica added that they had to scale down their number of attendees, from 60 to 32,  to manage simultaneous breakout rooms on Zoom. Despite the limited circumstances,  Endeavor Philippines organized the 2020 MatchCAP gathering as their first truly regional  event. They had representation from each of their five Asia Pacific offices, as well as  neighboring countries like Singapore—further promoting diversity and leveraging the wide  reach of their network. 

One of the investors who participated in the virtual event was Matt Kolling, Chief  Investment Officer of UBX, UnionBank’s financial technology and corporate venture  capital arm. He agreed that MatchCAP was able to successfully help both investors and  startups in getting opportunities to invest or innovate in a region or country with sufficient  observed participation. 

Aside from their servicing events, Endeavor Philippines also hosted more casual and  laid back social gatherings where like-minded business people meet and engage. One  of these events was called Endeavor FOAM (Friends On A Mission). During this event,  entrepreneurs were free to drink together, share their stories, and expand their network.  

The first Endeavor FOAM of 2020 was hosted by Alaska Milk Corporation Chairman and  Endeavor Board Member Fred Uytengsu. 

Through all of these efforts, Endeavor Philippines has helped a number of entrepreneurs  find their ground and achieve their goals. Some of their entrepreneurs include Kalibrr CEO  Paul Rivera, world-renowned furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue, Sprout Solutions co founders Patrick Gentry and Alex Gentry, and Coins.ph CEO Ron Hose. 

Mojica said Endeavor Philippines was able to start an “economic multiplier effect”—once  entrepreneurs form connections and scale their business, they were able to pay it forward  by investing in other companies, mentoring other companies, generating more revenue,  and creating more jobs. 

“Business founders start other companies, they mentor others, and it creates that multiplier  effect,” she said. “So far, the 27 entrepreneurs that Endeavor Philippines has selected  have created over 2,200 jobs and generated USD$230 million dollars in revenue in 2019  alone. And there have been thousands of mentorship hours donated by the people in our  network.” 

In all events, Endeavor Philippines makes sure they are tailored to be “GIFTT moments,”  which was short for Glad I Found The Time. Mojica explained that because the people in  their network were consistently busy, Endeavor Philippines needed to make sure their  events were substantial and meaningful so that the participants would feel that they spent  their time well. 

“Every time participants come to an event, we have to make sure that they leave thinking  they are glad they found the time to attend, or consider the experience as a ‘GIFT,’” she  said. 

At the end of the day, Mojica said it’s all about listening to their customers and seeking  their feedback. She added that it was also a matter of going back to the organization’s  mission and mantra, which she believed was what other communications professionals  should consider when organizing programs or creating materials for their brand. 

“I think a lot of the time, big corporations can get lost in hitting a quota, getting the first  mover advantage in launching products, or generally being louder in their sphere,” Mojica  said. “Endeavor is not very loud. We make up for it by tailoring our services and our comms  depending on how they can help entrepreneurs. At Endeavor, we are ‘entrepreneurs first.’  It’s important to remember your mission and why you’re doing what you do.”

To get more insights from other marketing leaders like Maita Mojica, please check out the full book, available for purchase here


The Evangelists - and other business books about the Philippines and Asia Pacific - will soon be streaming on Audiophile, our platform for exclusive Filipino audiobooks. 

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