GO-VA in Cebu wins award as one of Asia’s most promising SMEs

·3 min read

WHEN a company’s defining value is care, it shows in the work that gets done.

When quarantine rules were at their strictest in April and May this year, a group of developers in Go Virtual Assistants (GO-VA) began to create a remote video chat support software.

They designed it to help businesses support their clients even if they couldn’t get from one city to another easily—and built it while they, too, were physically apart, each working from home.

But other uses soon surfaced for what they were building, called Quicklook.to.

Work is now underway for GO-VA to provide free telemedicine services to team members and up to five dependents each, using the Quicklook platform. In time, the goal is to make this service available to emergency responders and disaster management teams, so they can provide guidance even before they reach sites in need.

“We had heard from team members that they were finding it extremely difficult to bring loved ones, especially seniors, to get the medical advice or prescriptions they needed,” said GO-VA chief executive officer Fiona Kesby. “So we thought it would be good to work on providing free telemedicine services, in keeping with our core value of care.”

Ideas like this are part of the reason GO-VA was named one of the winners of the Asia Corporate Excellence and Sustainability (Aces) Awards for 2020, in the category of Asia’s Most Promising SMEs.

GO-VA is a managed operations business registered in the Philippines, led by Fiona and the company’s founder Matt Kesby, and based in Cebu I.T. Park.

“GO-VA is a company that knows how to be human and places compassion and care at the core of its business,” said Shanggari Balakrishnan, chief executive officer of MORS Group and a member of the Aces Award 2020 jury.

“They remind us all that it definitely pays to be kinder.”

There’s also a precedent for the telemedicine project in GO-VA.

All GO-VA team members receive free HMO coverage for themselves and one dependent, for free, starting on the team member’s first day at work. Fiona and Matt saw no need to make team members wait for six months or a year before they could get essential health care insurance.

“In GO-VA, we like to say that people deserve to feel safe,” said Matt, an entrepreneur who, before starting GO-VA, was an execution practice leader for FranklinCovey in Australia and New Zealand.

“The potential within people is phenomenal. But they need to feel safe and to feel that they’re winning, and they also need access to the right tech stack. To win in outsourcing, it takes a people and technology play.”

GO-VA has grown from having two full-time virtual assistants in May 2014 to nearly 400 as of October 2020.

Its virtual assistants provide accounting, appointment setting and sales support, construction estimation, graphic design, marketing, software development and recruitment support, just to name a few. They work with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Australia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Singapore, among others.

This year, 21 companies in the Philippines won ACes Awards, which the organizers revealed in a virtual press conference Tuesday, Nov. 10. Among the winners are Ayala Corp., Global Business Power, Lexmark, Lufthansa Technik, SM Investments, and Transcom Worldwide. / PR