Stronger together with Ye!
The Ye! Community is the International Trade Centre’s global platform for young and aspiring entrepreneurs to connect with resources, mentors, opportunities and peers – without barriers.
Chino Atilano from the Philippines counts himself lucky to be part of this community that is home to more than 18,000 young entrepreneurs and 300 expert mentors. Evelyn Seltier talked to the tech start-up founder to find out why.
What does the Ye! Community mean to you?
For me, the Ye! community stands for solidarity: it is our collective goal to make the world a better place through our products or services. This community of youth entrepreneurs has so much potential. It is up to us to tap into this potential and make the most of the community’s opportunities, be it through networking, mentoring, funding or other support activities.
As a Ye! Youth Representative for the Philippines, it is a privilege and honour to help a cause in which I truly believe. Youth entrepreneurship development is something I am very passionate about. I had the fortune to receive mentorship and support during my early entrepreneurial years, and I am excited to pay this experience ‘forward’.
What motivated you to become a member of the Ye! Community?
In 2015, I won a pitching competition that Ye! organized. Over the next few years, my involvement in the community evolved and I officially became a Ye! Youth Representative for the Philippines.
Apart from the obvious benefits of linking up with like-minded peers, what particularly motivated me was to help fellow young entrepreneurs take their business to the next level – just as my mentors did for me when I started out.
In your view, in how far do virtual communities such as Ye!, build support and create jobs for youth around the world?
Virtual communities make it easier to exchange ideas and learn from each other. Personally, I have learned many best practices from other countries that I have taken back home and shared with my colleagues and fellow entrepreneurs.
Additionally, having a virtual community with participants all around the world enriches our discussions, ensuring a broader range of points of view with valuable insights on how we can run or start our business.
You have your own tech start-up, TimeFree Innovations. What does it offer and how did you get the idea for this?
My co-founders and I were in our mid-20's when we started our tech company. It primarily focuses on productivity software and applications, including a virtual queuing mobile app that helps customers avoid waiting in line, and a data analytics platform that helps businesses improve staff productivity and efficiency. The idea was born from our experiences dealing with inefficiencies in business operations.
Which challenges have you experienced as a young entrepreneur? And which solutions have you found?
Some of our earliest challenges were figuring out aspects of running your own business, such as talent acquisition, accounting, legal and marketing as well as how to come up with a business model that works. My co-founders and I are all engineers. We had no formal education in business management, so it was a challenge to acquire all these new skills.
We managed to overcome these challenges through our collective and deliberate pursuit of learning opportunities, seeking mentors, exchanging ideas with fellow entrepreneurs, and having a go-getter attitude. We made an effort to better ourselves every day.
What are you future plans for TimeFree Innovations?
We would like to invest in research and development to be in a better position for valuable solutions and apps for our customers. We are bullish about how data will become even more indispensable for companies to optimize processes and streamline operations.
With this, our plan for TimeFree is to bolster our capabilities in data analytics while strengthening our information security for data privacy.