The Philippines, known for its young, tech savvy population, has been expanding its startup ecosystem.
As of October 2021, Statista recorded a total of 700 startups in the Philippines. The data gathering platform marks that over a quarter of the startups are in the digital services space building in the fintech, e-commerce, blockchain, and entertainment sectors.
On August 11, Digital Pilipinas—the largest private-sector led movement championing the building of various innovative technology ecosystems—hosted an event at Caruso Ristorante Italiano in Makati to close their endeavor with the Singapore FinTech Association.
The event organized by Digital Pilipinas’ Lead Convenor Amor Maclang was filled with keynote speeches from the likes of Ayala Corporation’s President Cezar “Bong” Consing.
The event also featured a talk from Antonilo Mauricio, the general manager of the National Development Company (NDC), who discussed the Philippine government’s efforts in supporting the local startup ecosystem with the aid of NDC.
Eyeing the budding startup community in the Philippines
The NDC is a state-owned investment company of the Philippine government that initiated the first startup venture fund in the country, Mauricio said.
“We’re a hundred percent owned by the government, and we own a well fund, which is the startup venture fund,” the NDC general manager said.
“It’s only PHP 500 million, but the ecosystem itself is currently at 8 billion… With the co-investment partner and the NDC, we can invest up to a maximum of 40% into a startup.”
Mauricio explained their thematic criteria in funding, which, he said, has to be pioneering, developmental, innovative, sustainable, and inclusive.
The NDC general manager noted the Southeast Asian country is home to many unicorn startups, but many are formed by big corporations like Ayala. What the NDC wants are startups that would create pioneer products in this digital world, full of impactful ideas that could scale.
“We want to develop a pipeline of Filipino startups that will become unicorns. We want the government to support that and partner with the private sector to make that happen,” he noted.
Mauricio says that innovation is the only way for the Philippines to catch up with the rest of the world, stating, “We have to level up our workforce, and to offset that, we have to innovate, be more charming, more friendly…We cannot be caught up in despair. There has to be hope. Give the government a chance.”
“I encourage you to please promote the Philippines, please promote the startup community, and the government—the National Development Company—will always be here to support you,” he said.
Mauricio’s keynote was followed by speeches from Xendit COO Christian Reyes and Tangere CEO Martin Penaflor, who talked about the different types of innovations in the space and the digital pulse of the Filipino, which were then quickly followed by a quick Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) session moderated by AJ Rocero, the executive director of Proptech Consortium of the Philippines.
Wrapping up the dinner event, Rocero invites all attendees to join the second strand of Digital Pilipinas’ Philippine Fintech Festival Week, happening on November 21 – 24 at the SMX Convention Center in Taguig.
Block Dojo Philippines leads Filipino startups with 12-week incubator program
The efforts from local private organizations like Digital Pilipinas and global blockchain firms nChain help bridge the way for the Philippines to undergo a remarkable transformation and become a fertile ground for aspiring entrepreneurs.
nChain, the global leader in Web3 and blockchain solutions, announced the official launch of the Block Dojo Philippines on August 8 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel Manila in Bonifacio Global City.
📣 We're at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manila for the official launch of @Block_Dojo Philippines!
— CoinGeek Philippines (@RealCoinGeek_PH) August 8, 2023
Developed in support of the national government’s digital transformation efforts led by the Marcos administration, organizations like the Block Dojo Philippines seek to train, educate, upskill, and cross-skill Filipino talents eager to build real-world solutions to solve the everyday problems that the local community faces.
Read this article to learn more about how the Philippines is gearing up to become a hotbed for the startups.
Watch Digital Pilipinas Southeast Asia Tech Week: Search for PH tech unicorn is underway
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