When job doors seem to close in your face due to a number of reasons that may be connected to age, educational background and training, race, language, then it’s time to create your own job. Be your own boss. No one should feel inferior because one looks or acts different from the rest, or may have a physical handicap. Several successful business owners began as financially-challenged dropouts, middle aged single parents, and retired insurance salesmen like Bill Gates, JK Rowling, and Col. Sanders. Welcome to the exciting world of starting a business.
If you see a problem that needs to be solved or a void that needs to be filled, then find that solution and offer it to the market. That’s how it starts. Then research, work late through the night, update, observe the market, update again, look for investors, then set up. More or less.
Luckily opportunities for startups are popping up such as the IdeaSpace Foundation (IdeaSpace) , a leading early-stage technology incubator and accelerator. IdeaSpace is once again opening its National Startup Competition to accept innovative technology startup ideas for 2017.
Business start up finalists of 2016 include:
- Cleaning Lady– a social enterprise that provides professional, caring, and warm cleaning service to condo-dwellers.
- CROPITAL– an online crowdfunding platform that enables anyone to connect to farmers who need financing.
- E.A.R.S– by Innovable Inc. is a wearable safety device for the deaf and hard of hearing, alerting them of any oncoming threat as well as alerting their loved ones in case of emergency.
- Investagrams -is a website and app that provide education, analytic tools, and information—everything you need in the stock market from start to profit.
- InvestEd– makes higher education possible for deserving students through a crowdlending platform that connects them with lenders.
- Tarkie– a workforce management and productivity solution that helps companies improve the performance of their field employees.
- Taxumo– an end-to-end online tax assistance platform for self-employed individuals and professionals that automates tax computation, submission, and payment.
Now on its fifth year, the 2017 IdeaSpace National Startup Competition will be casting a wider net as it begins to accept 15 startups into the final acceleration process, instead of the usual 10 finalists that make it to the last stage in the last couple of years.
“We’ve seen very inspiring stories of startup founders joining IdeaSpace over the years, from husband-and-wife tandems to students looking to make their own mark in the world,” said Diane Eustaquio, Executive Director at IdeaSpace. “This year, we’re looking to extend our support to more startup founders with burning passion to start up their own business and help the country progress with the help of technology and innovation.”
All 15 startups that will make it to the finals next year will still receive P500,000 of equity-free funding, which means IdeaSpace will not have a stake in their early-stage startups.
On top of this, they will also receive support for housing, transportation, incorporation, office space, communication, software, trainings and classes, as well as mentoring from executives of companies under First Pacific, the total value of which amounts to more than P1 million.
Interested individuals or groups may submit their unique startup ideas by logging on to apply.ideaspacefoundation.org. Deadline for submission of startup ideas is on January 12, 2017.
Keeping the fire burning
The expansion of the number of startups that will be taken in next year is part of IdeaSpace’s efforts to expand support for the local startup ecosystem, which has seen robust growth over the past four years.
Since launching in 2012, IdeaSpace has incubated and funded a total of 52 startups, some of which have grown and evolved into full-fledged business enterprises, including startups such as PinoyTravel and TimeFree Innovations.
Chino Atilano, co-founder of virtual queuing solutions company TimeFree Innovations: “IdeaSpace helped us a lot in terms of learning how to run a business. We didn’t have any formal education or formal background in business and that way it was very very tough for us to transition from a technical person to one who could understand business”
Full ecosystem support
Aside from the incubation and acceleration program, IdeaSpace has also been a fervent supporter of startup community events in the country and overseas, the likes of the annual Geeks on a Beach conference, the Slingshot MNL program of the Department of Trade and Industry and the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival.
“Likewise, IdeaSpace, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, this year launched the QBO Innovation Hub, which aims to be a one-stop-shop for established startup founders to help them further grow their businesses and contribute even more to the emerging digital economy,” added Butch Meily, the newly appointed President of IdeaSpace.
And to further bring the proposition of innovation into the corporate space, IdeaSpace likewise launched the Intrapreneur Accelerator Program (IAP) this year, which allowed internal product development teams from companies in the First Pacific group to pitch their ideas and undergo the rigors of incubation and acceleration under IdeaSpace.
“We’ve realized over the years that startups need as much support as they can get in every step of the process, from bringing their ideas to life to launching them into the market, and even to making their startups grow further. This is why IdeaSpace is extending its capacity into a full ecosystem support so that most of these startup businesses are guided every step of the way,” Eustaquio added.
A non-profit foundation, IdeaSpace is supported by the following companies: First Pacific, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), MPIC hospital group, PLDT, Meralco, Smart Communications, Maynilad, Voyager Innovations, and PayMaya Philippines.
For more information, visit www.ideaspacefoundation.org.