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Government, businesses urged to support tech-startups

“We really believe that the entrepreneurial mindset is what we need to prepare our whole nation for.” CC0/Stock
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines  Experts on information technology and entrepreneurship are urging the Philippine government and the country’s top corporations to provide support to Filipinos with innovative technology business ideas.
 
“We really believe that the entrepreneurial mindset is what we need to prepare our whole nation for,” Diane Eustaquio, executive director of startup incubator IdeaSpace, said during the annual Geeks on a Beach conference here this week.
 
“There’s more jobs as they say that will be lost to bots, and we need people, entrepreneurs who can adjust to disruptions and the more we have that in our culture, it’s better for the Philippines to adjust to changing times,” she added.
 
Eustaquio also noted the need for the government to further provide support to startups, although she noted that many agencies are already seeing the significance of the said sector.
 
“Quite a number of our government agencies have taken on and have realized how important entrepreneurship is, particularly technopreneurship… It’s good, let’s just keep on creating more momentum,” she said.
 
Organized by non-profit TechTalks.ph in partnership with the Department on Information and Communications Technology, Geeks on a Beach gathers hundreds of technology entrepreneurs and professionals to discuss ways to address social issues using technology.
 
Jojo Flores, co-founder of Silicon Valley-based startup accelerator Plug and Play Tech, said the shift to the digital culture can be seen as an opportunity for countries such as the Philippines where there are a lot of ideas coming from the younger generation.
 
“If you look at our current economy, it’s all services. As you know, services are very vulnerable. It becomes vulnerable because it’s service-based… That’s why it’s important to create IT-based, knowledge-based companies and you get that from startups,” he said.
 
“The world is changing. You cannot fall behind. That’s why we need to do this now. That’s why it’s important. If you want to be part of that global economy and join that digital commerce, we just need to do this,” added Flores.
 
He said big business should consider engaging with startups, noting that their ideas can propel their companies into the digital age.
 
“We have to engage with startups because they think outside of the box. They’re faster, but we need to guide them to the right direction,” said Flores. “We can start having these open discussions with large corporations. Some of them are getting involved with tech.”
 
Dindo Marzan, managing director of PLDT Group’s Voyager Innovations, said changing the mindset of Filipinos to be more supportive of entrepreneurship, particularly of tech startups.
 
“(Right now, there’s always discussions about) lack of capital, lack of government support, lack of awareness or education, which is basically our mindset now,” he said.
 
“We’re changing the culture here in the Philippines and it’s a good thing because when we address those things that we said we are lacking, it becomes a country thinking of abundance and it’s shaping the nation,” added the tech executive.
 
Ramon Escueta of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce Inc. said major corporations are starting to engage in startups, citing their different initiatives to support innovative business ideas.
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