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ICT experts urge more action to aid startups

Several Information and Communication Technology experts have urged more support for startups in order to rev up the economy, motivate the entrepreneurship spirit among the youth, unite the stakeholders, and encourage more action rather than just talk.

While the number of startups continues to rise nationwide, it has become more evident that these new businesses need a lot of assistance in order to survive and take that next giant step towards stability.

In a panel discussion during the Geeks On A Beach (GOAB) confab held last month at Bellevue Resort Bohol, a number of speakers advocated for additional means of assistance and large-scale action in order to arrest the high mortality rate of startups and create a new industry luminary to serve as an inspiration for the rest of the field.

Regional Director Elena Arbon of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) batted for a two-pronged attack, calling for more brick-and-mortar startups along with its digital platform for a double-edged sword to cater to multiple markets.

Expert recommendations

“We cannot depend on just BPOs and OFWs. We need to take a step further and develop new industries to avoid over-dependence on these two sectors. They cannot remain strong forever. Likewise, we need to create a council for both public and private establishments to exchange ideas and best practices,” she recommended.

Arbon also suggested an umbrella organization called startupph.org comprised of hundreds of upcoming startups and like entities to unite the stakeholders. Also, she batted for the creation of an innovation hub for the proper training and mentoring of startups in order to maximize their talents and potentials.

Tina Amper, instigator of GOAB, declared that the GOAB should be used to jumpstart the global economy by solving problems through technological means and personal efforts in consonance with the battle cry of the new administration, “change is here.”

Dave Overton, CEO of Sym.ph and startup builder, called for actions based on talks and recommendations in order to be more focused instead of merely talking about certain courses of action to take.

He also dwelt on the issue of time as an important factor in determining the basis of an ideal ecosystem for startups.

“We have come a long way, but still have a long way to go. Perhaps we would need as long as 20 years to establish the ideal ecosystem where startups are given the proper attention since their ideas and potentials would undergo a lengthy incubation period,” he said.

Diane Eustaquio, managing director of Ideaspace.ph, cautioned that startups do their homework carefully before embarking on grandiose plans and schemes to be the next big thing.

“Startups need to work on their products and listen to their customers first even before going to GOAB. GOAB should not be the initial step in your business since its still too early. I have discouraged some startups from going to this event. And I believe it is too romantic to be looking for the next Mark Zuckerberg. Startups should avoid such daydreams.”

Mark Nager, Startup Weekend co-founder, was more action-focused as he also praised the organizers behind the GOAB event.

“The GOAB has placed the Philippines on the map in the world startup community. But remember that we have to push people from talk to action. It cannot remain all talk. Likewise, the path of entrepreneurs is long and difficult since they are also customers,” he disclosed.

Nager has visited 50 countries in the past eight years, helping startups on a massive global scale. Already on its fourth year running, the GOAB is a unique confab featuring the cutting-edge of the tech world in a laid back setting while bannering the theme “Empowering startups, leading change.”