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PH advances support for startups, opens hub in SFO
In photo (L-R seated): Tess Marin, SSS representative; PTIC-Silicon Valley Trade Representative Celynne Layug ; Dir Pura Molintas (DOT-SF); H.E. Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez; Consul General Henry S. Bensurto, Jr.; Mrs. Mariz Bensurto, and Deputy Consul General Raquel Solano.  Others in photo are Spark, Connect, Empower (SCE) movement partner organizations. Photo from DTI-PTIC Silicon Valley.

The Department of Trade and Industry through its Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Silicon Valley advances efforts in promoting the Philippine startup ecosystem development through projects that support the growth of the community.
 
In partnership with the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco (SF PCG), PTIC Silicon Valley recently launched the Spark447, a co-working space and resource center at the Philippine Center’s building in San Francisco that aims to cater to Filipinos and Fil-Am start-up communities in the Bay Area. Ambassador Jose Miguel Romualdez and Consul General Henry Bensurto Jr. led the soft launch last 22 May 2017.
 
“SPARK447 provide avenues for bringing the community in San Francisco closer together. But it doesn’t stop there, it will bring the Filipino tech community in San Francisco closer to our ecosystems in Manila and make change happen,” said PTIC Silicon Valley Trade Representative May Niña Celynne Layug.
 
Spark447 is a shared office space, networking hub, and a place uniquely designed for rising entrepreneurs, freelancers, digital nomads and internet professionals. It is part of the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco’s “Spark, Connect, Empower” (SCE) movement that aims to gather Filipino and Fil-American communities and individuals in the United States in building collaboration and partnerships that promote nation building.
 
According to DTI Trade and Investments Promotion Group Undersecretary Nora Terrado, the establishment of Spark447 will be instrumental in showcasing the technology and business opportunities in the Philippines.
 
“This will greatly complement our initiatives in promoting opportunities in the Philippines and the talents that we have particularly in advanced industries including manufacturing and the IT-BPM,” said Terrado.
 
DTI in close partnership with the Departments of Science and Technology (DOST) and Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has been supporting and enabling the development of the Philippine startup ecosystem. The collaboration caters from various stages of startup development from ideation to commercialization.
 
According to PTIC-Silicon Valley, several organizations, companies, and individuals, who share in the vision of the SCE movement have pledged their full support of the movement. These include PLDT, Philippine Airlines, The Filipino Channel, National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), One World Institute and Mama Sita’s.
 
According to the recently released 2018 Global Startup Ecosystem Report, the Philippines startup ecosystem has strong foundations in the areas of Fintech, Enterprise Solutions and AI & Machine Learning.
 
In 2017, the DTI led Slingshot ASEAN, a business event developed by the ASEAN Committee on Business and Investment Promotion that gathered startups, venture capitalists and key players in the ASEAN startup community through learning hubs, pitching competitions, plenary sessions, and exhibitions.♦

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