PHL app developers confident in global mobile competition this year
Business Mirror
October 12, 2016

BELIEVING that Filipino talents are not just confined within the premier Manila but across the archipelago, the Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific (MCAP) Philippines 2016 is, once again, open for young entrepreneurs and innovators to represent the country in the regional and global competitions on development of applications or apps, Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile solutions in both software and hardware.

“We’re not looking for the usual suspects or the best teams coming out from Manila, where you get a lot of the best local teams. This is a nonprofit effort, so we’re looking to reach out to the base of the pyramid as much as possible by going into the provinces,” Professor Paris de L’Etraz told the BusinessMirror at the sidelines of MCAP Philippines Acceleration Days 2016 held on September 17 at the Innovation Hub of the Department of Trade and Industry’s International Offices in Makati City over the weekend.

The founder of Global Mobile Challenge (GMC) and managing director of VentureLab at IE Business School Madrid said mobile technology is exploding, and now is a “perfect time to get in.”

Emerging markets, like the Philippines, he noted, has a big potential to play in the multibillion-dollar app- development industry, considering an enormous talent pool abounding in both the National Capital Region and in other parts of the country.

He said Filipinos’ entrepreneurial skills and innovative ideas related to mobile are innate yet need further development, the reason for the formation of the MCAP Philippines, he said.

This is a national competition for the GMC—an international entrepreneurship competition where innovators from around the world first compete in their global region to win a trip to Barcelona to take the overall crown.

The latter started in 2013 in the Middle East. Through MCAP Philippines, this contest has been in the country since its inception three years ago, initially attracting around 400 entries at its first staging.

“And these came primarily from the provinces,” L’Etraz said. “So for us, it’s not so much about quality; it’s about volume because we’re trying to change the way people think about entrepreneurship [or] developing mobile solutions.”

While he conceded their ideas are not that “great” in the beginning of the contest, what matters most is their influence to participants in terms of changing the way they look at business.

“That’s the real objective here, and that’s why we want to keep perking up this year,” he said.

MCAP Philippines 2016 accepts competing teams consisting of two to six applicants, between 18 and 35 years old, sans any current venture-capital funding of more than $250,000.

Deadline of submission of entries is on October 17, from where the top 20 teams will be selected to pitch their proposals in the national finals in Manila in November.

The top 3 finalists will then represent the Philippines at the Asia- Pacific Regional Finals in Singapore this December for a chance to join the Global Finals in Barcelona, Spain, during the Mobile World Congress from February 27 to March 2, 2017.

Initially, 57 teams have already registered online from Manila. L’Etraz and the rest of his team was in Cebu for acceleration event on September 14, and soon in other areas nationwide.

“We hope to reach Davao and [other areas in] Mindanao and all the rest of the provinces so that we can reach people, who normally are not exposed to this level of competition. We probably have over 150 teams in total, combining with Cebu and the provinces this year,” he said of their expectations for this year’s leg of MCAP Philippines.

Confident of the competency of local talents, he expressed hopes another Filipino team will replicate the success of 1Export as the first finalist from the country to go all the way to the Global Finals in 2015.

“We’re very honored, impressed and happy that the Philippines made it to Barcelona last year,” he said.

Roderick Abad