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Philippines Adding Innovation to its Startup Ecosystem

August 10, 2018

In the Philippines, universities are placing a bigger emphasis on teaching entrepreneurship and innovation to students. The goal is to help the Philippines better compete in a global marketplace.

It is also the reason why Ateneo de Davao University in Davao City, Philippines hosted the GIST Masterclass Series, “Building You Campus Innovation Ecosystem.”

The masterclass series in Davao focused on the Lean Startup Method – which can be used by ecosystem stakeholders, such as Davao University, to build and support an innovative startup ecosystem.

According to Davao University president Joel E. Tabora, teaching professors and ecosystem supporters how to foster innovation will help Filipino entrepreneurs in the long-run think of new ways to use science and technology in their startups.

The hope, Tabora said, is that these new ideas will stand out globally, not just in the Philippines.

“We are very interested in local innovation, not only so that our students can generate wealth, and compete well and successfully in local and global markets, but so they themselves might also be innovative in the global market,” said Tabora.

Already a country with a growing entrepreneurial spirit, the Philippines is now positioning itself as a hub for innovation as well. It’s something many of the entrepreneurs who attended the masterclass said they want to see happen in the coming years.

“If we teach more academics to teach entrepreneurship, to give these tools to students, then that will drive better innovation ecosystems for our country,” said one founder, who did not provide his name.

Along with the training, the masterclass included a roundtable session so that participants could begin planning how they will build out their ecosystems in a way that encourages founders to be innovative.

Finally, the masterclass included a student pitch session – which helped young entrepreneurs learn more about their pitch, their minimum viable product and how to conduct customer discovery to improve their product.

This GIST Masterclass Series was hosted by the U.S. Department of State and in-country partner, Ateneo de Davao University in Davao City. A top university in the Philippines, AdDU offers degrees in arts and science, business and governance, engineering and architecture, education, and nursing.

Eli Velasquez, Director of Venture Development at VentureWell, lead the masterclass. Velasquez has a background that includes developing and launching early stage innovation programs. He worked closely with in-country stakeholders to do just that in the Philippines.