The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) revealed the winners of the Philippine Startup Challenge (PSC) 2021 Student Category, an annual competition conducted by the ICT Industry Development Bureau (IIDB) which aims to encourage the Filipino youth to create ICT products and services to potentially develop into viable business ventures and solve the country’s societal problems.

“We believe that our Filipino youth is the hope of our future. We must train them to be technopreneurs by giving them an avenue to harness their creativity through tech startups.” DICT Secretary Emmanuel Rey “Manny” Caintic said.

The PSC is a vital component of the DICT’s Digital Startup Development and Acceleration Program (DS-DAP), which enables startups to engage the startup ecosystem and level up the Philippines’ economic growth. 

In cooperation with the different DICT regional offices, pitching competitions happened nationwide to seek applicants. The regional offices also invited esteemed and renowned startup founders, government partners, and ICT industry leaders to scrutinize the submitted solutions of the regional participants. The panel of judges ensured that their respective regional winners are the best aspiring startups in their locality.

After the regional pitching competition, the semi-finals occurred last March 18, 2022, and the regions helped prepare their respective representatives with mentoring sessions from top-caliber startup founders.

Finally, last March 25, 2022, the Philippine Startup Challenge 2021 National Finals’ announced winners for its student category. Twenty-seven (27) teams from around the country progressed to the finals after competing in a series of regional pitching competitions.

In the end, five (5) startups were declared victorious, namely:

  1. Champion: Inseñas from the Technological Institute of the Philippines – Quezon City, NCR
  2. 2nd Place: Trakk from the Lyceum of the Philippines University – Cavite, Region 4A
  3. 3rd Place: Mindoceo from the University of the Philippines – Diliman, NCR
  4. 4th Place: d’Masters from the Gallanosa National Highschool – Region 5
  5. 5th Place: iCheck from the Malayan Colleges Laguna – Region 4A

The PSC’s esteemed judges include Jomar Bernedo from the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), Andre Yap from Ignite House of Innovation, Katrina Chan from QBO and Ideaspace, Arnold Alvarez from Huawei, and Abid Zaidi from Microsoft.

The DICT’s community partners and sponsors likewise include Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), Ignite House of Innovation, Startup Village, QBO Innovation Hub, Spring Valley, Huawei, Philippine Society for Information Technology Educators (PSITE), Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

“For the startup teams, let me reiterate that this is not the end of your dreams. Being here, defending your startups in front of our judges is one of the many breakthroughs you will encounter during your journey” IIDB Director Emmy Lou Delfin asserted in her closing remarks during the PSC 2021 National Finals. “Take their comments, suggestions and challenges wholeheartedly and use those to ignite and burn your passion further,” she added.