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Startup prospects seen improving by next year


THE ENVIRONMENT for startups is expected to improve next year as the economy undertakes its digital transformation as it recovers from the pandemic.

Rene S. Meily, QBO Innovation Hub and IdeaSpace Foundation president, said at a virtual news conference Tuesday at Philippine Startup Week that the startup scene is expected to play a bigger role in the economy as a result of greater reliance on internet-based platforms.

“People have gotten used to really living virtually and doing things virtually. I am pretty optimistic and pretty hopeful for the country’s startups,” Mr. Meily said.

Mr. Meily cited a report released by Google LLC, Singapore government-owned investment company Temasek Holdings Ltd., and Bain & Co., estimating the size of the Philippines’ internet economy by gross merchandise value at $40 billion by 2025.

“I think we can take advantage of it because we can access a whole global market with the platforms that we have here. That is one good thing about an online platform,” Mr. Meily said.

Trade Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba said she is also optimistic for startups as the government is providing support at “all stages in the lifecycle of a startup.”

“I am also very optimistic. Based on what we’re seeing right now, there will be more startups able to raise funds, (resulting in) more strong startups with improved quality and higher probability of surviving,” Ms. Aldaba said.

“If we look at the forecasts for the economic recovery, many are saying that by the end of this year towards the first quarter of 2022, we will be hitting our 2019 level. There is a lot of momentum and excitement especially as companies are all preparing for digital transformation,” she added.

Department of Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary Emmanuel Rey R. Caintic said Filipinos are now more comfortable with online transactions, providing a boost to e-commerce.

“We ought to determine which startups are really sound business models because what we do not want is (companies shutting down as rapidly as they startup). We want to ensure that these startups have the right business acumen and the right formula so that they can move towards profitability and sustainability,” Mr. Caintic said.

Mr. Meily said the startup ecosystem needs more successes to entice and engage more domestic investors, including more initial public offerings.

“If one of the startups can go public on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), that is going to really excite everybody and make those companies and future founders realize that they do not have to work abroad or work for a big company to do well,” Mr. Meily said.

Sancho A. Mabborang, Department of Science and Technology undersecretary, said Filipinos should start early and take on a new mindset when it comes to startups.

“I think that the mindset and perspective should be stimulated at a young age so that we can produce Filipinos that will be interested in startups,” Mr. Mabborang said.

“Accessibility is also important such that we do not limit the access of startups only to key cities but should include the countryside,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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