More slots, bigger prizes up for grabs at IdeaSpace 2019 contest

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

IdeaSpace Foundation, the country’s top early-stage accelerator for technology entrepreneurship, has upped the number of teams that will join the 2019 startup competition’s accelerator program from the usual 10 teams to 20 as it started accepting applications for the contest in November 13.

Photo shows (from left) IdeaSpace president Butch Meily, accelerator program lead Brenda Valerio, and marketing communications strategist JC Pullan during the press launch for the 2019 startup competition

Interested parties have until January 18, 2019 to file an application to join the contest.

The competition will also select the top three startups from the crop of 20 teams taking part in the program and reward them with P1 million equity funding each.

IdeaSpace president Rene “Butch” Meily formalized the call for applications while executive director Diane Eustaquio announced the new format and additional grants during a press launch on said date at Tender Bob’s Steakhouse in Greenbelt 2, Makati City.

The 2019 startup competition, held annually since 2013, engages new science and technology-enabled ventures to compete for the chance to participate in IdeaSpace’s accelerator program. If selected, they will receive valuable assistance as they take their initial steps into the world of business. This assistance will help them grow and gradually foray into the global arena.

“Filipinos are capable of doing it,” said Meily. “You’re equally as capable as anyone else of founding the next Uber, the next Google, Airbnb, the next WhatsApp.”

In previous years’ competition format, 20 startups were chosen from the pool of applicants. These chosen ones advanced to the pre-acceleration stage which saw them attending a five-day bootcamp. The number was further trimmed to 10 finalists for the actual acceleration program.

In the new format for the 2019 competition, 30 startups will be chosen from the pool. Next, 20 finalists will be selected for the acceleration program which will take four months and a half to complete.

Each of these 20 teams will receive P100,000 equity-free operations funding plus P500,000 worth of in-kind support which includes mentoring by industry experts, learning sessions, networking opportunities, free use of office space, and housing allowance for those residing outside Metro Manila.

IdeaSpace executive director Diane Eustaquio

According to acceleration program lead Brenda Valerio, the finalists will be required to demonstrate their business model’s market need, market potential and technology, and that their team can deliver the goods.

On Demo Day, the top three startups will be announced. They will be chosen based on their progress and ability to scale.

“In order to succeed, you don’t have to leave the country. You don’t have to join a big company,” Meily added. “It’s good enough, maybe even better, if you start your own company. The future of this country is also in these startups.”

To submit an application form, log on to www.ideaspacefoundation.org/apply.

“We actually encourage all our previous applicants from way way back to keep re-applying to IdeaSpace. We believe it’s an evolution,” Eustaquio said.

Since its inception in 2012, IdeaSpace has funded 74 startups and released over P150-million worth of cash and non-cash assistance to these business ventures and the Philippine startup community as a whole.

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