The two-day Go Tech Cebu: ICT/BPM Summit organized by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce Industry (CCCI) placed a spotlight on Cebu’s burgeoning startup ecosystem that is significantly helping propel digital innovation in the country.

Ms. Ma. Elena Arbon, Regional Director of the Department of Trade and Industry Central Visayas, noted how far the startup ecosystem has come from where it started more than a decade ago. She also observed how the COVID-19 pandemic had empowered startups to push digitization in the country.

As the keynote speaker on the second day of the ICT/BPM Summit, Ms. Arbon cited the numerous gains and contributions of the startup ecosystem to the Philippine economy, proof that it takes a village to generate a successful startup.

Ms. Katrina Rausa Chan, Executive Director of QBO Innovation Hub, who shared valuable insights on the Philippine and Cebu’s startup ecosystem, emphasized that “startups are resilient problem solvers that are going to create solutions for the future.”

The Go Tech Cebu: ICT/BPM Summit, which was held at Quest Hotel and Conference Center Cebu on June 16–17, 2022, is one of the events of the highly-anticipated Cebu Business Month (CBM) 2022, CCCI’s annual flagship event that carries the theme, “Go Cebu: Realign, Reinforce, Rebuild.”

“Hence, it aims to address urgent issues in the ICT-BPM sector so that we can realign its initiatives with its considerable potential, reinforce its ability to respond to crises proactively, and rebuild its pathways through strategic mechanisms and innovative tools,” Mr. Ryan Tan Yu, CBM 2022 ICT/BPM Chairman.

Mr. Yu addressed the participants of the event’s second day — startup founders and enablers, venture capital firms, and funding agencies — who filled the conference room that palpitated with energy for collaboration and creativity. His Co-chair for CBM 2022 ICT/BPM, Ms. Catherine Curato, briefed the attendees on the first day.

Ms. Brigitte Carmel Lim, CBM 2022 Chair, aptly described the second day of the ICT/BPM Summit as a coming together of experts and a manifestation of CCCI’s commitment to “realign, reinforce, rebuild” the ICT-BPM industry that has seen challenging times during the pandemic and has emerged as a more resilient and more agile sector prepared to respond to any and future crisis.

“By pitching ideas, expressing commitments, and working together on focus areas, particularly innovation, startup ecosystem development, and digital transformation, we help expand the ICT-BPM industry’s capability to impact more people,” she said.

Hosted by Ms. April Ong Vaño, Founder of Collabox (Henyo Global Innovations, Inc.), on the second day, the Go Tech Cebu: ICT/BPM Summit — which Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama praised for being an effective convergence and meeting of minds — featured highly esteemed speakers and startup innovators.

The speakers shared their insights and success stories on managing risks, empowering the workforce, scaling up businesses, current trends and future opportunities, innovation, and sustainable growth.

Mr. Jason Gaisano, Co-founder and Partner at Core Capital, shared insights on venture capital investing with Gobi-Core, which provides early-stage financing for technology companies with a focus on the Philippines. Ms. Joan Cybil Yao, Vice President of Kickstart Ventures Inc., explained how to find the right investor at every stage and emphasized that timing is important to launching and growing a startup.

Engr. Edward Paul Apigo, Program Manager for Startup Grant Fund at the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), presented potential government grants that can accelerate the startup ecosystem’s research and development activities, strengthen their intellectual property, establish initial market traction, refine business models, and prepare their business continuity plans.

Mr. Ryan Tambis, Consultant for the National Development Company for the Philippine Startup Venture Fund Program, expressed his belief that one of the key measures to nurture the development of the startup ecosystem is to support local venture capital. In sharing a case study surrounding his company, Mr. Steve Sy, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Great Deals, emphasized that the people behind the use and adoption of technology can change the world for the better.

Mr. Aldrich Tan, Co-founder and Chief Experience Officer of NextPay, recommended that startups make use of all available tools relevant to growing their businesses. Mr. Dennis Velasco, Chief Executive Officer of Prosperna, pointed out how technology has always increased customer reach, saved time, and lowered operational costs and noted that more than 70% of small businesses in the country are ready to embrace more digital tools.

Mr. Carlo Calimon, Director of StartUp Village, shared the value of finding the right network of people and collaborators who can help convert startup ideas into successful realities. On the other hand, Ms. Grace David, Chief Executive Officer of Edukasyon.ph, pointed out the significance of education as a solution in producing an excellent future workforce for the startup ecosystem.

Mr. Prim Paypon, Executive Director of Asian Institute of Management-Dado Banatao Incubator, noted how almost 74% of startups hail from the regions across the Philippines and how several of these startups are not engaged in sophisticated technologies.

“These technologies were basically created to give employment, to create opportunities for fishermen and farmers, or even to create student loans who wanted to finish school,” said Mr. Paypon in his talk on provincial startup case studies.

The second day of the Go Tech Cebu: ICT/BPM Summit also featured an engaging roundtable discussion with Philippine startup enablers and immersed the participants in a productive set of activities that manifested their energy, drive, and optimism — reflective of the nature of the Philippines’ and Cebu’s startup ecosystem.

The Cebu Business Month 2022 is presented by Filinvest Land Inc., PLDT Enterprise, Smart Communications, Inc., and NUSTAR Resort, and co-presented by Cebu Landmasters, Inc., Maya Business, Angkas, and IPI, with platinum sponsors Arthaland Corporation, Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu Pacific Air, Converge ICT Solutions Inc., Eastern Communications, Qualfon Philippines, and SB Finance. 

The Go Tech Cebu: ICT/BPM Summit is made possible through its event sponsors: Amazon Web Services, Golden Prince Hotel & Suites, Mataverse, Inc., QBE Group Shared Services Limited-Philippine Branch, Unisol (Uniform Solutions), Xeleqt Technology Innovations Inc., and Aerophone PH, and media partners: Alcordo Advertising, Bizhero.ph, Inews.ph, Mataverse, and RMA News.  For more information about CBM 2022, contact the CBM Secretariat at (63 32) 232-1421 to 24, email at info@cebuchamber.org or cbm@cebuchamber.org, or visit any of the social media accounts: www.cebuchamber.org, instagram.com/cbm.ph, and facebook.com/CebuBusinessMonth.