The Philippines Startups are emerging alongside the robust of IT-BPM sector in Cebu. These startups are notably disrupting existing business processes and models, mainly buoyed by the unrivaled entrepreneurial spirit of the Cebuanos, coupled with their resiliency. establishes a strong presence in the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector, attributable to the highly- skilled labor force the country has to offer. Initially, the Philippines is known for voice-based services, as Filipinos take pride on language proficiency, speech articulation, and confidence. However, thru time and skills development, Filipinos have strived to excel in the field of non-voice and complex services. The Department of Trade and Industry reports a growing number of businesses providing healthcare information management, human resources management, business intelligence, and offshore financial consulting in the Philippines.

Startups in Cebu, although scattered, are well-supported by an ecosystem of various organizations including, universities, support organizations, including the Cebu Innovation Council, among others, Cebu City Government, and other government agencies, like DOST, DICT, and DTI. The aforementioned are all collectively making a conducive business environment for startups to exchange ideas with one another and to facilitate funding opportunities. In 2019, the Cebu Innovation Council, together with the Cebu City Department of Manpower Development and Placement, has established the Cebu Innovation Hub, a space designed and dedicated for startups, serving as coworking space and as an incubation center. To date, coworking spaces and incubation hubs can be seen across Metro Cebu, and startups needing to fabricate their products can utilize the facilities of DTI. To access funding opportunities, startups can tap Startup Grant Fund at the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development as well as the Philippine Startup Venture Fund Program among others.

Furthermore, the improving telecommunications network in Cebu, as well as the proximity of Cebu to other markets due to its network of efficient infrastructure, are all vital in facilitating seamless connectivity essential for the thriving environment for Cebuano startups. As of recent times, startups in Cebu are leveraging on the opportunities of providing value-added services to MSMEs to digitalize their business processes. Aside from accelerated digitalization, startups in Cebu can also take advantage of the rising opportunities brought about by the Cebu City’s initiative to propel digital innovation in its services.

In the long run, the private sector, together with the academe, are working together to cultivate a set of skilled human talent pool to further strengthen the sector. Ultimately, the startup ecosystem and its stakeholders will continue to actively collaborate and pursue sustainable growth.

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