PRIMEX President and CEO Elvira C. Ablaza was chosen by ADB to serve as one of six speakers from ADB’s most successful consulting firms (in terms of value of contracts awarded over the last five years) at the High-Level Panel on Doing Business with ADB at the opening session of the 10th Business Opportunities Fair (BOF) held at the ADB headquarters in Manila, Philippines, on 27 March 2019.
The BOF is a one-stop forum for consultants, contractors, manufacturers, suppliers, and civil society organizations looking to provide goods, works, and services for ADB projects. Now on its 10th year, the BOF had the largest participation ever, with over 1,700 participants from 59 countries, of whom around 76% were first-timers interested in doing business with ADB.
Ms Ablaza was the only panelist from an ADB developing member country; the five others were from large consulting firms from Australia, Canada, Finland, France, and the USA. The audience broke out into applause after she said that “PRIMEX is a small, 100% Filipino-owned, woman-led consulting firm that made it to the top through hard work, courage, and a strong commitment to quality.”
Ms. Ablaza also shared practical tips on how new consulting firms can win contracts with ADB. “The key to our success is partnering with local firms, NGOs, and international firms that are strong in a sector or country. It took some years for PRIMEX to be the lead firm in ADB contracts because we had to first establish our track record. Taking the giant leap from being a subconsultant to a lead firm takes guts and courage because you are up against bigger firms. I have always believed that a firm’s best marketing tool is its product. You have to do a good job.”
Aside from registering in the ADB Consultant Management System (CMS) as a first step, she also said that it was vital to have the right mindset and attitude. “You have to be modest when you are starting. Look to offer your services to established firms and partner with them. Start small and expand later. Choose one or two specializations that you can focus on or be a ‘niche firm’ offering highly specialized services.”
Ms. Ablaza has been invited as speaker in previous BOFs. In 2017 and 2018, she shared PRIMEX’s experience in working with NGOs in bidding for ADB projects during the session for NGOs.
PRIMEX is the No. 1 Philippines-registered consulting firm doing business with ADB (in terms of value of TA and loan contracts) from January 2013 to December 2017. The company was consistently ranked among the Top 5 Philippine firms for many years, but it emerged No. 1 for the period 2011-2015.
Prepared by: Lourdes Margarita A. Caballero