The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) and Ideaspace Foundation, the leading early stage technology incubator and accelerator in the Philippines, signed a memorandum of understanding for the establishment and launching of the QBO Innovation Hub at the DTI International Building, Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City on August 8, 2016 for startups and innovation entrepreneurs.
The Hub aims to link innovators, explorers, investors, academic institutions, start-up 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 is DTI’s support to the startup community, particularly targeting startups with viable business propositions.
“This initiative is DTI-EMB’s way of providing relational form of assistance that boosts the climate of collaboration within the startup community, private sector, the academe and the government,” said DTI-EMB Director Senen M. Perlada.
In line with the Strategy #8 of the 2015-2017 Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) which states the enhancement of the innovative capacity of the export sector through an efficient system of national innovation, QBO Innovation Hub will also serve as an avenue to urge more micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) to collaborate and explore opportunities that disruptive technologies can offer.
“We hope to open more opportunities for market access and capital, and mentorship for our startups, especially the growing number of young entrepreneurs,” added Perlada
The QBO Innovation Hub is under the Negosyo Center Plus operating model. As a flagship initiative of DTI to encourage entrepreneurship in the country, the over 250 Negosyo Centers across the country are equipped with materials and resource supports that will assist entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs. As the agency add more services catered to address the needs of the startup community, more centers under the Negosyo Center Plus model will start assisting those in the startup and innovation sector.
“We hope that this is just the beginning of a larger initiative from public-private collaboration that will enhance our local entrepreneurs’ ability to network, to exchange ideas and to create and innovate products and services that could bring our Filipino brands in the global market”, urged Perlada.
“Our hope is that the hub will help spur the Philippine startup ecosystem and raise it to global standards. We aim to be as inclusive as possible and to collaborate with both local and foreign business groups and funders to produce game-changing innovation to rival businesses around the world,” said Rene “Butch” Meily, who will be leading the QBO Innovation Hub. Katrina Chan of Ideaspace will serve as Executive Director of QBO. Meily also leads the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), a private sector vehicle for disaster management that has become a role model for the UN’s Connecting Business Initiative and includes many of the country’s major corporations.
Aside from DTI and Ideaspace, the innovation hub was made possible with support from the Department of Science and Technology and JP Morgan Foundation.
During the event, DTI also announced its plan of establishing a food innovation hub at the Philippine Trade Training Center later this year to strengthen its advocacy of advancing the innovation and entrepreneurship agenda. DTI noted that initiatives like this would support the realization of the Philippines’ ambition to be known as the Asia’s trendsetter in export products and services.
For the past six months, DTI had been active in tapping the private sector and the academe to further enhance the innovative capacity of Filipino entrepreneurs and to encourage more investors in the startup, innovation and creative services sector. Several events such as SlingShot Philippines carried out series of dialogues to accelerate the development of the startup and innovation ecosystem in the country.
Named after the iconic “kubo” as it reflects the modern re-imagination of the traditional Filipino home and community space, DTI hopes to usher in a new breed of MSMEs that will thrive in the digital and algorithm economy.