Dubbed the IBM SmartCamp Kickstart ASEAN, IBM’s program for Filipino entrepreneurs seeks to identify early-stage businesses with ventures aligned with the company’s “Smarter Planet” initiative.
Interested start-up companies and individuals with bright ideas may submit their applications by August 24, with finalists slated to be announced on August 31.
In a statement, IBM said finalists will be “asked to present their business idea in front of a panel of IT experts” during the regional leg of the event in Singapore on September 10.
“The ASEAN winner will receive 12 weeks of mentorship from IBM, as well as the chance to progress to the Asia SmartCamp event in Beijing on September 24,” IBM said, following which the finalists would vie for the IBM Entrepreneur of the Year title at the SmartCamp Global Finals.
During the various legs of the SmartCamp events, companies will have access to support, resources, and mentorship provided by IBM, with technology experts, venture capitalists, and serial entrepreneurs available on tap for mentoring and development.
“Home grown IT start-ups have a particularly challenging time obtaining support from the industry,” said Agnes Africa, country manager for marketing, communications and corporate citizenship & corporate Affairs at IBM Philippines.
“Initiatives such as SmartCamp are needed to provide accessible opportunities to entrepreneurs who lack access to the right resources, support and expertise to further grow the industry and potentially the country’s economy,” she added.
Some start-up participants in previous SmartCamp events in the past two years have reportedly received more than $60 million in venture capital funding.
Nurturing Pinoy start-ups
IBM’s initiative for Filipino technopreneurs is just the latest in a series of incubation and acceleration efforts spearheaded by various groups hoping to fuel the start-up economy in the Philippines.
Early this year, the two biggest telcos launched their respective start-up incubation hubs, namely Smart’s IdeaSpace Foundation and Globe’s KickStart ventures, each pledging P100 million in funding early technopreneurs in the next few years.
A 2011 study suggested that IT start-ups benefit greatly from these incubation hubs, playing a vital role in the maturity of start-up ventures to full-blown business entities. (https://www.interaksyon.com/infotech/it-start-ups-get-boost-from-local-tech-hub-support-study)