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The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) represented by Philippine Trade and Investment Center Commercial Counsellor Glenn Peñaranda urged Filipinos in Singapore to join the country’s emerging startup community in a recent seminar organized by FilTreps, a group of Filipino entrepreneurs in Singapore that holds networking and information sessions for Filipinos on setting up business, prospects for joint venture and collaborations.

“Find inspiration in events like this to get that idea off the ground.  Think about a solution that is original and differentiated.  There is a new breed of businesses that thrive in the innovation economy.  Do your research,” said Commercial Counsellor Peñaranda.

Peñaranda also shared the strategies and policies of the Philippine government, particularly of the DTI and the recently formed Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship and enabling the development of startup businesses to stimulate economic and job growth.  Taking a collaborative approach with the industry, DICT launched the Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups with key industry players in 2015. 

For DTI, the agency introduced the SlingShot Philippines, an event held for startups during the Philippines’ hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. It was then followed by SlingShot in Manila and Cebu in 2016.  Several dialogues with the community and seminars were held under the SlingShot Philippines program of the DTI. A Slingshot ASEAN is being planned for in late 2017. The goal is to be the platform for public dialogue and partnerships with key industry players including venture capitalists, government, academe, and the private sector in building and nurturing the ecosystem.

“It is our intention to be a central participant, working with the private sector, the startup community and other stakeholders to support the vibrant Philippine innovation ecosystem," highlighted Peñaranda.

Earlier this year, DTI unveiled the Startup Ecosystem Development Program (SEDP), an industry cluster program to foster linkages among MSMEs and strengthen collaborative networks within the ecosystem.   SEDP has a five-point action agenda with short, medium and long-term impact.

One of the immediate response of the DTI to the growing sector is the establishment of the QBO Innovation Hub located at the DTI International Building in partnership with Ideaspace Foundation, a leading incubator-accelerator of startups in the Philippines. Under the Negosyo (business) Centers Plus program, the hub aims to serve technology startups and engage the local community through relevant activities such as mentoring, networking and pitching.

One of the key partners of the DTI in forwarding the Startup and Innovation agenda is the Office of the Senator Bam Aquino who authored the Innovation Startup Act. The bill provides registration benefits, subsidies and tax incentives for those planning to establish their own startups. 

The seminar with the Filipino community in Singapore further included discussions with industry influencer Joey Gurango of Gurango Software, SPRING.ph and Xurpas. He provided tips for starting out and creating traction based from his vast experience.  Gurango also shared the current landscape of the Philippine startup ecosystem, insights and factors which contributed to the successes of some local startups.     

Gurango’s SPRING.ph is one of the proponents of the DTI’s Launchpad program, a quarterly selection and mentoring project designed for startups that have already established ideas but need mentoring and support to scale up their business.  With several participants from Singapore, a Launchpad Singapore run is being considered in 2017.

The event finished with a pitch and mentoring session, giving the featured Filipino groups opportunity to present to Peñaranda and Gurango and receive valuable feedback.

DTI calls for Singapore-based Filipinos to join the Philippine startup ecosystem

Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Singapore Commercial Counsellor Glenn Peñaranda presents the Philippine Startup Ecosystem to the Filipino community in Singapore.  

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