Cebu or not Cebu? Startup Oasis provides digital nomad support in Philippines

Beach in Cebu

This might sound cliche, but the Philippines really is a name that conjures up images of idyllic beaches and islands (there are more than 7,000), probably to a larger extent than any other Southeast Asian destination, barring Thailand. Throughout the years the country has proved a strong lure for those seeking an escape or a chance to “find themselves”.

In the 1990s, back when the fax machine was the height of sophistication, young author Alex Garland was inspired to write his Gen-X classic The Beach after spending six months in El Nido (while the book itself was set in Thailand). And the rest, as they say, is history, with Garland more recently directing Oscar-winning Ex Machina. Such is the creative power of getting away from it all (while I’m admittedly still waiting for my own lightning bolt of inspiration).

Cebu City is a little more accessible than mystical El Nido, and that’s no bad thing. Budding entrepreneurs can easily escape the pressure cookers that are Hong Kong and Singapore by flying over to Cebu for the weekend, where thanks to Startup Oasis they can get an idea off the ground before swimming with manta rays (soothing for those pummelled brain cells).

Startup Oasis as the name suggests, is a sanctuary for startups, providing co-working, co-living and business support from a large villa (almost like a cross between The Apprentice and a tropical Big Brother, minus the television cameras).

Experienced designers and developers will take on an idea, shape it, and turn it into a web or mobile product, interacting with resident entrepreneurs throughout.

There are three packages available: prototype development for two weeks, a one-month summer camp for those “sleeping on an idea for too long”, and a three-month programme for existing entrepreneurs who need an extra pair of hands.

And thereafter, who knows? Perhaps we will see a new Alex Garland emerge, inspired by Cebu and fit for the post-capitalist age. How does an augmented reality version of swimming with whale sharks sound?

Are you a British entrepreneur moving to China? The Media Pioneers wants to hear from you

China is the new land of opportunity these days, from tourism to tech (Facebook is trying very hard to get in and Snap is reportedly eyeing a way in).

It’s also a tough nut to crack, with some American companies already deciding their big China opportunity is over. Some brands get it hopelessly wrong, and some people lose it completely.

As such, Chinese adventures make compelling television, as programmes like An Idiot Abroad confirm (though Karl Pilkington’s experiences were not a patch on mine). As luck would have it, TV production company The Media Pioneers is looking to hear from budding entrepreneurs who are leaving the UK to start a business in China for the purpose of chronicling their journey.

At a time when shows like The Apprentice feels passé (why start a business in London when you can have a go in the world’s second biggest economy?) and Brexit supposedly means Brexit, now feels a good moment to turn the spotlight on entrepreneurs in Shanghai rather than Shoreditch.

If interested, email: ubutt@themediapioneers.co.uk or mliang@themediapioneers.co.uk (and good luck!).

Working from a cafe? This Startups.co.uk survival guide might help

Man holding smartphone in cafe
Startups.co.uk, a UK-based (as you’ve probably gathered) independent resource for anyone wanting to start or build a business, has published a nice “survival guide” to anyone wanting to start a business from a cafe. Author Trevor Clawson covers the following essential checklist items, in addition to things you will need to take with you before you order that flat white:

 

  • Connectivity
  • Power
  • Peace and quiet
  • Good coffee
  • Comfortable seating
  • Friendly staff
  • A customer toilet
  • Somewhere to make calls
  • A view

 

With more and more of us choosing to work from a cafe* (and I’ve seen them all, from job and media interviewees to employment tribunal lawyers), a sensible list such as this would come in very handy. It would also be interesting to see coffee shops rated based on their suitability – are independent cafes more relevant than mainstream chains (typically appealing to the white collar worker)?

 

*I’m writing these words from Cosans coffee shop in Kuala Lumpur