MANILA — Twenty-five (25) Filipino tech startups showcased their innovations to investors on June 15-22 to crown the IDEA and ADVanCE programs of the Department of Commerce and Industry (DTI) and the PhilDev Foundation.
Entrepreneurial Incubation, Development and Assistance (IDEA) and Acceleration of Enterprise Development, Evaluation and Entrepreneurship (ADVanCE) are 2 of DTI’s pilot programs for startup capacity development launched to continuously strengthen the startup ecosystem in the country and foster an innovation-driven economy. .
In his message, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez reaffirmed the government’s commitment “to increasing more opportunities and benefits for Philippine startups through [their] programs for Trabaho, Negosyo and Kabuhayan. This includes fulfilling the mandates of the Innovative Startups Act enacted in 2019 according to Lopez.
The latest Global Startup Ecosystem Report revealed that Manila’s startup ecosystem continues to thrive. Its value has fallen from $584 million to $2.1 billion, reflecting the ecosystem’s steady growth in the face of challenges such as the pandemic.
“[The report] shows that our tech-leaning startups and MSMEs continue to pursue their innovation endeavors in line with DTI startup programs and initiatives to empower and drive the potential of innovative businesses,” said Rafaelita Aldaba, DTI Undersecretary – Competitiveness and Innovation Group.
DTI and PhilDev welcomed the first cohorts of the programs starting this year to improve their market and investment readiness. The programs provided each startup with access to learning sessions, mentorship from experts and business leaders, financial and legal support services, and networking opportunities with key industry players. ecosystem.
In a testimonial, Anihan Technologies (AniTech) Co-Founder and CEO Gillian Santos shared how the program empowered her and the cohort to become better entrepreneurs, “Through programs like [IDEA] that really help us learn the fundamental skills and concepts, I now know that we have a better chance of overcoming the [valley of death] and create a positive impact not only on the market we serve, but on the Philippines as a whole,” explained Santos.
Cebu-based startup Hinulawanlab.com also praised the program for the mentorship it received. They were paired with Guita Gopalan, Managing Director and Chief Revenue Officer of Vivanti Advantage, for the mentorship benefits of the program.
“Our apprenticeships have exploded! From marketing strategies, financial management, human resources, [Guita] was very knowledgeable and understanding. Thanks to her, we were able to connect the dots – the dots that were scattered everywhere before,” Atty. Giovanni Gil, CEO of Hinulawanlab.com, describes.
Joining AniTech and Hinulawanlab.com in the IDEA Incubator Program are 17 other early-stage startups from various industry verticals: Avodah Philippines, Bantay Chatbot, Basky, Bookuna, Britana Global Solutions, CarSurvey PH, Cleenvent, Dali Innovations, DigitizePH, Forent, Green Impact Global, iBoard Marketplace, Lifeprentice, Rafflexchange, SafeTravelPH, Sureplus and Sociov.
On the other hand, the ADVanCE accelerator program supported 6 growth-stage startups with products and services aligned with the strategic priorities of the Philippines Development Plan: health, food security, digital transformation, education and regional development. The cohort includes Edukasyon.ph, Empath, InsightSCS, Magwai, Nanotronics and TakeFive Outdoors.
In an interview, Rach Viray, Empath’s Head of Special Projects and Partnerships, said that the ADVanCE program helped them chart a clearer path in terms of investment readiness, “Steph started from the beginning of now she is more willing to talk to investors, but the direction is more strategic.” Viray further shared that they want to talk to angel and impact investors to grow and support their business.
PhilDev President Dr. Francisco “Paco” Sandejas congratulated the startups that completed the programs. He also urged Demo Day attendees to continue working together: “After Demo Day, we want to see more collaborations and more growth opportunities for the ecosystem to thrive. Make sure that this happens.”
Demo Days mark the culmination of the IDEA and ADVanCE programs, and startups seek funding and partnerships to upgrade their technologies, increase their market reach and grow their businesses. PhilDev and DTI jointly encourage their investor partners to invest in these startups to improve industries and sectors such as the agricultural supply chain, energy, healthcare and the environment, thereby contributing to inclusive economic growth in the country.
Interested investors and potential partners can download the startup portfolios to reach startups and learn more about them through the IDEA Incubator and ADVanCE Accelerator websites. (DTI)