Freeman Cebu Business

PHSW 2023 sets global stage for Pinoy startups

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman
PHSW 2023 sets global stage for Pinoy startups
The 2023 PHSW also featured the first-ever “Sinigang Valley Conference” organized by QBO, alongside AHG Lab, Foxmont Capital, Kaya Founders, and founding members of Sinigang Valley Association (SVA). In addition to the main conference activities, the most promising Filipino startups of the year were spotlighted during the “Top 100 Startups SHOWQASE by QBO” and the inaugural “KMC Startup Awards”.
Photo from PSHW2023 Fb Page

CEBU, Philippines — The Philippines is putting the spotlight on promising Pinoy Startups to get global recognition and connect with potential investors, at the same time accelerating the Filipino startup ecosystem.

During the recently concluded Philippine Startup Week 2023 (PHSW23) held from November 20-24, 2023, key government agencies, homegrown startup heroes and industry enablers convened to sharpen the Philippines’ potential to produce groundbreaking innovations on the global scale.

The event was organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) with the support of QBO Innovation Hub, a public-private sector partnership and startup enabler, and other startup ecosystem stakeholders including Bossjob and Uniquecorn Strategies.

With the theme “Investing in Filipino Homegrown Heroes as Global Game Changers,” the week-long event focused on putting a spotlight on 170+ Filipino startup heroes and bolstering Philippine startup investments in the face of global “funding winter.”


In its fifth year, the event attracted over 3,000 attendees, who engaged in a week-long series of activities to enrich the startup ecosystem and provide opportunities to forge important partnerships among startup founders, investors, corporates, academia, and government agencies.

The PHSW23 presented an illustrious lineup of more than 170 leaders from the startup community.

Esteemed founders leading the charge included Bing Tan of Packworks, Dean Bernales of Uniquecorn Strategies, Dennis Ng of Mober, Kimberly Chen of Bossjob, and Nichel Gaba of PDAX. Notable investors and ecosystem enablers also graced the event, 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, 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, and Carlo Delantar of Gobi-Core Philippines.

Throughout the conference, more than 60 community events were held in 17 cities across the Philippines, extending beyond Metro Manila to provinces including Albay, Baguio, Batangas, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Camarines Sur, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Dumaguete, Iligan, Misamis Oriental, and Pampanga.

The events served as the mecca for opportunities to learn, interact, network, and collaborate through five tracks: Discover, Develop, Collaborate, Invest, and Showcase, each offering unique experiences for attendees.

PHSW23 partnered with over 90 organizations, 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.

The 2023 PHSW also featured the first-ever “Sinigang Valley Conference” organized by QBO, alongside AHG Lab, Foxmont Capital, Kaya Founders, and founding members of the country’s premier private-sector-led startup organization Sinigang Valley Association (SVA), featuring keynotes and panel discussions that imparted insights and expertise on navigating entrepreneurship. One of the highlights was the keynote speech by the Philippine Senator and Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship Chairperson Hon. Mark Villar, signaling the national government’s support for the startup community.

In addition to the main conference activities, the most promising Filipino startups of the year were spotlighted during the “Top 100 Startups SHOWQASE by QBO” and the inaugural             “KMC Startup Awards,” recognizing the awarded startups’ incredible contributions and impact on the growth of the Philippine startup ecosystem.

PHSW23 also championed female leadership in the startup sector, offering a dedicated platform for women at the forefront of innovation through panel discussions organized by Startup Pinay by QBO. Government-led summits further enriched the conference, including the “Slingshot Conference x Venture Pilipinas” by DTI in Metro Manila, the “Technology Business Incubator (TBI) Summit” by the DOST in Iloilo, and “Geeks On A Beach” by the DICT and Geeks PH in Bohol.

“We are beyond excited about the incredible innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that lit up this year’s Philippine Startup Week! In organizing its fifth edition, we didn't just celebrate achievements but, more importantly, we dove headfirst into expanding horizons and carving out new paths for our nation’s most promising startups with the mix of events, programs, and collaborative efforts throughout the conference,” said Katrina Chan, Executive Director of QBO Innovation Hub.

After another successful year, PHSW has cemented itself as the biggest startup conference in the country, drawing thousands of registrants from different parts of the world and showcasing hundreds of Filipino startups since its inception in 2019.

“Startups are poised to become a key pillar of the Philippine economy,” said

Rene ‘Butch’ Meily, President of IdeaSpace Foundation.

PHSW is the country’s large-scale collaborative initiative that brings together the local startup community and highlights the various sectors, entities, and Filipino high-potential startups contributing to the growing Philippine startup ecosystem during this week-long event.

This nationwide conference engages startup founders, investors, corporates, academia, media, and government agencies to promote collaboration, innovation, and the available support to further scale the country’s startup landscape. — (FREEMAN)

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