The winners of the Marikina Creative and Innovation Hub Pitch Competition with the organizers and the judges. From L-R, Karl Lyndon Pacolor (DTI-Competitiveness Bureau), Andrew Bercasio (Co-founder and COO, ITOOH Homestyle), Jules Veloso (Co founder and CEO, ITOOH Homestyle), Roland Benzon (Co￾founder and CEO, WIKA), Phoebe Quimio (Community Manager, Wika), Ron Baetiong (CEO, Podcast Network Asia), Deputy Executive Director Lucky Lopez (DCP), Mony Romana (Head of Distribution,, and Abe Lozada (General Manager, Launchgarage)

MARIKINA CITY — Taking off from its Official Launch a week ago, the Marikina Creative and Innovation Hub staged its first-ever Pitch Competition on 14 December 2023 at Launchgarage.

The event, spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and powered by Launchgarage, Inc., is one of the pilot programs of the Hub to jumpstart its commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation in creative sectors.

DTI Competitiveness Bureau Director Lilian Salonga emphasized how the said pitch competition
becomes the gateway to the many programs and services of the Hub. “This pitch competition will serve as an inspiring showcase of groundbreaking ideas, motivating participants to actively engage in DTI programs,” Director Salonga highlighted.

Ten (10) startups across the nine (9) creative domains, as defined in the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act (PCIDA), pitched their groundbreaking and innovative solutions to an esteemed panel of judges comprised of the Design Center of the Philippines Deputy Executive Director Lucky Lopez, Head of Distribution Mony Romana, and Launchgarage General Manager Abe Lozada.

The startups were evaluated based on Innovativeness and Creativity, Sustainability and Viability, Relevance, Impact, and Team Composition.

In the end, WIKA claimed victory for its game-changing solution that democratizes accessibility for people with hearing/visual disabilities. WIKA impressed the judges with its assistive AR technology that delivers sign language or captions for the deaf or audio description.

Clinching the second spot is Podcast Network Asia, which provides a platform that empowers all types of creative storytellers. Local Filipino content, in every language from various regions, can be immortalized in the said platform.

Completing the set of winners is ITOOH Homestyle for pitching its tech-enabled online marketplace that offers a wide variety of quality-vetted and locally-made furniture, décor, art, and interior design.

Included in the roster of game-changing creative startups that pitched in the competition are Alfombra, Callback, Denim ‘N Denim, Hibla Philippines, Katoonz, Likhaan, and Supafaya.

Moving forward, the top 3 startups were given the opportunity to join the Hub’s incubation and acceleration programs for creatives: the Incubation, Development, and Entrepreneurial Assistance (IDEA) program and the Accelerating Development, Valuation, and Corporate Entrepreneurship (ADVanCE) Program. Application for the said programs has also opened for creative startups. ♦

Date of release: 15 December 2023