By Carmencita A. Carillo
DAVAO CITY — Skynora Corp., a newly-established Davao City-based firm, has opened a shared office facility and business process outsourcing (BPO) center at the Robinsons Cybergate Delta, catering to the demand of freelancers and online workers and boosting corporate office space here.
“Skynora is our initial venture. We believe it is a good time to tap the opportunity provided by a strong government leadership amid the increasing demand for office space in Davao City,” Skynora Corp. Vice-President Julie J. Go said in an interview with BusinessWorld during the launch of the Skynora Hub last week.
Skynora Hub occupies two floors of the Robinsons Cybergate building, with a total floor area of around 5,000 square meters.
The co-working space is on the fourth floor, with a 491-seating capacity per shift. It also has meeting rooms, lounges, and will soon be offering printing services, lockers for rent, mailbox, and equipment.
The fifth floor is reserved for BPO companies.
Ms. Go said they currently have two foreign locators, but both have yet to give the green light to be identified. One is a US-based company with 246 seats, and the other also an international firm occupying 119 seats.
“The main reason for Skynora is to provide office spaces, but we won’t stop there as we have already forged a partnership with the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) for a monthly workshop,” she said.
“We believe this is a good time to take advantage of new investors coming to Davao who demand office space for BPO and outsourcing companies,” she added.
A study by real estate service and consultancy firm Property Interactive Marketing Enterprise (PRIME Philippines) shows a growing demand for office space in the city as of the third quarter of last year.
In the downtown area, there is currently a 95% take-up of office space, while other areas’ take-up ranges between 77% and 93%.
Raphil D. Saguan, PRIME Philippines associate for capital markets and investments, said in a forum in Davao City last March 7 that the city continues to be a viable investment destination given the available “highly-skilled labor market, extensive infrastructure network, and its competitive ranking.”
Skynora Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Asaad Qureshi, meanwhile, said Skynora Hub offers flexible rates to cover a bigger market, including students and freelancers.
“We are in line with Regus… and our rates are very competitive. We chose Davao because it has many potentials and there are many freelancers,” Mr. Qureshi said.
Regus, an international flexible workspace provider, has a facility in Davao City, which is the biggest among its Philippine branches.
Davao City Investment Promotion Center Chief Lemuel G. Ortonio, for his part, said during the Skynora Hub launch that the opening of office spaces bodes well for the city.
“Your (Skynora) presence in Davao City is indeed timely as the city has been receiving strong interest from potential investors from varying sectors and industries who are looking for convenient, functional and flexible workspaces,” he said.
Mr. Ortonio said the city had about 40,000 registered businesses as of end-2017, a 6% increase from 2016. Last year’s total investment value was P270 billion, 18% higher than the previous year.
“We expect this growth to continue in 2018 with a projected increase of 6% in the number of business establishments,” he said.
Robinsons Cybergate, one of the three Information Technology (IT) Parks of Robinsons Land Corp., is accredited by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).
There are several PEZA-accredited IT centers in the Davao Region, namely: Robinson’s Cybergate, Damosa IT Park, Filandia IT Park, Luisa Avenue Square IT Center, Matina IT Park, Ayala Business Center, SM Lanang Premier IT Center, and The Annex-SM City Davao IT Center.