The country’s best technology business incubators (TBIs) were recently recognized at the PH Startup Incubator Awards (PHSIA) as part of the TBI 4.0 Program, an initiative forged through the partnership between QBO Innovation Hub and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
The event was led by DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Pena and DOST- Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit, along with QBO President Rene “Butch” Meily. In addition, Project Leaders and University Representatives of each participating TBI were also present during the awarding, showcasing their accomplishments throughout the two-year program.
Nine awards and over P1 million in prizes were given out during the event.
DOST and QBO emphasized how the awards were built to celebrate the TBI community in the country and culminate their efforts to develop high-quality startups and world-class leaders. “The TBIs are at the forefront of the startup ecosystem, often a first touchpoint for founders new to the startup community, helping and supporting them as they develop their startup ideas,” shared by QBO Executive Director Katrina Rausa Chan.
As the Philippines recovers from the impacts of the pandemic, more startups have emerged to cater to the growing tech needs of the Filipino people. The country’s sub-sector strengths are fintech and e-commerce, with 15% of Manila’s startups belonging to the fintech sub-sector. Moreover, the country’s TBIs continue to play a crucial role in the thriving startup community by acting as the spark plug for startup founders looking to create impactful solutions.
Chan noted that the TBI 4.0 Program incubators have the potential to play a more active role in supporting post-pandemic recovery, working with promising startups that have the potential to create high-impact solutions for communities and industries.
Some of the promising startups being incubated in the TBIs include BINHI from SIBOL Labs of the University of the Philippines-Los Banos, this year’s Best Incubator Community Program Awardee; Xperto of UPSCALE Innovation Hub; and Eskwelabs from QBO Innovation Hub. BINHI is a plant tissue culture laboratory, specializing in plant propagation and breeding. They produce superior disease-free planting materials using tissue culture technology and is the only private laboratory offering such service in the Philippines. Xperto aims to create an online events management platform for professional learning programs, while Eskwelabs helps Filipinos be better prepared for the future of work through data education courses.
Out of the 13 TBIs who participated in the program, UPSCALE Innovation Hub was named the Grand Champion, receiving a P100,000 cash prize.
Grand Champion UPSCALE Innovation Hub further echoed this by acknowledging their incubatees for their response to the needs of Filipinos amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are also proud to have helped launch ventures that contribute to the betterment of Filipino lives through tech innovation amidst this pandemic. Last year, four of our startups introduced essential tech-based solutions to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” shared UPSCALE Innovations Hub Project Leader Dr. Louie Sison. “We continue to see more ventures working on products and services geared towards life in the now normal, and build up more social enterprises.”
With the Philippine Startup Incubator Awards and the DOST’s recent announcement of the 14 startups receiving funding through the Startup Grant Fund Program, it has become clear that both public and private sector leaders are increasingly recognizing the role that the startup ecosystem plays in the country’s growth and development.
“The Philippine Startup Incubator Awards demonstrate the progress that the local startup ecosystem has made in setting up support systems for founders,” said Chan. “Having quality incubators across the country ensures that our ecosystem can provide the resources founders need, regardless of where they’re located. With continued support, these incubators will fuel job and opportunity creators and spark a new wave of growth and development.”