Makati City is gearing up to become the Silicon Valley of the Philippines by energizing and providing the needed support for start-ups. This is in response to Metro Manila’s low ranking in the latest Global Startup Ecosystem Index (GSEI) highlighting that start-up founders need business-related education for sustainability and growth. Partnering with the RONIN Group of Companies and Digital Pilipinas, Makati’s local government launched the Resiliency Innovation Sustainability and Entrepreneurship (RISE) Challenge, an incubator program offering cash grants 12-week entrepreneurship training, and a chance to pitch to qualified investors.
Welcoming this initiative is Mayor Mar-Len Abigail “Abby” S. Binay, whose progressive public-private partnership (PPP)-led initiatives on digital transformation have prepared Makati to model an ideal startup ecosystem. Her integration of modern technology into the systems and operations of the city government promotes transparency, makes public services more efficient, and enhances its overall competitiveness; examples are the Makatizen Card, Makatizen App, and Makati Public Wi-Fi System. Her vision for “the Philippines to rank higher in the startup international scene” aligns with her new partners’.
Since its launch in 2018, RONIN has been helping startups succeed by providing them with financial training as well as the necessary tools to track and use their data efficiently to their advantage. Yani de Guzman, RONIN CEO and Co-founder, elaborates on their support for the RISE Challenge: “Our deep involvement in this campaign is grounded on the strong conviction that Filipino startups can be at par with most unicorns in Asia. Winning the Challenge does not end in simply taking the money home. The training opportunities will equip the winners to succeed as entrepreneurs.”
Amor Maclang, Convenor of Digital Pilipinas, the largest private sector-led movement to tech up the country, agrees, “Digital Pilipinas is a platform that supports the rapid growth of the Philippine startup ecosystem. A venture capital study of the Philippines found that startups raised over $858 million in fresh funding at the height of the pandemic last year—nearly the same amount raised in the previous three years combined. Without a doubt, the Philippines is catching up with its ASEAN neighbors and on its way to becoming a startup hub.”
The RISE Challenge will launch on February 24, 2022 and the call for application will run until the 25th of March. The finalist announcement will take place on March 31, and the qualifying event on April 8. This program will give contestants the opportunity to learn about Finance, Legal, Marketing, Organization-Building, and Effective Pitching, directly from the most qualified educators and experienced industry practitioners. The winners will also receive the following prizes: a Php500,000 equity-free grant; 12 weeks of entrepreneurship training, and guided pitching to sought-after investors.
De Guzman adds, “This program is the first in the Philippines. We are very excited for this partnership to produce bold entrepreneurs who will lead thriving startups in the country – producing more jobs and offering products and services that empower Filipinos to have better lives.”
RONIN is deeply involved and passionate about the development of the startup community. The company joined the screening committee of Manila Angel Investors as well as the startup programs of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), StartUp Village, and Draper House. The organization is also a consultant to Hello PH, a travel and tourism company focused on ecologically responsible diving for foreigners; and Project Fort, a medical data analysis firm, among others.
Mayor Binay encourages startup owners to let their businesses thrive in Makati with its innovations that have been recognized by national and international bodies advocating sustainable, green, and inclusive development.
She says, “I would like to invite all creative Filipinos to bring your businesses to Makati. Here, we provide a competitive environment, fantastic co-working spaces, tax breaks, business registration assistance, and a reliable mentoring program. Makati will even take it further by giving you an equity-free grant of PHP500,000. Finally, we will give you an opportunity to fund your businesses by presenting you to qualified investors at the end of the program. Join us in the RISE Challenge.”
To be part of the growing community of startup trailblazers, click on https://www.rise-program.com/be-a-participant for more details.