TO BOOST the country’s start-up ecosystem and generate more investible ideas among startups, Microsoft Philippines and TechTalks.ph, a non-profit organization of technology, business and startup enthusiasts, are rolling out a series of “Startup Camps” across the country.
It held over the weekend the fourth leg of the camp in University of San Carlos-Cebu. In the following months, the teams will visit Iloilo, Dumaguete and General Santos City.
The one-day workshop showcased the participants—academe, entrepreneurs and startup founders—the various ways of starting their own technology-based businesses and available Microsoft tools and programs that could help them mount their startups.
The Startup Camp is anchored on Microsoft’s BizSpark program, which provides technology, support, visibility and a community to promising startups and entrepreneurs for free. Participants were also introduced to Microsoft’s Azure, its cloud platform.
“This is our way to provide support and visibility to our startups. To be successful is not just about getting resources but also the support and visibility. A lot of startups focus on the application. A lot don’t think how to monetize and this is the business piece where we can help provide value,” said Arnie Locsin, technical evangelist for Microsoft Azure.
The first Startup Camp was held in Batangas last month.
Locsin added that Microsoft’s involvement also includes setting up the community networking where startups are linked to other entities to help their tech-based project grow.
He cited the Cebu-based disaster management application Tudlo that is currently enrolled under the Microsoft’s BizSpark Plus program. The team, Locsin said, is being linked with local government units across the country to help roll out the mobile app, which is a multi-purpose communications platform for disaster and emergencies.
“We’ve invited vice mayors in small conferences so the team can promote the app. We do this because we want startups to be successful and we can realize benefits by growing with them,” said Locsin.
There are 700 startups in the Philippines currently enrolled under the BizSpark program and 15 startups under the BizSpark Plus.
Locsin said that with the positive turnout of their Startup Camps, they are more determined to reach more underserved areas to raise awareness on tech-based business and its boundless opportunities.
Since they started introducing startup to Cebu in 2012, TechTalks.ph founder Tina Amper said it has already created huge awareness in the community.
Amid the series of startup activities and campaigns, Amper noted the startup ecosystem here is a work in progress and that there are many key challenges and issues that are currently faced by local startups and the entities that support them.
She cited the lack of “investible” ideas, angel investors and the full support of the community to produce a mature startup ecosystem.
“It takes time to get there—to become a mature ecosystem but what we can do now is get there slowly. We can’t stop because we will never know where the next Steve Jobs is going to come from,” said Amper.
TechTalks.ph also organizes Startup Weekend and the Geeks On A Beach summit.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 13, 2015.