UP-led startup hub inks deal with Taiwanese firms

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UPSCALE Innovation Hub, a startup and innovation hub led by the University of the Philippines (UP), has signed a memorandum of understanding with several Taiwanese organizations on its incubation initiative for Filipino technology startups.

Dr. Luis Sison, project leader of UPSCALE, discusses the technology hub’s incubator program

This marks that first time that the startup hub has signed agreements with foreign incubators. The UP-led hub has also initiated similar activities in Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, India, and the US, among others, but this the first time that it will sign a “formal” collaboration with foreign entities.

According to Dr. Luis Sison, project leader of UPSCALE, the agreements with Taiwan highlight the accomplishments of the technology hub in its two-year existence.

Sison said some of the Taiwanese organizations include the Southern Taiwan IC Design Incubation Center, Southern Taiwan Industry Promotions Center, ITRI, Kaoshiung Medical University Incubator, and the National Kaoshiung University for Science & Technology.

The agreements aim to develop top startups from the Philippines to become globally competitive. Some of the areas to be developed include agritech and healthtech. Sison said two startups from UPSCALE, namely Farmwatch (an agritech start up) and Veris (a medical device startup), have been “co-incubated” in Taiwan for further development.

The MOUs will also focus on collaboration of Filipino and Taiwanese startups. Sison also added that aside from Taiwan, UPSCALE expects to also sign agreements with India.

Currently, UPSCALE has three major programs: UP Enterprise, IGNITE, and entreLEAD. Under these programs are startups that are in different stages of development.

Sison clarified that UPSCALE does not limit its incubation programs to the UP community, but is also “open” to other entities. He said UPSCALE has already set January 26 as its deadline for applications in its incubation program.

As of the last count, UPSCALE is working with 38 startups. Some of the “older” startups incubated in UPSCALE include AccessiWheels, Cloop, DRIVE, and Gitara ni Juan.

AccessiWheels aims to provide transportation services to senior citizens, persons with disabilities and wheelchair-bound patients.

Cloop is a social enterprise focusing on developing microenterprises on recycling. It is set to launch a “CloopCenter” in Malabon City.

DRIVE has developed a mobile app which makes it easier for commuters and travelers to book car rentals outside Manila. The app brings together a community of car rental businesses and thus allow someone to book a vehicle in less than a minute.

Gitara ni Juan, meanwhile, is a startup which focuses on developing alternative raw materials for the production of guitars. The startup has already unveiled a prototype which is gaining traction after it was endorsed by a local celebrity.

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