DICT awards country’s best technology startups

DICT awards country’s best technology startups

By Perla Lena

INNOVATIONS. Team RTK Incorporated defends their innovation dubbed  ‘ReTrack’, a system designed for jeepney commuters during the national competition of Philippine Startup Challenge 5 held at the Grand Xing Hotel, Iloilo City on Friday (April 5, 2019). The innovation ranked third and was awarded a grant of PHP200,000 to help them in the development of thier product prototype. (Photo by Perla Lena)

ILOILO CITY — A technology startup that offers a web-based and mobile platform designed for “safe, secured, and convenient rental transactions between renters and item owners” emerged as winner during the Philippine Startup Challenge 5 (PSC5) organized by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Friday. 

Hosted by Iloilo City, 15 teams from various colleges and universities all over the country defended their innovation in the final round held at the Grand Xing hotel here.

DICT Undersecretary Monchito B. Ibrahim, in an interview, said the students went through a very rigorous process. 

DICT received 242 entries but only 30 made it as semifinalists.  The selection committee from technology and business startups handpicked 15 promising ideas for the national competition.

“We’re very, very glad to see all the ideas that they have come up with and that’s actually making me believe that the future of the Philippines is in good hands,” he said.

The winning innovation was presented by Team Victorem from the Saint Louis University in Baguio City and was entitled Qrent.  As a rental platform, it will serve as a channel for people wanting to post an item for rent or those looking for things to rent.

Qrent will earn by having a five to 10 percent commission for every transaction.

The second place was the Team RentalBee of the Far Eastern University that proposed an online marketplace to help students find safe and quality accommodation near their school; third placer was Team RTK Inc from Western Mindanao State University for their system that aims to ease lives of jeepney commuters; fourth placer was Mathjestic Quest from Davao Central College for its mobile application solution that can increase the motivation of students while learning mathematics in a very fun way, and fifth placer was the Team Technovators from the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines for its off-grid solution for charging smartphones, laptops and other portable devices.

Emmy Lou V. Delfin, Director of the ICT Industry Development Bureau (IIDB), in an interview, said the startup challenge aimed to produce entrepreneurs using ICT. 

It was in response to the challenge when children upon graduation would end up as employees and not as employers.

“They will have to use their creative ideas. We want Filipino startups globally,” she stated, adding that to change the mindset of Filipinos, then the initiative would start while they are still students.

Ibrahim, the brain of the project envisioned to make the Philippines the “innovation economy”.

Meantime, he said that it will be the first time that the government is giving out financial grants to the top five winners.

Each team will receive PHP200,000 from the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) to help them in the product prototype development.

The national winner will become part of Huawei’s Seeds of the Future Program, a two-week college undergraduate study program in China to equip them with ICT-based skills and knowledge. They will also automatically qualify for the 2019 IdeaSpaceBootcamp.

“One of the things that it brings to table is there going to get a lot of media mileage. Hopefully there are people out there who find their invention worth investing in and put money in so that it could now be materialized,” said Jonathan De Luzuriaga, president of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) and was one of the judges during the contest. (PNA)

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