A consortium led by telecommunications, media, transport and investment companies in the Philippines is running a program in support of local technology startups. Through the IdeaSpace Foundation, Inc., the group has launched a private-led incubation program in the country that searches for top technology entrepreneurship ideas in the country through a contest that runs until January 2013.
“[W]hy can’t the next Instagram or Google be Filipino?” asked Philippine Long Distance Company (PLDT) chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan in a keynote speech at the 6th Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines. He stressed that this innovation void has “defined precisely the rationale behind IdeaSpace.”
IdeaSpace is inviting aspiring technology entrepreneurs to submit their pitches until 7th January, 2013. Twenty finalists will be announced by February 28, 2013, and will vie for a winning spot through the Pitch Weekend on March 30 to 31, 2013.
Ten winners will be announced in April 2, 2013 and will undergo incubation for six months starting May 1st.
IdeaSpace will initially award eligible startups up to PhP 500,000 (US$ 11,888) in seed fund to each winner. The foundation can then award another round of financing of up to PhP 2 million (US$ 47,551) during or after the six-month incubation period.
Incubated startups will also receive mentoring from experienced industry executives, as well as training from the First Pacific Leadership Academy. Successful startups are also expected to benefit from industry link-ups and partnerships.
Aside from seed funding, participants also get access to resources, including legal assistance, housing provision (for participants from outside Metro Manila), free office space and a clear partner-route to markets serviced by companies in the group. In exchange, IdeaSpace gets 20 percent equity stake in supported startups. Returns will be used for future startup support.
IdeaSpace targets tech startups in various fields, including utilities (power and water), toll roads and transportation, healthcare, mining, telecoms, media and food. The foundation also supports startups that focus on solutions for other industries that have significant global potential or developmental impact.
The foundation launched in March 2012, and has successfully held startup bootcamps in several universities around the Philippines. The launch of the national competition, however, aims to turn ideas into commercially viable solutions.
“We’re excited to see what kind of game changing ideas we will get from this competition. We have been going the rounds all over the country through our bootcamps and there are so many promising tech ideas and entrepreneurs around. It’s time to help make these ideas into commercial realities,” said IdeaSpace president Earl Martin S. Valencia.
The non-profit foundation has a total financing of PhP 500 billion (US$ 11.89 million) from partner corporations, including First Pacific, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, MPIC Hospitals Group, PLDT, Meralco, Smart Communications, Digitel, Sun Cellular, SPI Global, ePLDT, Indofood, Philex Mining, Maynilad, MediaQuest and TV5.
Head on to the IdeaSpace program mechanics for details.