DTI advocates for more collaborative efforts to build the PH startup ecosystem 

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Bannering the theme “Empowering Future Tech Giants,” the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) highlighted inspiring stories of homegrown startups and government initiatives to foster a robust startup ecosystem during the virtual Slingshot Conference on 17 November 2022 as part of the Philippine Startup Week.

The DTI Competitiveness and Innovation Group Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba pledged the agency’s commitment to continue its active involvement in making the Philippine Startup Ecosystem the leading regional innovation and startup hub in Southeast Asia.

Usec. Rafaelita M. Aldaba opened the Slingshot Conference on 17 November 2022 

Looking back, the Philippine Startup Ecosystem has grown so much since we first got together in 2015. Back then, only 100 Philippine startups were reported to be active, with USD40M in investment and funding. Today, we see individual startups raising USD30M in one round alone and growing the ecosystem to more than 1000 active startups nationwide,” Usec. Aldaba shared.

In his talk “The Shifting Landscape of Global Startup Ecosystems: Startups as Agents of Change,” Stephan Kuester of Startup Genome reported the current startup ecosystem of Manila compared to global trends. According to him, Tech is projected to be the largest single sector of the world’s economy in the coming years. Thus, the government should work on creating policies to support startups as they face changing global conditions.

Meanwhile, Matija Squire from Fingerprint for Success discussed the strengths of the Filipino working population in her talk entitled “Philippine Culture Study: Building the Filipino Entrepreneurial Mindset.” Benchmarking the successful startup founders, the study highlighted the need to build up further the entrepreneurial mindset of the Filipinos, focusing on developing big-picture thinking, being comfortable with ambiguity, fostering trust in oneself and mentors in the country, moving quickly without missing opportunities, and knowing wise financial decisions and resources.

Squire calls for collaboration among the startup ecosystem to develop a curriculum to help form the right entrepreneurial mindset for Filipinos toward empowering more homegrown startups.

Knowledgeable and Experienced Speakers joined the Virtual Roundtable Discussion and Spotlight Podcast during the Slingshot Conference (First frame from upper left to lower right: Celynne Layug, Matija Squire, Dr. Andy David, JR Calanoc; Second frame from upper left to lower right: Artie Lopez, Kimberly Yao, Tryke Gutierrez, Carlo Delantar) 

 

The role of the government in fostering a robust startup ecosystem was further emphasized during the Virtual Roundtable Discussion segment “Heroes’ Arena: Creating the Training Grounds for Startup Giants” with moderator Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Silicon Valley Trade Commissioner Celynne Layug and panelists Matija Squire, Dr. Andy David, Director, Innovation Task Force – Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Israel and JR Calanoc, Co-Founder of Dynamico Space. The panelists discussed the need for the government to expose startups to local and international communities and opportunities and implement programs to converge the startup community.

Moreover, the spotlight podcast moderated by Artie Lopez, Co-Founder of Nextpay and Brainsparks, recognized the Philippines’ next-generation top-tier heroes. The podcast included Carlo Delantar, Founding Partner of Gobi-Core, Philippine Fund; Irymarc ‘Tryke’ Gutierrez, Co-Founder and CEO of Tier One; and Kimberly Yao, Co-Founder and CEO of Cloudeats who recollected their humble beginnings and emphasized that collaboration is a crucial ingredient to their success. Recognizing the role of the government in their industries, they underscored the need for new policies, increased incentives, and improved access for startups.

Startup Founders shared their successful startup journeys during the Slingshot Conference (From upper left to lower right: Bo Discarga, Ragde Falcis, Paolo Kalaw, Rainier Natividad, Lolita Cabanlet) 

Joining as well throughout the Conference are stories of startup founders who have shared how various startup programs have helped them in their journey, inviting aspiring tech giants to capitalize on government opportunities.

“While the Philippine startup ecosystem has yet to reach its full potential, we Filipinos are not lacking in talent or mindset. What we need are concrete actions to build ecosystems for startups to innovate and disrupt the status quo, building new solutions which will be our anchor in driving our future economy forward.” Usec. Aldaba said.

On the necessary concrete actions, Usec. Aldaba pointed out way forward steps in building up the startup ecosystem—schools and universities must revisit the curriculum to encourage students to embrace technology and entrepreneurship, investors and industry partnerships should collaborate to nurture local talent, and the government to make an easy way for stakeholders to innovate and foster an enabling environment for startups to fail forward and grow.

Towards the conclusion, members of the DTI community expressed their support for the #InnovationThatInspires campaign.

The Slingshot Conference was attended by participants from the government, academe, industries, and media. The event provided mechanisms and platforms that connect startups and investors and take part in building the country’s startup ecosystem.

The Conference proceedings and information materials are available in phstartupweek.com.

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