QUEZON CITY — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) expands opportunities to innovators in the country by providing P500,000 worth of grants to five winners of the 2021 Philippine Startup Challenge (PSC).

As part of the Republic Act No. 11337 or the “Innovative Startup Act”, the PSC supports the new generation of Filipino startups in developing breakthrough innovative business by creating networks and providing more opportunities for their ICT-based innovations, building a strong Philippine Startup ecosystem.

“Your DICT shall continue to promote innovation and encourage entrepreneurship in the country to achieve our long-standing goal of establishing a thriving ecosystem for all Filipino startups,” DICT Secretary Gregorio “Gringo” B. Honasan II said.

Undersecretary for Digital Philippines Emmanuel Rey Caintic sees that the initiative will help boost the startup ecosystem in the country. “We look forward to fostering InnovNation—where Philippines will be made stronger and more resilient by supporting the next set of budding technology entrepreneurs.” 

The Philippine Startup Challenge, now on its sixth run, has two categories: The Student category and the Professional category.  Under the Student Category, each team is composed of three (3) students in Senior High School or in College levels, and one (1) mentor who must be employed in the same university during the time of competition. Under the Professional Category each team should have minimum of two (2) and maximum of four (4) members with a designated team leader. Students with one (1) professional member in the team may also join under the Professional category. 

Five winners under the Professional category will receive equity-free grant worth of P2.5 million pesos from DICT’s Philippine Startup Grant Fund. Winners will also receive ICT equipment, cloud credits, and mentoring opportunities from the industry partners.

ICT Industry Development Bureau (IIDB) Director Emmy Lou V. Delfin said that the Digital Startup Development and Acceleration Program (DSDAP) supports the DICT’s thrust to support innovators from all corners of the country. 

“As we are big believers of technology and an enabler of inclusive countryside development for sustainable innovation and progress, the DICT has increased its budget for startup support, now including a startup grant to advance the growth of startups and offer more opportunities for outstanding Filipinos to successfully build on their innovative products and ideas,” she said.

This year’s Philippine Startup Challenge is a collaboration with the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), Ignite House of Innovations, QBO Innovation Hub, StartUp Village, Spring Valley, Huawei, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, and Philippine Society of Information Technology Educators (PSITE).

Meanwhile, the Philippine Startup Challenge 2021 has again extended the call for entries to encourage more teams to participate, and to allow startups in the idea to minimum viable product stage to prepare for the competition. The deadline of submission of entries for the professional category is moved to October 7, 2021, while the deadline for the student category is on December 30, 2021.

All participating teams are required to register through the Philippine Startup Challenge portal and submit a 3-minute pitch and other requirements. For details, visit https://dict.gov.ph/philippine-startup-challenge-2021 or email the PSC Secretariat at psc2021_inquiries@dict.gov.ph.