PANGLAO, BOHOL — The startup ecosystem in the Philippines is vibrant and growing, said Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy.

Uy spoke during the opening of the two-day Geeks On A Beach (GOAB) 2023 international conference on Thursday, November 23.

The country has more than 1,100 startups, 60 incubators and accelerators, 50 venture capitalists, and more than 200 co-working spaces nationwide that enable collaboration.

Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy speaks during the opening of Geeks On A Beach in Panglao, Bohol.
Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy speaks during the opening of Geeks On A Beach in Panglao, Bohol. Credit: Geeks on a Beach / Geeks on a Beach

“It is truly an honor to stand before you as we kick off the sixth edition of Geeks on a Beach. As we gather here, it is heartening to see that through our joint efforts, we have transformed the Philippines into a pivotal regional hub for startups and digital innovation. This is a statement of fact. Our vibrant startup ecosystem has been promisingly growing,” said Secretary Yu.

Yu said the essence of Geeks on a Beach lies in the convergence of diverse minds and he is optimistic that this year’s event sees a limitless potential and a perfect backdrop for groundbreaking ideas to take flight.

Geeks On A Beach 2023 in Panglao is attended by nearly 1000 guests, technopreneurs, investors, and startup hustlers, venture capitalists, angel investors and others after a hiatus of five years.

Secretary Uy said the DICT commits to accelerate digital transformation and nurture the growth of the country’s startup community by launching programs aligned with the Innovative Startup Act of 2019.

“This law provides the blueprint for the advancement of the Philippine Startup Ecosystem and supports our startups by providing funding and mentorship mechanisms and streamlined processes,” Uy said.

The conduct of the GOAB in time for this year’s Philippine Startup Week shows the limitless potential inherent in Filipino technopreneurs. “Investing in Filipino Homegrown Heroes as Global Game Changers,” encapsulates our unwavering dedication to providing the necessary support for our local Startups to thrive,” Secretary Uy concluded.

DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy (2nd from left) with Geeks on a Beach organizers (from left) Albert Padin, Dave Overton, and Tina Amper.
DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy (2nd from left) with Geeks on a Beach organizers (from left) Albert Padin, Dave Overton, and Tina Amper. Credit: Geeks on a Beach / Geeks on a Beach

Founder’s panel discussion insights

Right after the DICT secretary’s keynote was a panel discussion with some of the startup founders in the country namely; Roland Ros, CEO and Founder of Kumu; ER Rollan, CEO and Founder of GrowSari and Steve Sy, Founder of Great Deals Ecommerce.

These three founders were one in saying that the biggest challenge in the startup industry is understanding the whys and the type of mindset to have in starting a company and building a startup.

Roland Ros said, sacrificing everything for the motherland is worth it in making a difference to operate in the environment of efficiently growing into a unicorn and becoming a sustainable business.

ER Rollan noted that understanding the whys and how mindset in establishing a company, and be prepared to be at the last benefactor of your endeavor. “That is the toughest part of a startup. The next unicorns of startups will come from the Philippines,” he added.

Steve Sy of Great Deals E-Commerce said that for every challenge there is an opportunity and this gives people values. e-commerce is fast paced; the challenge is to adopt to the growing e-commerce technology.

“As an entrepreneur, you don’t get much sleep but getting up and thinking in upscaling, growing your revenue with minimal expenses. The key to startups is an efficient scale/upscaling for all founders,” he said.

These three are all homegrown prominent startups in the country that still faced so much challenges in efficiently managing their startup business, but with the Philippines coming up as an emerging and the fastest growing economy in Asia, they see that 2024 is the base for the startup ecosystem in PH to grow.

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