DTI program supports W. Visayas startups

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Western Visayas (Region 6) is calling on local technology startups to pitch their innovative ideas to improve health, poverty alleviation, education, and environment protection.

DTI assistant regional director Ermelinda P. Pollentes, in an interview Friday, said the pitching competition is a component of their Moonshot TNK: Sustaining MSMEs through Trabaho, Negosyo, and Konsyumer (TNK) Innovative Solutions in support of the Online Slingshot Region 6 (OSR) 2021.

“Slingshot is the first government-initiated platform in the national level to support startups and innovation entrepreneurs, which we adopted for Region 6 and launched online last year,” she said.

The goal of the competition, she said, is for Western Visayas to be recognized as the next regional inclusive innovation center and the next Information Technology – Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry hub in the country.

She added that the region should seize the opportunity to showcase its available talents, especially that a lot of locators are interested to invest outside of the National Capital Region (NCR) due to the health pandemic.

DTI is the lead agency in the implementation of Republic Act No. 11337 or the Innovative Startup Act that aims to strengthen, promote and develop an innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country.

“We really have also to provide them the assistance they need, especially because we are now in the Fourth Industrial Revolution where digitalization is the name of the game,” she added.

Aside from cash prizes or gift certificates that will be given by DTI and sponsors, Pollentes said they will be requesting the QBO Innovation Hub to provide the winners with training while being housed in the region’s local incubation centers.

QBO Innovation Hub is the first public-private partnership platform for Filipino startups and which recently partnered with Microsoft to launch a nationwide program designed to accelerate the growth of selected startups developing enterprise solutions.

Those qualified to join are startups that are on the minimum viable product stage or prototyping/pilot stage. If it is already existing, then it has to be less than two years old.

It is open to individuals or groups with two to four members 18 years old and above and must be Filipino citizens.

The deadline for the submission is on September 1.

The entries will undergo three layers of screening starting with the paper screening by the DTI, then regional government agencies and private sector representatives and the final screening will be done by the Moonshot TNK selection committee.

Those interested may apply at moonshot@dti.gov.ph or moonshotr6@gmail.com. (PNA)