Zoom screenshot of participants during the Philippine-Brampton startup event featuring speakers from the government and private sector

Startups and startup enablers in the Philippines can look into potential areas for collaboration with Canada’s Brampton Innovation District as part of their internationalization efforts.

“Together with the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa and the Philippine Consulates General in Calgary and Vancouver, the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Toronto fully support the internationalization of Philippine startups by leading them to potential investor partners, mentors, collaborators and clients and to encourage Filipino-Canadian founders to expand their markets through partnerships and collaborations,” Consul General Orontes Castro of PCG-Toronto said during his opening remarks at the online forum aimed at exploring opportunities between the Philippine startup ecosystem and Canada’s Brampton Innovation District held on July 28.

Brampton is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Greater Toronto Area with access to 5,200 tech startups, 15,000 tech companies, and 250,000 tech workers in Canada’s Innovation Corridor.

The city is also home to a 20,000-strong Filipino community, according to Rowena Santos, the first Filipino elected to the Brampton city council. “We are creating jobs of the future and our location at the center of the innovation corridor makes us an ideal partner for the growth of new and exciting Philippine startups and tech companies,” she said.

The Brampton Innovation District is envisioned to be an international destination for innovation and tech companies. It is home to incubators, accelerators, tech colleges, cybersecurity hubs, and district partners that provide support for new and existing entrepreneurs across different sectors and using various technologies, shared Clare Barnett and Devin Ramphal of Brampton Economic Development Office.

“Together with Brampton Innovation district, we hope to explore future collaborations, recognizing that startups will play a vital role in digital transformation. Collaboration will help accelerate the scaling up and globalization of our startups as we aim to achieve a vast, sustainable and resilient economy,” said Karl Pacolor, chief of the Innovation and Collaboration Division under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Competitiveness and Innovation Group.

Since 2017, the DTI has promoted 121 Philippine startups in 26 international events in ten countries. A recent touchpoint with Canada happened during the North American tech conference Collision 2021 where DTI led a delegation of 20 Filipino startups and was introduced to Brampton city executives. DTI is also one of three lead agencies implementing the Innovative Startup Act that aims to promote the growth of the local startup ecosystem.

Compared with its regional neighbors, the Philippine startup ecosystem is nascent but continues to show promise. There are more than 80 incubators and accelerators, over 700 startups, 50 angel investors, and 40 venture capitalists in the country, according to Pacolor. 

Event screenshot of Karl Pacolor's presentation featuring DTI startup development programs during the PH-Brampton startup event

To spur this growth, DTI is tasked to lead the startup business one-stop-shop (BOSS) and work with the Board of Investments to develop a startup investment development plan which will map out short, medium, and long-term strategies for the sector. 

“Through these programs, we aim to further leverage our strengths in the area of fintech, e-commerce, digital services, which will power the digital transformation in the new normal. We will build on these advantages in these sectors to accelerate the recovery and provide solutions to potential international partners,” Pacolor added.

A panel discussion ensued with representatives from startups and startup enablers from both sides. Aldrich Tan of Nextpay, Jojo Flores of Launchgarage, and Katrina Chan of QBO Innovation Hub shared insights on the Philippine startup ecosystem, while Vikram Khurana of Brampton BHive and Usha Srinivasan of Ryerson Venture Zone discussed opportunities in Brampton.

Organized by the Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Toronto, the webinar served as the first of a two-part program aimed at promoting an in-depth appreciation of the opportunities offered by the two start-up ecosystems. It is envisioned as a prelude for further collaborations between Manila and Brampton which includes a second event that is a direct business-to-business matching session scheduled at a later date.

Date of Release: 05 August 2021