DO you have what it takes to solve a national, or even an international, problem?

If yes and you desire to be an entrepreneur and have identified the pain point you want to create a solution for, then this could be your time to shine.

All you have to do, in coordination with your school, is form a team and join the 5th Philippine Startup Challenge (PSC5).

On Friday, August 24, the Department of Science and Technology (DICT) launched the fifth iteration of the event promoting technology entrepreneurship among the youth.

Led by Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim, head of the DICT’s Regional Operations, Countryside and ICT Industry Development,  stalwarts of the country’s startup community attended the launch at the QBO Innovation Hub, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) International Building, Makati City.

Among them were Gian De La Rama, co-founder/CEO of InnoVantage, Inc.; Jonathan De Luzurriaga, president, Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA); Arup Maity, founder/president/CEO of BlastAsia, Inc.; and Tina Amper, foremost startup leader and brains behind the now-dormant Geeks on a Beach (GOAB); Katrina R. Chan, executive director of QBO Innovation Hub; Emmy Lou V. Delfin, officer-in-charge, division chief, ICT Industry Development Bureau of DICT; Wellington Liu Tao, head, Public Affairs and Communications of Huawei; Karrie Escueta-Buenafe, of Huawei Corporate Communications; other DICT staff, and guests.

DICT PSC 5

PSIA president Jonathan De Luzurriaga (2nd, right), gives his learned opinion on how a startup can succeed in a very competitive environment. With him are Arup Maity (right), Blast Asia founder/president/CEO; Wellington Liu Tao (2nd, left), head of Huawei Public Affairs and Communications; and Annie Marisse Insong, whose Centsilyo startup won the 4th Philippine Startup Challenge (PSC4) of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). They joined the DICT in the launch of the PSC5 in Makati City. (EKU)

In the mix of participants included Annie Marisse Insong, part of the three-girl team of Centsilyo, an anti-short changing app that won the PSC4 on April 4 this year.

Liu Tao of Huawei, one of the supporters of the PSC, said at the event that the winner of PSC5, like the other previous winners such as Centsilyo, will receive the Huawei   Philippines Special Award.

The Huawei official said the award includes an invitation to join the Seeds for the Future Program in October for a two-week immersion in startup hubs in Beijing and Shenzhen in China.

Also supporting the PSC are the PSIA, IdeaSpace Foundation, Philippine Society of IT Educators (PSITE), and QBO Innovation Hub.

The DICT has expanded the competition for a more inclusive search.

“We are excited for this new edition of the Philippine Startup Challenge because it will be more inclusive by giving each of the DICT’s eight clusters the opportunity to field three teams from colleges and universities in their respective areas of the competition and compete in the finals,” Ibrahim said.

Participants will have a lot of help from the DICT.

In the run up to the PSC5 competition, DICT will be conducting a series of boot camps nationwide aimed at empowering college and university professors to become coaches of the student teams.

Covered in the boot camp includes topics on the technical and business aspects of building a startup.

Moreover, the DICT said that professors from interested state and private universities are required to attend the Mentors’ Boot Camp to be held in their respective cluster so their startup team can gain eligibility to join the contest.

Of the teams in the boot camps, 24 will be selected for the semifinal stage with team members attending one-on-one coaching workshops.

Then the top 10 teams will continue to compete in the national finals to be held in Metro Manila.

The PSC falls under the DICT’s seedPH Digital Startup Development Program aimed to boost the Philippine Startup Ecosystem for a more inclusive economic potential arising from digital entrepreneurship.

More information is available from DICT Provincial Offices and on Facebook (Philippine Startup Challenge). (EKU)