DOST welcomes idea to boost PH economy
A Philippine start-up community road map is needed to push the Philippine economy forward faster. This consensus began shaping up as some 300 Pinoy and foreign geeks listen to successful start-up entrepreneurs speak during the ongoing two-day conference dubbed as Geeks on a Beach in the world-famous tourism destination in the Philippines, Boracay island.
In a roundtable discussion among stakeholders, deputy executive Director Mon Ibrahim of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Information-Communication Technology Office (ICTO) welcomed, among other recommendations, the crafting a Philippine road map for startups.
Start-ups refer to fast-growing Internet-based businesses set up by entrepreneurs, something that began in the first start-up community called Silicon Valley decades ago and spread globally through the years.
During an earlier press conference, Ibrahim revealed that government plans to generate 1.5 million direct employment for the Philippine IT industry. Of this figure, he said, 40% is planned to be generated outside of Manila.
Veteran start-up entrepreneurs however say that private sector initiative for growing the start-up community should continue. Tina Amper of TechTalks and prime mover of the Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) conference, for instance, initially funded efforts for stat-up gathering from her own pocket.
Bowei Gai, a successful Silicon valley entrepreneur, likewise told journalists from all over the Philippines that venture capital is also not necessary at the beginning in order to develop start-up communities. “Start-ups can self-fund and venture capital will just come.”
Gai, who just concluded a 29-country tour in nine months for his World Start-up Report, said the Philippines has a lot of potentials during his talk that opened the second day of the conference.
Earlier, Plug and Play co-founder Jojo Flores said that three years ago MIT funded 26,000 companies which hired 3 million employees and earned $2 trillion a year. “This is the 11th largest economy of the world. That’s just a university. If the Philippines do this right, we can create startups . . . an industry of techno-preneurs on top of outsourcing. We still don’t have enough start-ups in the country yet.”
The young Cebuano Albert Padin who founded Spell Dial said, start-ups are risky but if you’re afraid to take risks we’ll still be where we are exactly right now.
Call on policymakers
According to Earl Valencia, president of Idea Space, “We have the next 5 years to prove that we are the epicenter of something – technology. If Sun Dance is for films, Davos for G8 leaders, then Philippines should be about start-ups.”
The loud call from the country’s emerging start-up communities should be a signal for Philippine policymakers to move further towards helping homegrown tech entrepreneurs become global tech champions rather than attracting foreign champions to invest in the country.
As of the moment, Ibrahim of DOST said his office has contributed funding to #GeeksonaBeach or #GOAB. While his office has been responsible for making Philippines an outsourcing destination starting in 2005, “we believe the country is also about tech innovation.”
Related stories & links
Ng: Geek lessons (Sun.Star Cebu)
Develop ecosystem for IT startups – experts (Inquirer.net)