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DICT hopes to see Filipino ‘unicorns’ as homegrown tech start-ups go regional

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Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Monchito B. Ibrahim delivers a speech during a press briefing in Manila on ConnecTechAsia on June 15, 2018.

THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) sees growth in Filipino technology start-ups penetrating the regional market as technological breakthroughs empower entrepreneurs to scale their business easily and at a great speed.

“In the next five years, we hope to see a Filipino [tech] unicorn,” DICT Undersecretary Monchito B. Ibrahim told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of the launch of ConnecTechAsia 2018, a technology trade show that will showcase innovations from start-ups in the Asia Pacific.

“A lot of our Filipino-founded start-ups are ready for the regional market, and we’ve also been seeing some start-ups who are already positioning themselves for the regional market so we felt that by exposing them to large events like this, we would help them reach their goals. This our small way of providing exposure that they needed,” Mr. Ibrahim said.

Out of 22 applications this year, DICT selected 10 local companies that will form the Philippine delegation, seven of which are start-ups.

According to the 2017 Philippine Start-up Survey by QBO Innovation Hub and PwC Philippines, 61% of the 106 CEOs of start-ups surveyed are planning to enter new territories outside the Philippines.

ConnecTechAsia provides the venue for technology-related start-ups to foray into the regional and international scene with key industry players in telecoms, media and technology coming together to talk about the latest innovations in digital transformation of businesses and cities across Asia.

“We need to be seen and we need to maintain that visibility in all markets. It’s an opportunity for us to show the innovative ideas that we have here. We like to be able to tell the world that we have also great ideas coming out of the Philippines.”

Participating Philippine start-ups include HYBrain, Kollab Guru Group, Inc., MediAid, MobileOptima, Inc., Payruler, Rumarocket Ltd., Inc., and Snapcart. These start-ups will be showcasing their latest offerings in software development, platform adoption, digital marketing, human resource management systems, talent sourcing, and data acquisition and analytics. They are also joined by outsourcing firms Advance World Solutions, Magellan Solutions and Titanium Technologies.

Mr. Ibrahim added that aside from ConnecTechAsia, the DICT is also looking at bringing tech start-ups to its upcoming trade missions in Australia, Japan, France and the United States.

A MASSIVE TRADE SHOW
ConnecTechAsia will see more than 1700 companies representing 52 countries and regions to make up a showcase of the telecoms, media and technology (TMT) sectors, presenting a holistic ecosystem of infrastructure, enterprise hardware, new innovations and services businesses and governments in Asia need to thrive in this new era of digital convergence.

“As Asia pursues digital transformation at an accelerated pace, it is critical that the event evolves alongside the dramatic shifts happening in the spaces we serve,” Calvin Koh, assistant project director (Telecom, Media and Technology), UBM, ConnecTechAsia organizer, said in a statement. “The new event reflects the pulse of Asia today, and is the only business platform covering the converging ecosystems of communications, broadcasting and emerging technologies connecting the physical and digital worlds.”

ConnecTechAsia combines long-running events CommunicAsia, BroadcastAsia, with newly launched NXTAsia.

ConnecTechAsia will be held on June 26-28 in Singapore. — MBG