First Innovation Hub for PH Startups Launched

Startup enablement programs to help speed up growth and learning for Philippine startups and entrepreneurs have been launched by QBO Innovation Hub.

“We are excited to create success stories that will inspire Filipinos to start their own companies instead of pursuing opportunities overseas,” said QBO and IdeaSpace president Butch Meily.

QBO is an established partnership between the public and private sector including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), IdeaSpace Foundation, and J.P. Morgan.

It will start offering programs and services to startups including access to QBO’s networking events such as classes, workshops, mentorship, feedback sessions, and use of its co-working space.

Available services include professional consultations on legal and accounting matters; marketing and design; corporate and government partner resources referrals; assistance on incorporation, business registration, and intellectual property filing; and investors and potential partners pitching.

“DTI hopes that with our partners from industry, academe, and other government agencies such as DOST and DICT, our initiatives will help advance the development of our local startup ecosystem and increase the number of high-growth oriented enterprises that will bring the Philippine brand in a global scale,” said DTI Trade and Investments Promotions Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado.

Through QBO, startups will also have an opportunity to join J.P. Morgan’s Incubation Program, a stage agnostic module (involving the review of company business plans) that will be available to select and high-potential startups all year round. It initially plans to enroll 15 startups by the end of 2017.

“As one of the world’s leading financial institutions, J.P. Morgan celebrates new ideas and we are committed to supporting entrepreneurs in the country, especially those with underserved backgrounds,” said Roberto L. Panlilio, Senior Country Officer, J.P. Morgan Philippines.

“Engaging with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at their early stages is critical and we are excited about the tremendous opportunities they will bring to developing sectors and generating jobs, which are both vital in promoting prosperous and thriving communities,” he added.

To avail of these services, startups need to have an initial interview with the QBO team and undergo initial assessment. Through this, a customized plan will be designed to match with the resources needed by the startup.

QBO was launched in 2016 with DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez and PLDT Group chair Manny V. Pangilinan. It aims to link innovators, explorers, investors, academic institutions, startup mentors, funders, and enablers as well as a broad spectrum of partners and stakeholders from both public and private sectors to convene in constructive interaction.

“The Philippine startup ecosystem is growing incredibly quickly, fueled by a young population engaged in the internet and digital, and more importantly, by entrepreneurs that demonstrate incredible determination and commitment,” said DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara.

“By continuing to develop ideas into innovative products and technologies, startups can evolve to become great companies that positively impact the future of the Philippines,” she continued.

QBO is the first innovation hub in the country, pioneering the first public-private effort to establish an innovation ecosystem in the Philippines following the success stories of Silicon Valley in the U.S., Singapore’s startup hub BLK 71, and the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre in Malaysia.