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UP Diliman's Innovation Hub Crowned Grand Champion of First Philippine Startup Incubator Awards

UPSCALE Innovation Hub is affiliated with the University of the Philippines - Diliman.
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UPSCALE Innovation Hub from the University of the Philippines – Diliman was named grand champion of the first-ever PH Startup Incubator Awards, held by QBO Innovation Hub and the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

The two organizations judged the 12 participating technological business incubators (TBI) in DOST and QBO’s TBI 4.0 program, which aims to develop word-class incubators that help grow and scale Filipino tech startups. TBIs are at the “forefront of innovation,” according to Russel M. Pili, DOST chief of research information and technology transfer division. As such, the program aims to develop the incubators that in turn develop startups, making for a healthier and more efficient Filipino startup system.

There are roughly 500 to 1,000 tech startups in the Philippines, according to QBO Innovation Hub executive director Katrina Rausa Chan, and the framework is in place to offer these startups a support system via incubators.

”Community is our advantage as an ecosystem and we intend on working with the TBIs to leverage that and build a globally competitive startup ecosystem,” said Chan.

The 12 TBIs in the programs hail from the country’s leading universities representing innovation that goes far beyond the borders of Manila. These are: Asian Institute of Management – AIM-Dado Banatao Incubator, Batangas State University - Center for Technopreneurship & Innovation, Caraga State University – Navigatu, De La Salle University - Animo Labs, Mindanao State University Iligan Institute of Technology – iDEYA, Palawan State University - Palawan International TBI, QBO Innovation Hub, University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines - CDO B.I.T.E.S, University of the Philippines Cebu - Cebu inIT, University of the Philippines Diliman - UPSCALE Innovation Hub, University of the Philippines Los Baños - Sibol Labs, and Western Visayas State University - Green TBI.

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Here are the winning incubators of this year’s awards:

  • Best Incubator Infrastructure - Center for Technopreneurship and Innovation (CTI) - Batangas State University
  • Best Incubator Community Program - SIBOL Labs - University of the Philippines-Los Baños
  • Best Incubator Startup Program - AIM-Dado Banatao Incubator - Asian Institute of Management
  • Best Incubator Governance & Operations - UPSCALE Innovation Hub - University of the Philippines-Diliman
  • Best Incubator Growth & Sustainability - Animo Labs - De La Salle University
  • Extra Mile Incubator - Animo Labs - De La Salle University
  • Rising Star Incubator - iDEYA- MSU Iligan Institute of Technology
  • People's Choice for Best Incubator Team - iDEYA - MSU Iligan Institute of Technology
  • Grand Champion - UPSCALE Innovation Hub - University of the Philippines-Diliman

The first five winners will receive a cash prize of P50,000, while the next four will receive P80,000 each. The grand champion, UP’s Innovation Hub, won P100,000.

“When our TBI was established, the goal was to support spinoff companies resulting from innovations generated by the Engineering R&D for Technology consortium, which was composed of eight Philippine universities with graduate programs in engineering,” said the grand champion winners, UPSCALE Innovation Hub.

“This continues to be part of our core mission and to date, we have helped launch 9 spinoff companies with an additional 6 spinoff companies in the pipeline, on top of the other ventures that we have helped launch.”

Successful incubators lead to a thriving startup ecosystem, and as such, it’s only right that these growth facilitators are also given the recognition they deserve.

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“The TBI 4.0 program has upgraded the entire Philippine startup ecosystem through your incubators. Our hope is that the program will help spread entrepreneurship all over the country,” said QBO Innovation Hub and IdeaSpace President Rene “Butch” Meily.

The DOST has invested over P485 million in Filipino incubators and startups since 2016, and since then the startup ecosystem has secure over P535 million in private investments while also earning P533 in accumulated revenues. The Metro Manila startup ecosystem alone is valued at roughly $1.6 billion (P77 billion), and the valuation of the national startup ecosystem is only expected to increase as more Filipino tech startups push the limits of innovation.

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Anri Ichimura
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