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.

slingshot asean poster

Great opportunities are ahead for the startup community as several investors from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and its partners are set to arrive in the Philippines for the SlingShot ASEAN Summit 2017. The summit brings together entrepreneurs and innovators into one conference set on 20 October at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila.

Organized by the Department of Trade and Industry, 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, among others.

“We are encouraging the growth of startups in the country as part of the government’s efforts in boosting the economy and creating jobs for Filipinos in the country,” said DTI Undersecretary for Trade and Investments Promotion Group and ASEAN Committee on Business and Investment Promotion Chairperson Nora K. Terrado.

“Startups are able to utilize and promote new technologies that drive future economic growth, and contribute to a continue changing social environment and global economy,” added Terrado.

SlingShot ASEAN will feature plenary talks, learning hubs and pitching competitions with government representatives and industry experts including venture capitalists, angel investors, representative from the private sector and academe. ASEAN Startup Alley is also expected during the event where over 50 startups will showcase their products and services. DTI is expecting over a thousand local and international participants.

Panel discussions include topics on disruptive enterprises, regional network building, and funding opportunities for both Philippine as well as ASEAN startups.

SlingShot ASEAN is the third staging of DTI’s SlingShot Summit, with a larger audience representing 10 ASEAN member states as part of the Philippines’ official hosting of the ASEAN Summit and related meetings this year.

In 2015 and 2016, SlingShot Philippines took initiatives to form series of dialogues between public and private sector with its output as the creation of Startup Ecosystem Development Program (SEDP). These programs have been rolled out as building blocks for linkages between government and private sector initiatives in enhancing the Philippine startup ecosystem.

According to Artie Lopez, Co-founder and Startup Coach at Brainsparks, a startup incubator and one of the private sector partners of Slingshot ASEAN, “One of the problems for startups is getting potential investors to know about them. Slingshot helps with that by bringing in both foreign and local investors in one place at one time to learn more and get involved with the local startup ecosystem.”

“There’s a saying that it takes a village to raise a child, and the same goes for startups. While they can be successful alone, it would accelerate their growth to have a strong support system.” he added.

The event is open for startup owners and entrepreneurs with business innovations.

The Department of Trade and Industry is taking a big leap in advancing government’s support to startups and innovation entrepreneurs across the country. As the Philippines embraces the global digital revolution and encourages more businesses to scale up, DTI has partnered with several government agencies and the private sector in developing strategies and interventions that will enable new breed of businesses.

Here are the things you need to know about SlingShot:

1. First government-initiated platform for startups

Slingshot MNL served as the first government-initiated platform in the Philippines that gathered industry stakeholders from both government and the private sector during the Philippines hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Community (APEC) Summit in 2015. It inspired and energized support for the growing startup community in the Philippines as well as brought stories straight from innovation hubs, experts, and game-changers in the Asia Pacific Rim.

2. Brought industry collaboration into the next level

After its conduct in 2015, dialogues were held between relevant stakeholders aimed to launch new breed of businesses in new verticals like agriculture, biotechnology, electronics and digital startups. During the second staging in April 2016, DTI stood with a clearer mandate to listen, understand, and support key players in the Philippine startup ecosystem.

It provided support and inputs for the development of an action agenda that will further the startup and innovation ecosystem in the Philippines.

3. Increased support for Start Ups

With the tremendous support from the community, efforts made gave birth to DTI’s Startup Ecosystem Development Program (SEDP)which aims to increase both the number of registered business startups annually and the percentage of startup survival and success rate in the country. Another milestone is the successful establishment of QBO Innovation Hub, a pioneering public-private effort between the DTI, Ideaspace Foundation, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and J.P. Morgan. QBO helps in the development, growth, and scaling of the startup ecosystem in the Philippines. It is currently situated at the DTI International Building in Makati City to provide support services to startup entrepreneurs.

4. Now on its 3rd staging

Slated on 20 October 2017, SlingShot ASEAN will bring together young minds with big ideas, innovators in constant pursuit of new solutions, supportive investors and venture capitalists, and policymakers from across ASEAN that are driven by the vision of a thriving innovation economy.

To register for free, please visit

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