It is an exciting time to be in the Philippines– our economy is doing well and the world is recognizing we’re an emerging market that should be noticed.
It helps we’re in the corner of the world that’s been tagged by The Next Web, as an ‘exciting region’ to be in for technopreneurs and tech companies. This might have to do with the increase in mobile and internet usage in the region.
A GfK Asia study noted the Philippines took a lion’s share in smartphone sales increase among the key seven Southeast Asia countries in the region (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and our very own, Philippines). The study estimated there was a jump from 9 percent smartphone sales to a whopping 27 percent a significant difference in the same year when feature phones used to outnumber smartphones.
Smartphone usage also meant an increase in internet usage. Filipinos used to be limited to using internet cafes can now access the internet via their phones. This must be why we rank 7th in the world in terms of internet usage according to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
If there’s one thing people agree about the internet, it is that the internet is a great equalizer (joining death and taxes in the category). Learning is suddenly not just limited to schools with the advent of Coursera and other learning sites like Codeacademy the average Pinoy can access the knowledge the might never have before.
It also means people can build their own companies with only an internet connection, a laptop and a idea. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the business would hold, only that it could start. The real world still exists and in reality there are things like bills and taxes to worry about. In order for an internet startup to succeed it also has to spillover into the real world.
There has to be a support system for startups that would help it pass its infancy and able to stand on its own two feet.
Silicon Valley is the gold standard for all tech startups, with its one hundred and one support system of Angel investors, Venture Capitalists, incubators and accelerators it isn’t any wonder that everyone is trying to replicate its success.
In 2011 bringing Silicon Valley seems something like a dream since The Next Web reported the startup ecosystem ‘bordered on nonexistent’, a desolate description especially for a country that’s been described as filled with raw talent.
Thankfully this was something that is being rectified as Proudcloud’s represent.ph map indicates that there are now a total of 51 startups and a significant number of accelerator and incubators cropped up last year like Launchgarage, Kickstart Ventures, Ideaspace have formed to support developers turn into tech rockstars.
Earl Valencia, President of Ideaspace, noted that the Philippines is in a ‘tornado state’ and the best way to keep the startup momentum going is to make the Philippines into the next Silicon Valley but not exactly copying the famous San Francisco Bay Area region but more of the open mindset and support for innovation and startups.
It helps that these programs are expanding beyond Manila and reaching out to developer communities in Cebu, Bacolod and Davao since Jay Fajardo, CEO of Proudcloud had once cautioned: “Fragmented communities in the other parts of the Philippines have to be reached and empowered so they can create their own local momentum.”
The startup economy is slowly but surely taking shape, getting built with a support system that can help startups past its infancy and with Southeast Asia in an upswing things are moving quickly, with the momentum and good grace the Philippines might be reach its goal and become the next tech hub of the region.