DICT launches 4th startup challenge, urges youth to fail
MANILA, Philippines – “It is in failing that we further innovate and thus succeed.”
These were the words of Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Rodolfo Salalima in the recent launch of the Philippine Startup Challenge (PSC) on Tuesday, August 1.
“We at DICT believe in the capability of Filipinos to create innovative solutions,” added Salalima. Through the Philippine Startup Challenge, Salalima said they wanted to encourage the youth to step out of their comfort zones and use technology to create change in their communities.
According to a Forbes article, 90% of startups fail. But Salalima emphasized that even if the crazy ones with the craziest ideas are more bound to fail, “the more they fail, they will learn from them and thus succeed.”
Now on its 4th year, PSC is a national competition that encourages college students to create tech-driven solutions for society’s real life problems. It also aims to inculcate entrepreneurial spirit to young Filipinos. PSC accepts entries for both software products or applications and hardware or Internet of Things (IoT).
Inclusive innovation, training the teachers
According to DICT Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim, this annual competition was originally conceptualized to engage students outside of Metro Manila in innovation. They also wanted to increase the pool of digital startups in the Philippines for attracting foreign funders and investors.
Unlike other well-known startup competitions in the country, DICT said they focus on involving students in the regions. Ibrahim said this is to spread awareness on the different ICT-related opportunities for the youth other than employment. In fact, they said the bulk of the winners and finalists of the competition in the previous years came from areas like Cebu, Iligan, and Bulacan.
Goldy Yancha of Ideaspace Philippines, one of the incubation partners of DICT, shared during the launch that one of the trends they noticed is that they receive better startup ideas from the provinces because it is where real-life problems are experienced, meaning problems that are other than the so-called first world problems.
”Most of the innovative solutions that come from the countryside tries to address local problems in their communities,” Yancha said.
To encourage inclusive innovation, DICT will conduct a series of Lean 101 Bootcamps for teachers and professors in key locations around the Philippines.
The bootcamp will equip college teachers with skills, knowledge, and mindset for creating a digital startup. After the bootcamp, the teachers will be tasked to form and mentor student teams from their respective schools.
Here are the dates of the bootcamps:
- Naga City - August 4, 2017
- Tacloban City - August 11, 2017
- Zamboanga City - August 18, 2017
- Manila - August 31, 2017
Startups in the countryside
The Philippine Startup Challenge, according to DICT, has been the starting ground of some emerging startups founded by youth innovators outside Metro Manila.
Emmy Delfin, DICT Program Manager, shared in her presentation startups that sprouted from their yearly project: Fresh2Ket, Sea2Go, and MilkTrack.
Fresh2Ket is a Cebu-based startup that connects farmers directly to customers, eliminating middle men and empowering farmers to sell their products at a fair price.
Founded by students from Davao City, Sea2Go, on the other hand, aims to connect fisher folks with potential buyers.
MilkTrack is a mobile application made by students from Bulacan to link lactating mothers to other mothers who need breast milk for their babies.
Since 2014, Delfin said PSC already received more than 350 entries, trained 460 eligible teachers or mentors, and engaged more than 214 schools nationwide. Delfin hopes they get more entries this year.
The Philippine Startup Challenge 2017 is a product of public-private collaboration between DICT, the Philippine Software Industry Association, Philippine Society of Information Technology Educators, Ideaspace Foundation, Huawei, and Microsoft.
In the Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups launched by DICT in 2015, they estimated that around 100 tech startups are operating in the country. However, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of young Filipinos venturing into innovation and entrepreneurship in the past two years.
The DICT aims to grow the local startup ecosystem to at least 500 Philippine startups with a cumulative valuation of USD $2 billion and 8,500 newly-created jobs by 2020. – Rappler.com