Makati City has been chosen as the pilot city for the Innovative Cities initiative, a collaboration of the public and private sectors and the academe that aims to boost the country’s innovation and technology quotient.
Digital Pilipinas has partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry-Board of Investments (DTI-BOI) and Resiliency Innovation Sustainability & Entrepreneurship (RISE) Certification Program for this initiative.
Innovative Cities targets to tech up one city at a time by linking the local government units, the academe, and the private sector in creating multiple centers of excellence.
“The only way we can collectively increase the country’s technology and innovation quotient is if we localize the response to innovation and technology,” said Amor Maclang, Digital Pilipinas and World Fintech Festival Convenor. Maclang is also the Fintech Philippines Association Executive Director and Trustee, and GeiserMaclang co-founder.
“Together with our partners, we look forward to creating regionally relevant solutions for everyone; and, at the city and provincial level that can then plug into a more extensive national and international ecosystem,” she continued.
“Technology will not wait for anyone, and the Philippines has left the station, and we need to keep track,” Maclang added to emphasize the urgency in adopting technology and innovation.
Yani de Guzman, CEO and co-founder of investment holding company RONIN, said the program was created to gather creative minds and provide them financial access through funding and mentoring.
“What we hope to do is to provide [startups] the P500,000 financial aid when they reach certain milestones to ensure that the grant is helping them create a sustainable business, develop their structures, and form a solid legal foundation for their businesses. We will show and give them an opportunity to pitch [their ideas] in front of qualified investors.”
DTI-BOI Usec. Fita Aldaba underscored the critical role of technology in building a city or a nation, adding that the government views emerging technologies “as drivers to achieve sustainable development.”
She went on to say, “We can create new products and solutions in smart building, digital health, and vehicle tech. The acceleration of digital innovation paved the way for the digital economy in the Philippines, with revenues projected to reach $25B by 2025.”
Maclang is looking at the 31 cities identified by the Digital Cities Program of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, particularly for information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) companies outside of Metro Manila.
Nine of them have successfully completed their five-year roadmaps: Balanga, Batangas, General Santos, Iligan, Legazpi, Puerto Princesa, Taytay Rizal, Tuguegarao, and Zamboanga.
The RISE Challenge, while establishing its base in Makati City, is open to entrepreneurs all over the Philippines.