Dominic Santiago on CoinGeek

Block Dojo PH’s Dominic Santiago: We’re creating ideas that can challenge the status quo

With the Philippines‘ startup ecosystem growing gradually, players from the public and private sectors are taking this as an advantage to further mold the emerging industry by offering incubator and venture-building programs. However, initiatives like this are not a one-size-fits-all, with Dominic Santiago detailing what sets Block Dojo Philippines apart from existing startup foundry.

YouTube video

Working as Block Dojo Philippines’ marketing head, Santiago has been exposed to various trends in the space, and while startup programs aim to provide fledgling companies the growth that they need to survive in the market they chose, as a venture builder, Block Dojo takes a holistic approach in supporting founders in challenging the status quo.

“What you find, more often than not, is businesses are incubated as businesses, but the skillsets that actually drive the business forward are actually driven by the founders,” he told CoinGeek Backstage, adding that this is what Block Dojo Philippines is focusing on improving.

While several promising startups in the country applied to the Block Dojo Philippines venture-building program, only a few made the cut. 

Santiago said Block Dojo Philippines paid great attention to founders who can adapt to the evolving market and those who are open to incorporating emerging technologies, specifically blockchain, in their services.

“If you’re to look at the entrepreneurs we have today and the startup founders that we have today, you find them to be as spunky, resourceful, and as tech savvy as we can find,” he said.

Block Dojo Philippines kicked off its 12-week intensive program in Bataan in January, where the first batch of cohorts underwent a series of training that pushed them out of their comfort zones and helped them discover new ideas that would bring significant change to the industry.

“I think it’s important to take new founders out of their comfort zones so that we could come out with the best and most creative ideas—things that can challenge the status quo,” Santiago said.

But Block Dojo Philippines is not alone in making this happen, with Santiago noting the great help they have received from the local government of Bataan and its investment committee.

In a separate CoinGeek Backstage interview, Block Dojo Philippines Managing Director
Kristoffer Briones also said that the community played a critical role in harnessing the full potential of the founders, citing the learnings they received from experts and visionaries from nChain and the BSV Association.

Echoing Santiago’s earlier statement, Briones emphasized that Block Dojo Philippines paid great importance to getting to know the founders and their visions throughout the course of the program, which is evident in the activities they prepared for the cohorts.

“We went to a lot of these very entrepreneur-focused [activities] because our belief is at this stage, the business is a reflection of the founder,” he said.

Briones added that cohorts went through a rigorous assessment to ensure that the community would be able to provide what they needed and point out what they could improve on as individuals, which would be crucial in ensuring the success of their business in the future.

In March, Block Dojo Philippines’ first batch of cohorts pitched their businesses through a virtual showcase event, giving them an opportunity to gather potential investors. The event is a culmination of the 12-week program, and the startups went through a final showcase program, or the Demo Day, where they presented their prototype to the public.

Watch: Block Dojo Philippines—Pushing startup boundaries to create solutions

YouTube video

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.