By Ram Superable Agustin
QBO Innovation Hub — which has forged a partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) — is expanding the coverage of its Startup Ecosystem Mapping efforts to three more locations this year. The three added spots are the cities of Legazpi and Naga and the province of Bohol.
QBO aims to identify the gaps and addressing the issues that are faced by the startup community in the country. Its first mapping effort was executed in 2016 in two major cities with the largest concentrated population of startups: Manila and Cebu. The mapping activities were mostly done by Q4 and was considered as a smaller and more informal version than the mapping this year.
QBO’s ultimate goal is to gather data that will provide information to startups on where to locate potential resources, personal connections, and the news outlets that they should be subscribed to. (Included in the 2018 list of media outlets is Newsbytes.PH at No.9.)
Based on the results of the initial mapping, QBO observed the relatively low participation from women. This is why, last year, they also launched the Startup Pinay Program aiming for the inclusiveness of women in the tech world.
The latest edition of the mapping also collected data from women-led organizations that are promoting female entrepreneurs, freelancers, creatives, and even developers.
“When we launched the Startup Pinay Program, we made a very conscious effort that will all of our initiatives, we try to incorporate the awareness that we need to be engaging more women and women founders,” shared QBO director Katrina Chan.
Local government units (LGUs) who were also taking part in the mapping activities were also surprised to know that they had growing startup communities in their respective cities.
According to Chan, QBO hopes that the data can also be made use of by the government authorities in devising strategies for the development and expansion of the startup ecosystem in the Philippines.
She pointed out: “Collaboration is always at the very core of what we do here at QBO, we try to connect, expand, and grow the startup ecosystem.” She also mentioned that the data could help startups find their support systems and communities that contribute to the progress of their business.
“It is really important for the startups to be able to locate these resources and find that community of practice, whether it’s capital, mentorship, a physical space where they can work,” Chan added.
Noting that tech startups have differing needs than traditional small and medium enterprises (SMEs), DTI Undersecretary of the Competitiveness and Innovation Group
Rafaelita Aldaba, undersecretary of the Competitiveness and Innovation Group (CIG) of the DTI, stated that the government agency acknowledges the importance of a thriving science and technology-based startup ecosystem in achieving the national goal of having innovative local industries that can compete in the global stage.
“Having an innovative tech and services industry contributes to inclusive growth and employment generation of the Philippines as a whole. We partnered with QBO to support startup development by building the startup ecosystem; bridge the gap between innovative technological seeds and commercialization; and help create global Philippine startups,” said Aldaba.
Various startup representatives and accelerators, public and private incubators, community builders and venture capitalists, angel investors and the government, and private companies will participate in the 2019 Startup Ecosystem Mapping.