Manila among world’s top emerging startup ecosystems

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Bustling Manila City at night Roxas Boulevard with the Philippine flag stands tall in front of Rizal Monument
Photo file/THEPHILBIZNEWS

By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

Proving once again the global competitiveness in innovation and technology, the Philippine startup ecosystem is once again featured in the annual Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) by Startup Genome. In its inaugural ranking of the world’s top 100 emerging ecosystems, Manila is ranked 36th globally.

The GSER 2020 puts the value of Manila’s startup ecosystem at USD1.6 billion, with total early-stage funding of USD102 million over the last two and a half years. It is among the startup ecosystems in its activation phase, together with Busan in Korea, Calgary in Canada, Frankfurt in Germany, and Taipei in Taiwan.

In the statement sent to THEPHILBIZNEWS, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said, “The DTI is committed to sustaining the growth of our thriving startup ecosystem in Manila and the whole country during this pandemic and beyond. We continue to implement enabling policies and strategic support programs for enterprises, particularly as we aggressively promote the digitalization of business operations and the digital transformation of our MSMEs and large enterprises.”

Among Manila’s strengths as a top emerging ecosystem are its market reach (or the early-stage startup access to customers allowing them to scale and go global), as well as talent and experience (or the access to talent by early-stage startups). These place Manila among the top 20 ecosystems for Bang for Buck and among the top 30 ecosystems for Affordable Talent.

The GSER 2020 identifies fintech and e-commerce as Manila’s ecosystem sub-sector strengths. Fintech companies account for almost 15% of Manila’s startups, with a transaction value reaching approximately USD10 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow by 24% in 2020, while taking into account the expected impact of COVID-19. On the other hand, the e-commerce industry is growing at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 26.4%, which is one of the fastest rates in Southeast Asia.

“The proliferation of fintech and e-commerce startups in the country is a testament to the abundance of opportunities in the Philippine market. By mutually reinforcing one another, these two sectors are enabling the growth of traditional sellers and buyers despite today’s trying times. Our young, creative, and resourceful pool of talent will keep our ecosystem vibrant and competitive in the years ahead,” said Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation Rafaelita Aldaba.

In partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) as the lead implementing agencies of the Innovative Startup Act, the DTI will facilitate more collaboration among members of the startup community, support the scaling up of startup enterprises, and foster their global expansion.

“We strongly believe that Filipino startups can compete globally, especially with the right collaborators. We are constantly looking out for the chances to showcase the solutions and services they can offer to meet market demands and address social needs. We look forward to seeing our startups grabbing the attention of more mentors and investors as we promote them in the world market,” said Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) Director Senen Perlada.

The GSER is the world’s most comprehensive and widely-read research on startups with 250 ecosystems studied. The GSER 2020 is published by Startup Genome – a world-leading policy advisory and research organization for governments and public-private partnerships committed to accelerating the success of their startup ecosystem – in cooperation with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN). The DTI is a member of the GSER Global Network.

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