Young Philippine entrepreneurs shine at major Startup competition

4 July 2023
ITC News

Manila: Winners from the second cohort of the ARISE Plus Philippines Young Entrepreneurs (YE) Boost Accelerator were announced at the grand finale in Manila with an in-person Demo Day and pitching competition, marking the culmination of the programme.

QBO Innovation Hub, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the International Trade Center (ITC) joined forces to successfully complete the second cohort of the ARISE Plus YE! Boost Accelerator.

The event, which brought together 88 participants from the start-up ecosystem including major partners such as DTI, DOST, PLDT and Microsoft, marked the end of a 14-week Accelerator programme aimed at accelerating the growth and development of a cohort of 12 Philippine youth led businesses, providing them with the support needed to expand internationally. This was a second cohort, following a first cohort of 12 beneficiaries in 2022.

I would like to congratulate the ITC and QBO for yet another successful implementation of this remarkable initiative. This event presents a valuable opportunity to network and underscore the unwavering commitment of both the public and private sectors to foster youth-led entrepreneurship. The ARISE Plus Ye! Boost Accelerator plays a vital role in shaping the future of entrepreneurship and innovation”, said Dr. Rafaelita “Fita” M. Aldaba, Undersecretary for the Competitiveness and Innovation Group (CIG) of the DTI.

"The Arise Plus Ye! Boost Accelerator and the culminating Demo Day play a vital role in empowering startups to achieve success. By providing access to mentorship, industry expertise, and investment opportunities, the program equips entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and knowledge to navigate the complexities of the business landscape. Additionally, the demo day serves as a launching pad for startups to gain visibility, attract potential investors, and form strategic partnerships, setting the stage for future growth and expansion," said Mr. Meily, the President of IdeaSpace Foundation and QBO Innovation Hub.

Distinguished members of jury decided the winners of the pitching competition, where top three winners received cash prizes worth a total of USD 5,000 and further validation for their innovations. The Jury was composed of Ms. Katrina Chan, IdeaSpace Executive Director, Mr. Miguel Lopez, ITC Youth Entrepreneurship National Expert, Mr. Artie Lopez, Co-founder and Startup Coach Brainsparks, Mr. Nathan Dy, SMB Leader Microsoft, and Mr. Karl Pacolor, Division Chief - Innovation and Collaboration Division, DTI.

Poised to storm the global market with their bold and groundbreaking ideas, the winners include Synthillate Co. Ltd., Sakahon, and Pic-A-Talk.

Winning first place was Synthillate, Asia’s first “intellectual property bank” that allows used to convert their intellectual properties into financial assets.

Coming in second was Sakahon, an agritech solutions company that aims to simplify supply chain in agriculture and create inclusive producer-market business relationship, including by enabling farmers to know what the market needs 3 to 6 months ahead of time using data management.

Pic-A-Talk, finishing third, is an assistive mobile application for children with speech and language disabilities providing a picture exchange communication system to help them communicate their needs.

"With the mentorship and guidance of various mentors, experts, and knowledge resources in the program, Synthillate was able to identify, navigate and prepare the business for international expansion. Since our acceptance to the ARISE Plus Ye! Boost Accelerator, Synthillate got a coveted spot in one of the top fintech accelerators in the world -- the Seoul Fintech Lab," said Synthillate's co-founder Joseph Christopher Doroja. Synthillate also got various opportunities to build cross-border partnerships, including in the ASEAN with Thailand universities.

"The ARISE Plus Philippines project stands as a testament to the power of collaboration in nurturing innovation, fostering job creation, and contributing to the overall economic growth of the country," said Noreen Bautista of Panublix, the grand winner of the first cohort and now exporting to the EU.

The ARISE Plus Ye! Boost Accelerator, a flagship initiative under the ARISE Plus Philippines project funded by the European Union (EU), provides comprehensive support to early-stage startups. The program aims to equip entrepreneurs with the necessary skills, resources, and networks to scale their ventures and compete globally. Through a series of workshops, mentoring sessions, and networking opportunities, the accelerator enables startups to refine their business models, validate their products or services, and establish a solid foundation for growth.

ARISE Plus Philippines is a project of the Government of the Philippines, with the Department of Trade and Industry as lead partner together with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Bureau of Customs, the Department of Science and Technology, as well as the private sector. It is funded by the EU with the International Trade Centre (ITC) as the technical agency for the project.

The ARISE Plus Philippines project is enabling Philippine exporters to take advantage of European Union (EU) market access and the trade privileges granted under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP+). It supports the overall EU-Philippines trade relationship and trade-related policies.