L to R: Executive Director Dindin Araneta (Benilde Open Design + Art 2024), Director Lilian Salonga (DTI Bureau of Industry Planning and Innovation), Assistant Secretary Leonila Baluyut (DTI Competitiveness and Innovation Group), Mr. Abe Lozada (Launchgarage), and Assistant Director Jo-Dann Darong (DTI BIPI) with MVRK Simulations CEO and Co-founder James Lo (Left Photo: IDEA for Creatives Pitch Winner) and ROC PH CEO and Founder Ron Clarin (Right Photo: ADVanCE for Creatives Pitch Winner)

MAKATI CITY, PHILIPPINES–The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in collaboration with Launchgarage, showcased the top creative startups at the IDEA (Incubation, Development, and Entrepreneurial Assistance) and ADVanCE (Accelerating Development Valuation, and Corporate Entrepreneurship) for Creatives Demo Day on 15 April 2024, at Whitespace Manila.

The Demo Day serves as the culmination of the eight-week-long intensive learning sessions and mentoring support for the fifteen (15) creative startups who had the opportunity to demonstrate their innovative solutions.

DTI Assistant Secretary for Competitiveness and Innovation Group (CIG), Leonila T. Baluyut, expressed enthusiasm for the showcased innovations and their impact on the Philippine creative landscape. “Today, we celebrate the remarkable achievements of talented individuals who have embarked on a journey to redefine the landscape of creativity through technology and entrepreneurship” ASec. Baluyut highlighted.

Launched in 2022, the IDEA and ADVanCE programs are among the flagship programs of the DTI aimed to foster innovative startups during their product launch, commercialization, and scaling-up stages. This year’s cohort harmonizes the visionary goals of the Innovative Startup Act or ISA (R.A. No. 11337) and the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act or PCIDA (R.A. No. 11904), aiming to foster a vibrant and globally competitive Philippine startup ecosystem and creative landscape.

IDEA for Creatives program capacitated ten (10) creative early-stage startups and enterprises: Produkto PH, Brave Story, Pamitisan Shoe Shop, Denim N’ Denim, Kwentoon, MVRK Simulations, Palaro App by 7×7 Development Corp., Wika, Transcend Studios, Inc., and Carisle Media Corporation.

On the other hand, ADVanCE for Creatives program supported five (5) growth-stage creative startups: KikoMonster Creative Studio, Bentamo, ROC PH, AniMattify, and Bihasa.

The startups pitched to around 150 event attendees, with DTI CIG Assistant Secretary Leonila Baluyut, Plug and Play Tech Center Co-founder Jojo Flores, and Philippine Art Events, Inc. Co-founder Geraldine “Dindin” Araneta as the panel of judges.

Out of the ten (10) pitches for IDEA, MVRK Simulations claimed victory for revolutionizing workforce development through gamified training simulations, reshaping professional skills across industries.

“I always remember ‘AA: Always Advance.’ Whatever we do, we always have to move forward,” MVRK Simulations CEO and Co-founder James Lo shared when asked about his inspiration for creating this technology.

For ADVanCE, ROC PH Digital Marketing Services, a startup that provides an unlimited Creative Marketing-as-a-Service platform to empower MSMEs with cost-effective and comprehensive marketing solutions, emerged at the top spot.

ROC PH CEO and Founder Ron Oliver Clarin shared his journey and stated, “As a homegrown startup, I’ve progressed from local to national competitions. Despite setbacks, emerging as the national champion wasn’t something I anticipated. Nonetheless, I remain steadfast in my mission to support MSMEs through innovative and creative marketing solutions and digital transformation.”

The winners of the IDEA and ADVanCE will be receiving pitch prizes of Php75,000 and Php100,000, respectively, reflecting their performance and growth after participating in the incubation/acceleration phase of the program.

Support for all the startups extends beyond the program as the cohort will receive ongoing assistance, such as more mentorship opportunities, perks from program partners, linkages to investors, engagement with local ecosystem stakeholders, and immersion trips to execute their learnings.

The DTI continuously strives to be at the forefront of fostering growth and entrepreneurship within the innovation ecosystem and creative industry. Learn more about DTI programs for innovation and creatives through the DTI Competitiveness and Innovation Group, DTI Bureau of Industry Planning and Innovation, and Startup Pilipinas Facebook pages. ♦

Date of release: 15 April 2024