The Department of Science and Technology – Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICT Office) is set to launch the ?Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups? on August 20 at Boracay Island, Aklan.
To be launched in conjunction with ?Geeks on a Beach,? one of the biggest international startup events in the country, the roadmap provides a framework for developing the Philippine startup ecosystem, which mainly consists of Internet-related innovation.
While the startup ecosystem in the Philippines is still at its infancy stages, a nationwide interest in this sector is emerging, as affirmed by consecutive startups events and competitions all throughout the country.
There are currently around 20 accelerators, incubators, and venture capitalists present in the country, and at least 100 operating tech startups.
In spite of the development and dynamism of the local startup scene, the government, together with the local movers and shakers of this sector, realizes there are still lots of things to be developed and improved as the country prepares to be a global startup hub.
Being a nation with one of the fastest growing economies in Asia and with a young and tech-savvy population, the Philippines also has other competitive advantages ? low operating costs, English language proficiency, and minimal business competition, which make the country conducive for startup businesses.
?This roadmap aims to develop a coherent and consistent strategic plan for the country?s innovative ecosystem, engaging members of both public and private sectors. Ultimately, our goal is to generate startups that drive economic growth and provide solutions to our society?s most pervasive issues. This is a project for the startup community, and by the community itself,? said Monchito Ibrahim, deputy executive director e-Innovation of the ICT Office.
To date, no local startup has surpassed the $50 million in valuation. The country?s leading startups-turned-big-companies are OLX.ph (previously Sulit.com.ph), Chikka, Airborne Access, Netbooster, Xurpas, iRemit, and Morphlabs.
When it comes to the academe, digital entrepreneurship courses are yet to be introduced in colleges and universities, but a number of top universities have already taken steps forward by housing student startups.
?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 startups, among others ? plays a role. It is imperative for all sectors to play their respective roles in the ecosystem to move forward,? Ibrahim added.
By 2020, the roadmap targets to achieve at least 500 Philippine startups with a cumulative valuation of $2 billion, resulting to 8,500 high-skilled jobs created; 1,250 startup founders; 15,166,684 users acquired; and 719, 737 paying customers.
Commissioned by the ICT Office, the roadmap is a product of the collaboration of the country?s local tech industry. The Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), Philippine Development Foundation, Kickstart, Ideaspace, and TechTalks.ph highlight the list of roundtable contributors.
Former entrepreneurs, foreign startup founders, investors, academicians, policymakers, and grassroots representatives were also part of the roadmap team.
The Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups is a project under the ?seedPH? initiative of the ICT Office, which aims to cultivate the Philippine startup ecosystem by conducting advocacy campaigns, capability development programs, and research initiatives.
Aside from the Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups, the ICT Office is also the government agency leading the Free Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places project.
This project aims to achieve 99% national connectivity by providing Internet connection to class 4, 5, and 6 municipalities in the country.
Launched last July 24, the ICT Office has started rolling out the free Wi-Fi connection in various areas in Manila and Quezon City.