IdeaSpace to build Philippine Silicon Valley
MANILA, Philippines – The government has teamed up with emerging market technology incubator IdeaSpace Foundation to build the Philippines’ version of Silicon Valley.
The Department of Science and Technology, Department of Trade and Industry and IdeaSpace, a non-profit organization initiated by the group of telecommunications magnate Manuel V. Pangilinan, are embarking on the country’s first-ever public-private partnership (PPP) to build a national innovation hub.
Earl Martin Valencia, president and co-founder of IdeaSpace, said the PPP initiative is initially looking to invest between P20 – to P30 – million for the facility to be located near universities.
Valencia said the Philippine innovation hub seeks to foster the advancement of technology and innovation in the country with critical support from the government, the academe, and the private sector.
The collaboration represents the first-ever PPP in the country that is focused on growing the local innovation ecosystem. The project is in line with the country’s goal to improve its position in the emerging global digital economy.
“When we founded IdeaSpace in 2012, we wanted to find the next big innovative idea that will change the world, and create a startup ecosystem that embodies the Silicon Valley-mindset of using technology and science to create massive change in the world,” Valencia said.
“Today we realize the dream to create Philippines’ own innovation hub with our initial collaboration with the government and the academe where startups and high-potential research can get the support they need in order to grow and thrive,” he added.
Two innovation hubs are being planned to start operations over the next two years—the first will be in Intramuros, Manila this year and the second in UP Diliman in Quezon City by next year.
Valencia said it is critical to locate the innovation hubs near key academic institutions to imbibe the spirit of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking among students, to tap into a wellspring of engineering and technology talent from these universities, as well as to address the growing interest of students in founding their own startups.
The DOST, for its part, has allocated a grant of P35 million for equipment and operation of the two innovation hubs over the next two years.
The private sector team of the PPP initiative will contribute P10 million to the project while UP Diliman is shelling out some P5 million.
“The DTI strongly supports entrepreneurship and innovation in the Philippines to realize economic growth that is truly inclusive,” DTI Undersecretary Nora Terrado said.
“Tech startups present a growing spectrum of opportunities for Filipinos to compete in the international stage as they create new solutions to pressing social and environmental problems. In the process, this will spur economic activities resulting from the value and employment generated. Innovation hubs are essential elements in building an innovation culture for the present and future generation,” Terrado added.
IdeaSpace said the creation of the innovation hub would be a critical component in the drive to boost the Philippines’ ranking in the Digital Evolution Index (DEI), which ranks countries in terms of their readiness for the fast- expanding digital economy.
The Philippines is one of the so-called “break-out” nations in the recent global DEI study and stands alongside China, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam as one of the “rapidly advancing countries” in the global digital topography.
“We can’t do it alone so we’re calling on more partners in the industry, the government, and the academe that believe in the Filipino innovator’s potential to help us push this initiative forward,” Valencia said.
As a non-profit foundation, IdeaSpace is supported by First Pacific, First Pacific Leadership Academy, Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., MPIC hospital group, PLDT, Meralco, Smart Communications, Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc. and its mobile brand Sun Cellular, SPI Global, ePLDT, Indofood, Philex Mining, Maynilad, MediaQuest, and TV5.
Edwardo Miguel Guevarra Roldan
Isang Samahan, Isang Pilipinas (ISIP) and Think Philippines!
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