Dubbed as Slingshot Cebu 2016, the country’s Trade Industry (DTI) held a seminar on branding a business and integrating innovation.The seminar was held at Waterfront Hotel last Saturday June 11,2016. It aims to equip, aspire and invigorate key players of the Philippine startup and innovation ecosystem.
The full day event started with a welcome remarks from Ms. Asteria C. Caberte, Regional DIrector, DOST 7. To give the audience an idea of what Slingshot Cebu was all about, Hon. Nora K. Terrado reiterated the economic agendum laid out by President Rodrigo Duterte. She explained that Slingshot is a program for startup and innovation ecosystem development. One of its objective is to usher new breed of businesses for the global market.
Mr. Diosdado Banatao, Chairman of PhilDev Foundation, then delivered a very informative yet very inspirational talk about growing an innovative ecosystem in the Philippines. Mr. Banatao stated that an innovative ecosystem can lead to investment in different areas of knowledge. He further stressed the importance of incorporating technology in education.
After Mr. Banatao, The Taiwan Model of Ecosystems was presented by Ms. Pearl Sun, Gen.Manager, Inspiring Super Ideas (ISI) Co. Ltd.Ms. Sun discussed the background of ISI and the incubation policy of Taiwan. She also shared Taiwan’s plan in reinforcing the startup innovation ecosystem in their country by supporting their top universities. Ms. Sun proudly presented some of the successful businesses ISI have assisted in the past.
Right after a short networking break, a conversation on growing an innovation ecosystem moderated by Mr. Joey Gurango followed. Members of the panel include Usec. Nora K. Terrado, Mr. Dado Banatao and Ms. Pearl Sun. The discussion included a brief Q&A. A substantial flow of idea took place during the portion between the panelists and the event attendees. It ended with Ms. Terrado’s statement that any forms of success starts with a clear intent.
The afternoon program started with Ms. Diane Eustaquio, EO, Ideaspace, who talked about the role of incubators. Ms. Eustaquio explained that Ideaspace is a nonprofit organization that advocates technology development, innovation and entrepreneurship as ways of nation building. She shared how the organization helped aspiring entrepreneurs by hosting competitions and exhibitions that promote innovation.
Dr. Richard S. Abendan of USAID-STRIDE elaborated the research and development needs in the country. He explained how STRIDE works with universities and presented the various projects that they have funded. He further discussed how anyone from the academe can apply for fundings from them. USAID-STRIDE currently funds ten universities all over the country.
Mr. Ravi Agarwal, Founder & CEO of engageSPARK & The TIDE, presented TIDE as a mission driven coworking space provider. Mr. Agarwal aims to provide a collaboration space as catalyst for startups where anyone can learn and gather ideas. He also shared his vision and the reasons why he chose Cebu as the key area for his business ventures.
The Philippine Startup Bill pushed by Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino was discussed by Mr. Karl Satinitigan. He explained the efficacy and the aim of the bill which he described as a policy for startups. He also mentioned some relevant information about the Philippine Competition Act in order to promote a competitive business environment in the country.
Inspiring stories delivered by Ms. Valenice Balace, Founder of Peekawoo and Dr. Evelyn C. Taboada, COO of GEMS Inc. delighted the audience. Ms. Balece talked about the struggles that she faced as a businesswoman and how she defeated them. She noted that the road to success is a constant struggle.
On the other hand, Dr. Taboada awed the attendees with an encouraging frugal innovation that turned wastes to gold: the Mango Waste Biorefinery. The innovation turns all parts of the mango into a useful product. One of the products that GEMS successfully produced was the mango flour. It paved way for the partnership of the University of San Carlos and the city of Johannesburg in South Africa. Together with GEMS Inc., the aforementioned university is now exporting mango flour to South Africa.
Two sets of panel discussion that undertook a conversation on critical success factors for startups took place in the afternoon. The first discussion was moderated by Mr. Dave Overton. The panel include Ms. Diane Eustaquio, Mr. Ravi Agarwal and Ms. Valenice Balace. The second panel which was headed by Ms. Tina Amper included Dr. Richard Abendan, Dr. Evelyn Taboada and Mr. Karl Satinitigan. The first discussion focused on incubator and investor support, while the second one focused on academe and legislative support.
A lightning pitch took place right after the panel discussions. Six startups were given three minutes each to showcase their businesses. Each were given salient points relevant to their respective firms.
Before the event ended, Mr. Niño B. Nanquil, Division Head PLDT SME, delivered a quick talk about bridging the digital gap in our country by providing different strategies that will help digitize the Philippines.
The whole day event ended with a provocative closing remarks by Ms. Maria Elena C. Arbon, Provincial Director, DTI-Cebu.
Slingshot Cebu 2016 is part of DTI’s 3-day simultaneous event called ‘Negosyo, Konsyumer ATBP. The event provided innovators, startups and entrepreneurs a venue for them to network and learn from investors who are looking for innovative ideas.