The PH Startup Incubator Awards is a program hosted by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and QBO Innovation Hub to recognize and reward top-performing Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) that have demonstrated outstanding capabilities and produced impactful programs and startups during the TBI 4.0 Program. The awarding ceremony was held via Zoom and Facebook Live on April 23, 2021.
The TBI 4.0 program, funded by the DOST-PCIEERD and led by QBO Innovation Hub, aims to develop world-class TBIs and incubator managers and increase the number of quality tech startups in the Philippines. The program, which was initiated in 2019, also elevated the capacity and services of the 12 DOST-supported TBIs from all over the country, many of which were affiliated with local universities. These 12 TBIs and their partner universities consist of:
- 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
- Western Visayas State University – Green TBI
The TBI 4.0 program encompassed four main strategies, namely: Co-incubation, Internationalization, Co-development of Programs, and Leveling Up. All these strategies are meant to further equip incubators with capabilities to develop Filipino tech startups.
DOST and QBO Innovation Hub introduced the PH Startup Incubator Awards to recognize and showcase the country’s TBIs and their accomplishments throughout the TBI 4.0 program as they continue to support startup businesses through their high-quality, innovative training and service offerings. The event also marks the two-year celebration and culmination of the TBI 4.0 Program and the journey of the 12 Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) who have participated.
The winners of the awards were announced on the Zoom and Facebook live platform on the 23rd of April 2021. Each TBI was measured by its impact on each of the respective categories. The list of categories and winners are:
- 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
Winners from the Operational Excellence category awards each received a cash prize of PHP 50,000 while the more prestigious awards, including the Extra Mile Incubator, Rising Star Incubator, and the People’s Choice Incubator, each received a cash prize of PHP 80,000, as well as PHP 100,000 for the grand champion — UPSCALE Innovation Hub.
“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,” shared by 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.”
“During a time when it can sometimes be hard to find hope and inspiration, the first-ever Philippine Startup Incubator Awards gives us that and more,” said QBO Innovation Hub and IdeaSpace President Rene “Butch” Meily. “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.”
QBO Innovation Hub Executive Director Katrina Rausa Chan also expressed her gratitude to the 12 participating TBIs who have continued to empower startups amid such unprecedented times. “This past year was very challenging, it threw a curveball in this project just as we were getting started. I would like to congratulate all of you. In some ways, we’ve made it but in another sense, we’re just getting started. The work will keep going, and the work that we do is important.”
“As the local business landscape continues to become more digital, startups along with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) must prioritize digitization to make processes easier for their own operations and their customers,” shared Russel M. Pili, DOST Chief of Research Information and Technology Transfer Division. “With the PH Startup Incubator Awards, we hope to inspire more businesses to make that shift as we recognize and honor the TBIs that are at the forefront of innovation.”
With the TBI 4.0 Program and the PH Startup Incubator Awards recognizing the importance of startups in the Philippines, the country is on the right path towards innovation aimed at uplifting the lives of millions of Filipinos. Moreover, the TBI 4.0 Program will continue to provide a deeper engagement with the TBIs and further increase the impact of the program through collaboration and enriching experiences. ”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.” Chan further added.