DICT Welcomes Startup Cohort Graduates under its Pilot Acceleration Project in Bicol

Published: March 8, 2023

Servisit, Gina, Andale, Orange Country – BSF Biopods, Dibit, and RoomPal successfully graduated under the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)’s Startup-Tailored Empowerment and People-focused Upskilling Project or STEP UP in Naga City, Bicol on March 4, 2023. 

The six startups completed a six-month startup accelerator project under the partnership of the DICT and Bicol Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Center for Accelerating Local Livelihood (BEECALL) Technology Business Incubator (TBI). STEP UP Bicol was also supported by local project enablers such as the Naga City Local Government Unit, ICT@Bicol, Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce, and the Department of Trade and Industry Provincial Office, which comprised the panel for these startups’ Minimum Viable Product pitching.

The goals of STEP UP align with the vision of the DICT Undersecretary for ICT Industry Development Jocelle Batapa-Sigue as she highlights the importance of providing continuous support to local startup players. “The DICT fully embraces and promotes the importance of developing and continuously strengthening the Philippine Startup Ecosystem leveraging on the convergence of digital technologies, innovation, and entrepreneurial mindset of Filipinos.” 

STEP UP operates under the DICT Undersecretary for ICT Industry Development Jocelle Batapa-Sigue’s visions for ICT industry development in the countryside. This acceleration project is one of the various interventions that mirror the Undersecretary’s goals of empowering ICT sectors by providing more employment opportunities, increasing business tractions, and developing robust communities all over the country. 

DICT ICT Industry Development Bureau (IIDB) Director Emmy Lou Delfin laid out further interventions for the graduates. “The Department’s support does not stop here. As STEP UP Graduates, we encourage you to register and be issued a unique Startup ID Number from the Startup Philippines Website (SPW),” she added.

SPW aims to enable more opportunities for Filipino Startups in the future. Aside from other learning avenues, the graduates will also be prioritized for grant-writing and workshop sessions upon launching the DICT Grant Fund.

Meanwhile, Naga City Investment Board Executive Director Reuel M. Oliver expressed the city’s support for the startup ecosystem as he congratulated the graduates. “We, at the Naga City LGU, recognize that just your commitment to this project is a milestone enough for your startups.”

One of the local legislative initiatives in the region is the establishment of the Naga Startup Development Council (SDC). Naga SDC is one of the most active ecosystem enablers in the Bicol Region that empowers technopreneurship and ICT innovation, making opportunities more available and accessible to startups in the area.

“STEP UP Bicol, through BEECALL TBI, taught me how to be impact-driven and to always act with grit,” said Owen Rosco of Servisit who shared his experience with the project, emphasizing how it helped their startup to mature through mentors and coaches. BEECALL TBI Executive Director Joselito Ocol reciprocated his gratitude to the cohort as he discussed the impacts of the project. 

In closing, DICT OIC Regional Director Carmela Valencia encouraged the graduates to keep their passions burning and grab more avenues for their startups to grow. She thanked the partners for their commitment to empowering the budding Bicol Startup Ecosystem. 

Also present at the event were Naga College Foundation President Mario Villanueva, Online Marketing Mentor Bryden Elizan, DTI Camarines Sur Provincial Director Jay Percival Ablan, and Pitching Panel Members DTI Camarines Sur Provincial ICT Coordinator Madel Alacar and ICT Council Bicol-Metro Naga Inc. President Efren Daniel De Leon.