In celebration of the growing Filipino startup ecosystem, homegrown startup heroes and enablers gathered in the annual staging of the Philippine Startup Week (PHSW23) last Nov. 20-24. The annual event is hosted by the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and is supported by QBO Innovation Hub, a public-private sector partnership and startup enabler, and other startup ecosystem stakeholders such as Bossjob and Uniquecorn Strategies.

With the theme, “Investing in Filipino Homegrown Heroes as Global Game Changers,” the week-long event showcased a series of programs held in person at multiple venues nationwide, bringing together the local startup community to discuss key issues among startup founders, investors, corporates, academia, and government agencies. Some of the discussions included the investment landscape for Filipino startups, the role of women-led businesses in the current funding climate, the use of AI and other emerging technologies, as well as regional and international expansion opportunities for Filipino entrepreneurs.

“This year’s Philippine Startup Week aims to highlight and strategically position the Philippines as an emerging investment hub for startups in Southeast Asia while facilitating actionable insights and nurturing collaborative efforts and learning among the local startup community,” Katrina Rausa Chan, executive director of QBO Innovation Hub, shared in a statement. “While the tech startup community is facing headwinds in the global ‘funding winter,’ the conference acts as a nexus for innovation and growth, providing a platform for thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors to collectively navigate and shape the future trajectory of the local startup ecosystem.”

Moreover, PHSW23 featured the first-ever “Sinigang Valley Conference” organized by QBO, alongside AHG Lab, Foxmont Capital Partners, and Kaya Founders, founding members of the country’s premier private-sector-led startup organization Sinigang Valley Association (SVA).

Meanwhile, the most promising Filipino startups of the year were unveiled during the “Top 100 Startups SHOWQASE by QBO” and the inaugural “KMC Startup Awards.”

PHSW23 also featured government-led summits, including the “Slingshot Conference x Venture Pilipinas” by DTI in Metro Manila on Nov. 20, the “Technology Business Incubator (TBI) Summit” by DoST in Iloilo on Nov. 21, and “Geeks On A Beach” by the DICT and Geeks PH in Bohol from Nov. 22-24.

PHSW23 also covered over 50 community events spearheaded by various partners from all over the Philippines, including Gobi Partners, Amazon Web Services, 917Ventures, Manila Angel Investors Network, Google Cloud, Maya Philippines, Investree Philippines, FEU Tech Innovation Center, MindanowJuana, Greyhound Innovations, Bukidnon ICT & Innovation Council, Cebu City Cybersecurity Center, FHMoms, The Final Pitch, and Brainsparks. These events showcase the collaborative spirit and diversity of the Filipino startup ecosystem, enabling attendees to learn, interact, network and collaborate through five tracks: Discover, Develop, Collaborate, Invest, and Showcase.

PHSW23 presented an illustrious lineup of leaders from the startup community, both from the Philippines and internationally. Esteemed founders leading the charge include Ron Baetiong of Podcast Network Asia, Dean Bernales of Uniquecorn Strategies, Kim Yao of CloudEats, Dennis Ng of Mober, Kimberly Chen of Bossjob, Nichel Gaba of PDAX, Mel Nava of 1Export, King Alandy Dy of Expedock, and Josef Werker of Humble Sustainability.

Joining them are notable investors and ecosystem enablers, including Franco Varona of Foxmont Capital, Melvin Chan of PLDT Enterprise, Uriah Velunta of Multisys, Puiyan Leung of Vertex Ventures, Dylan Keota of A2D Ventures, Paulo Campos of Kaya Founders, Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng of Summit Media, Niña Terol of Imaginable Impact, Tina Nepomuceno-Di Cicco of Manila Angel Investors Network, Jojo Malolos of PayMongo, Rene Cuartero of AHG Lab, Mike Maté of Kickstart Ventures, Natasha Bautista of 917Ventures, Carlo Delantar of Gobi-Core Philippines, as well as Rene “Butch” Meily and Ms. Chan of QBO Innovation Hub and IdeaSpace Investments.

The five-day conference was expected to draw over 3,000 in-person attendees across the country, over 150 speakers, and over 100 startups.