Strengthening Ph Startup Ecosystem
At the recently finished “6th Geeks on a Beach” (GOAB 2023) at Panglao Island, Bohol, where over 500 delegates were present, DICT Undersecretary for ICT Industry Development, Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue stressed the significance of pushing on with projects intended to unleash the full potential of Philippine startup ecosystems.
Sigue mentioned the “Startup Blink Report,” which was just published and showed the Philippines to be placed 59th in the world. The World Bank has recognized the Philippines as having one of the most dynamic economies in East Asia and the Pacific Regions, even if the country is still rated sixth among Asian nations.
Sigue stated that, in addition to strong backing from national and local government organizations, other sectors, such as the corporate and academic domains, should also lend their support to these optimistic reports.
According to Sigue, the DICT is aggressively growing and improving the startup ecosystem. Among its efforts is the creation of opportunities for entrepreneurs, both established and up-and-coming. Notably, as part of their complete plan, DICT launched the Digital Startup Development and Acceleration Program (DSDAP).
The Philippine Startup Challenge (PSC), an annual startup pitching competition, is one of the main programs of the DSDAP. Its goal is to support and encourage Filipinos to develop cutting-edge and timely ICT products and services that have the potential to become profitable business ventures and/or address social issues.
Sigue stated that “this challenge (PSC) hopes to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship in ICT [information and communications technology] among the Filipino youth and to ensure the continuous flow and creation of ideas and startup founders that will expand the country’s startup ecosystem.”
According to DICT, the PSC received 626 applications from 158 colleges and institutions around the country for the eighth edition. The final round, which will take place in Cebu City in December 2023, will feature competition among the top 10 firms that were chosen.
This year, promising firms identified as having the potential to draw in international venture capitalists, or VCs, will get funding, coaching, and mentorship from DICT. The department’s commitment to fostering and launching aspiring entrepreneurs globally is evident in this initiative, which is made possible by the Startup Grant Fund.
Potential companies in the Philippines can receive informational and financial help from the Startup Grant Fund, free of equity. By doing this, they will be able to obtain startup money and advance to the “investible level,” where foreign investors both domestically and outside will be willing to contribute further resources to help them grow their goods.
Sigue went on to say that over the project’s lifetime, the startup grant fund provides whole or partial subsidies ranging from P500,000 to P1 million, along with earned networks, coaching, and mentorship. Startups that have either reached the prototype phase in their proof of concept or the minimal viable product stage are eligible for this funding.
Sigue reports that DICT has received 94 applications from those interested in applying for the award from all across the Philippines. According to the most recent data available to DICT, there are over 1,000 active firms in the Philippine startup ecosystem, along with over 60 incubators and accelerators, over 200 co-working space establishments, at least 50 angel investors, and about 40 venture capitalists.
A startup is a newly established company that develops new technology or finds new uses for already-existing technologies in order to offer a fresh good or service. Thus, a startup’s early phases are devoted to design, invention, prototyping, and testing, frequently with little to no cash stream. A startup develops a new business model, whereas established businesses use one.
Over the past ten years, Philippine companies have grown thanks to gradual changes in the startup ecosystem. The previous several years have seen a noticeable increase in interest and investment, maybe as a result of a pandemic that highlighted the importance of digital transformation.
More money was invested in Philippine startups in 2021—US$858 million—than in the entire period between 2018 and 2020, which was US$803 million.