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ERIA Extends Support to the Startup Community at the Philippines Startup Week 2023

21 November 2023

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Manila/Iloilo, 21 November 2023: In a resounding celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship, the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) participated in a series of events held as part of this year’s edition of the Philippines Startup Week (PHSW). This event carried the theme ‘Investing in Filipino Homegrown Heroes as Global Game Changers’ and was organised by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). PHSW aims to showcase the nation's commitment to cultivating a dynamic and globally competitive startup ecosystem.

During the opening ceremony of PHSW in Makati City, Rafaelita Aldaba, the Undersecretary of DTI, highlighted the significant strides and commitments made in developing the Philippine startup ecosystem. Initiatives such as establishing a creative hub, an industry 4.0 pilot factory, a Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research, as well as the Launch and MOU Signing of the Regional Startup Enabler for Ecosystem Development (ReSEED) Program reflect the nation's dedication to nurturing indigenous startups.

‘The Philippines Startup Week is a testament to our nation's commitment to cultivating innovation. Legislative measures and collaborative efforts have propelled our startup ecosystem onto the global stage, positioning Filipino startups as formidable players in the international arena,’ remarked Undersecretary Aldaba.

PHSW 2023 served as a cornerstone, featuring a pitching competition, plenary talks by distinguished speakers, insightful seminar workshops, and dialogue sessions with industry experts. At the 7th Technology Business Incubator Summit in Iloilo City, Kentaro Machii, Program Manager on Startup Ecosystem at ERIA, provided an overview of the entrepreneurship landscape in ASEAN. The startup sector, comprising more than 5,800 entities, significantly contributes to innovation, job creation, and economic growth, with ten unicorns valued at over US$34 billion since 2012.

He further highlighted the maturation of the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in ASEAN, with each Member State at varying stages of supporting the startup journey and nurturing a conducive entrepreneurship environment. Challenges such as regulatory hurdles, limited access to infrastructure, funding, and technology were acknowledged, along with the imperative to ensure more inclusive entrepreneurship, particularly for women-led innovative startups.

The ASEAN Digital Index (2021) revealed that the Innovation & Entrepreneurship pillar holds the second-lowest index, underlining persistent challenges in fostering innovation. This closely correlates with the Digital Skills and Talent pillar, ranking as the lowest index, emphasising the ongoing challenge of building a skilled digital workforce.

ERIA also took the opportunity to introduce the recently launched ERIA Digital Innovation and Sustainable Economy Centre (E-DISC), where supporting the ASEAN startup ecosystem stands as one of its core goals. Through E-DISC, ERIA aims to deepen regional collaboration and cooperation to catalyse innovation, shaping a thriving ASEAN startup ecosystem.

Held annually, the Philippines Startup Week is a 5-day nationwide startup conference showcasing the emerging Filipino startup ecosystem's growth. The Philippines, ranked fifth in the Global Innovation Index 2022 among ASEAN Member States, accounts for 3.9% of the total $15.8 billion in startup equity funding raised in Southeast Asia in 2022.

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