THE emerging global start-up hub that is the Philippines will now have a benchmark pattern in the Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology Office’s (DOST-ICTO) Philippine Roadmap for Digital Start-ups, which provides a framework for the development of the Philippine start-up ecosystem mainly consisted of Internet-related innovation.
The road map is in response to the nationwide interest in the start-up ecosystem sector, attested to by a growing number of start-up events and competitions all throughout the country.
Beryl Li, senior researcher at the Philippine Roadmap for Digital Start-ups, said the Philippines, being a nation with one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia, has a gamut of competitive edges, such as cheap operation cost, typography and positive business climate. Defining DOST-ICTO’s push and overall digital-innovation direction, the short- and long-term strategic initiatives are foreseen to produce thought-leader start-ups that will bring about economic growth through solving society’s most pressing and pervasive issues.
“This road map aims to develop a coherent and consistent strategic plan for the country’s innovative ecosystem, engaging members of both public and private sectors,” DOST-ICT Office e-Innovation Deputy Executive Director Monchito Ibrahim said. “Ultimately, our goal is to generate start-ups that drive economic growth and provide solutions to our society’s most pervasive issues. This is a project for the start-up community, and by the community itself.”
The plan is divided into three parts: The Internet-related (digital) start-up ecosystem, which clearly defines terms, goals and benchmarks; Patterns of Technology Start-up Ecosystem, which provides insights from various start-up ecosystems around the world and explores the Philippines’s current progress in key areas; and the Action Plan, which enumerates the short- and long-term recommendations for all stakeholders to improve the Philippine digital start-up ecosystem.
“We have identified areas of the ecosystem that need improvement and the programs needed to address such areas. We need to ensure that each player of the ecosystem—academe, investors and start-ups, among others—plays a role. It is an imperative to move forward,” Ibrahim said.
According to the DOST-ICTO, the country’s leading start-ups-turned-big-companies are Sulit.com.ph (OLX.ph), Chikka, Airborne Access, Netbooster, Xurpas, iRemit and Morphlabs. In academe, digital-entrepreneurship courses have yet to be introduced in colleges and universities, save for two universities, which have been at the forefront of housing student start-ups.
So far, no local start-up has surpassed the $50-million valuation to date. The road map targets that by 2020, it will have achieved at least 500 Philippine start-ups with a cumulative valuation of $2 billion, resulting to 8,500 high-skilled jobs created; 1,250 start-up founders; 15,166,684 users acquired; and 719,737 paying customers.
The Philippine Roadmap for Digital Start-ups is a brainchild of the seedPH initiative of the DOST-ICTO and is a collective brainchild of the local tech industry household names; the Philippine Software Industry Association, Philippine Development Foundation, Kickstart, Ideaspace; roundtable contributors, former entrepreneurs, foreign start-up founders, investors, academicians, policy-makers and grassroots representatives.
Launched on August 20, the Philippine Roadmap for Digital Start-ups coincided with Geek on a Beach 3, one of the country’s many annual international tech-start-up conventions.