At the recently concluded APEC Summit 2015 held in Manila Philippines from Nov 16-20, Obama acted as moderator in one of the panels with Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma and Filipina Engineering professor, inventor, and Sustainable Alternative Lighting (SALt) CEO Aisa Mijeno.
SALt to modernize remote Philippine areas
During the first part, Obama and Ma highlighted the issue of climate change, of which both are advocates. The SALt lamp uses saline solution to generate light, and Mijeno, who is also a young entrepreneur, wants to focus her efforts into providing lighting to island communities in the Philippines that are not connected to power grids and have no means of getting electricity. Both President Barack Obama and Jack Ma applauded Mijeno for her ingenuity, and emphasized the huge impact of companies that incorporates environmental sustainability in their businesses.
Alibaba to motivate young entrepreneurs
With a prompt from President Barack Obama, Jack Ma shared how he sees Alibaba, China’s e-commerce giant, as a platform for small businesses that want to sell something. And with so many startup businesses that leverage on e-commerce sites like Alibaba to introduce their products, Ma understands the challenges of startup entrepreneurs and his advice to Aisa Mijeno on her invention: “You are the mother of the kid. Don’t give up the kid.”
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By the end of the talk, Mijeno expressed that SALt’s most urgent need is funding for it to be mass-produced, at which point President Obama started playfully pointing to Jack Ma, saying afterwards, “Serving as a matchmaker here.”