One of the Department of Trade and Industry’s private sector partner in developing and promoting startups, QBO Innovation Hub, announced on 11 October, its top 20 picks among over 130 participating startups across ASEAN for its first STARTUP TO THE RESQUE pitch competition.

The top 20 picks will have a chance to showcase their products and services at the DTI’s SlingShot ASEAN scheduled on 20 October 2017 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). These startups will be provided free exhibition space at the PICC where an ASEAN Startup Alley will be mounted.

Organized by QBO Innovation Hub, STARTUP TO THE RESQUE is a pitch competition in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), and DTI’s SlingShot ASEAN. The pitch competition challenged startups to develop the best innovation solution related to disaster resilience and recovery.

Among these top 20 startup companies, six (6) finalists will be invited to pitch before local and international participants of the SlingShot ASEAN where top three (3) with the best pitches will be selected as winners.

Organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Slingshot ASEAN 2017 aims to highlight the milestones of the startup community in the Philippines and across ASEAN. With the theme, “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World,” this summit will present a platform for new breed of businesses in various sectors such as information technology, agriculture, healthcare, finance, communications, among others.

“This is one way of supporting more startup companies not just in the Philippines but across ASEAN to gain more support from the community and allow them to be exposed to potential investors and partners,” said DTI Undersecretary for Trade and Investment Promotion Group Nora K. Terrado.

As a region, ASEAN is considered one of the most vulnerable communities to some of the world’s disasters and long-running conflicts. Philippines, in particular, is among countries exposed to various natural calamities in the past years. This pitch competition urges more startups to come up with ways to use their existing products, services, and business models to form creative solutions to these existing societal problems.

In a statement, UNDP Philippines Country Director Titon Mitra mentioned, “With this competition, we hope to see ideas that can be explored and developed into solutions that will reduce risks and increase resilience of communities.”

Meanwhile, QBO President Rene “Butch” Meily emphasized the increasing interest from the sector as reflected in the turnout of applications to the pitch competition. “We are glad that in its first year ‘STARTUPS TO THE RESQUE’ has attracted great minds. We hope that it continues to be a platform where startup companies can deliver meaningful impact to relevant communities,” Meily added.

Top 20 companies include: ChatbotPH, After Effect, Skyeye Analytics, Inc., Gavagives, LifeMesh, Ascendant Technologies, Inc., Senti, Tralulu, StyleGenie PH, Cropital, Timba, BillionBricks, ServeHappy Jobs,, UPROOT Aquaponics, Blogapalooza, Haraya, Frontlearners, Inc., Go Gridless Philippines Corp., and Unomap.

The first prize winner will receive $10,000 as well as an opportunity to work with the UNDP and deploy their solutions with PDRF; the second and third prize winners will get $4,000 and $2,000 respectively. Cash prizes are provided by the UNDP.

 QBO Startup ASEAN
In photo: DTI Undersecretary for Trade and Investments Promotion Group Nora K. Terrado (2nd from right), UNDP Programme Manager for Inclusive and Sustainable Unit Folay Eleazar (3rd from right), QBO and Ideaspace Foundation President Rene “Butch” Meily (5th from right), and QBO Innovation Hub Director Katrina Chan (1st from right) with startup representatives.