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Slingshot Philippines 2016 pushes for the development of the innovation economy

Slingshot Philippines 2016 startup exhibits mounted at the PTTC featured funders and accelerators; startup/social enterprises, education services, and co-working spaces/incubators.

Slingshot Philippines 2016 startup exhibits mounted at the PTTC featured funders and accelerators; startup/social enterprises, education services, and co-working spaces/incubators.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) staged just recently Slingshot Philippines 2016, the National Summit on Startups and Innovation, at the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) in Pasay City, kicking off a two-day national summit on startups and innovation with the theme, “Accelerating the Innovation Economy.”

The two-day summit provided an opportunity to gather under one roof young minds with big ideas, innovators in constant pursuit of new things to benefit their community, supportive investors who fund start-up ideas and the policymakers whose role is to provide an enabling business environment.

Breakout sessions are also conducted regarding topics on mentoring and coaching, programs for startups and innovators, and business development strategies for startups.

Breakout sessions are also conducted regarding topics on mentoring and coaching, programs for startups and innovators, and business development strategies for startups.

The event kicked off national consultations for the crafting of policies and programs to develop a new breed of innovative enterprises, covering the fields of agriculture, biotechnology, electronics, and digital startups, among others.

Around 50 speakers and panelists spoke on issues concerning funding, the current status and the future of Philippine startups, and strategies towards a Philippine innovation economy before 577 conference delegates who gathered at Slingshot Philippines 2016 to actively take part in a government-initiated platform for public dialogue and partnership that will help boost the development of Philippine startups for a robust innovation economy.

Trade Secretary Adrian Cristobal, Jr., Trade Undersecretary Nora Terrado, and Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino share their thoughts and policies for the future of the Philippine innovation economy.

Trade Secretary Adrian Cristobal, Jr., Trade Undersecretary Nora Terrado, and Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino share their thoughts and policies for the future of the Philippine innovation economy.

Slingshot Philippines 2016 conference at PTTC. (Source: Twitter account of Seedstars)

Slingshot Philippines 2016 conference at PTTC. (Source: Twitter account of Seedstars)

“Changing the ecosystem and putting in place policies responsive to the needs of the innovativion economy will not happen overnight. However, close collaboration of the government and key players will enable the Philippines to foster the desired new breed of business more quickly and efficiently. We want the next big tech startup to come from the Philippines ,” said Trade Secretary Adrian Cristobal, Jr.

Secretary Cristobal, a steadfast advocate of MSMEs as an integral part of the country’s pursuit towards regional economic integration and the attainment of equitable and inclusive growth, pointed out the government’s main role in the upbringing of the innovation economy. DTI has started implementing programs such as Slingshot to help overcome the hindrances that constrain the growth of MSMEs as well as provide startups and innovative businesses an environment that will nurture their capabilities.

Panel discussion with (from left) Moderator RJ Ledesma, Elaine de Velez, CEO of Frontlearners; Ronald Magleo, founder and CEO of MarketaPH; Aurora Mendoza, founder and CEO of PinoyTravel; Mikko Perez, founder and CEO of Ayannah; and Dexter Ligot Gordon, co-founder and COO of Kalibrr.

Panel discussion with (from left) Moderator RJ Ledesma, Elaine de Velez, CEO of Frontlearners; Ronald Magleo, founder and CEO of MarketaPH; Aurora Mendoza, founder and CEO of PinoyTravel; Mikko Perez, founder and CEO of Ayannah; and Dexter Ligot Gordon, co-founder and COO of Kalibrr.

In 2015, the Philippine government and startup community unveiled a roadmap which will serve as a framework in building a thriving ecosystem in the next few years. From a hundred, the country targets to have 500 startups with total valuation of USD2 B by 2020. This roadmap also serves as the basis for Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV’s Startup Bill which is set to be filed at the 17th Congress in July. This proposed policy will exempt startup entrepreneurs from paying taxes in their first two years, enabling an inclusive growth to their budding business.

Karla Legasi of the Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology (DOST-ICT) talks about programs for startups during a Breakout Session at Slingshot Philippines 2016.

Karla Legaspi of the Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology (DOST-ICT) talks about programs for startups during a Breakout Session at Slingshot Philippines 2016.

For three years in the senate, Senator Aquino has been the forerunner of six startup-friendly policies that support the innovation community. Among these are the Go Negosyo Act (RA 10644) which initiates the establishment of ‘Negosyo Centers’ that create linkages to bigger markets and financing as well as provide jobs and livelihood to people, the Microfinance NGOs Act (RA 10693) which supports the groups that guide and empower micro entreprenuers, and the Youth Entrepreneurship & Financial Literacy Act (RA 10679) which builds a culture of entrepreneurship as an alternative solution to unemployment and underemployment.

“Why (support) MSMEs? Because we must. Our MSME sector is at the forefront of pushing the growth of the Philippines,” said Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV, chair  of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

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Former Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo (left) discusses the Arthrologic Knee Replacement System, an innovation by Cebuano orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rene Catan.

For her part, Trade Undersecretary Nora Terrado of the Industry Promotions Group (IPG) commended the local economy’s unyielding growth despite the many challenges the country faces with the global economic slowdown. “We have gained momentum, but we can do more. We realized from our dialogues with the private sector that our country can benefit from a far-reaching and scalable innovation within a well-planned, well-organized government supported frameworks,” said Terrado.

Over the past few years, the Philippine economy has shown a promising ground for the startup community. In 2015, the country jumped 83rd in the Global Innovation Index, 17 notches higher from its previous rank in 2014. Bloomberg Businessweek also revealed that the Philippines’ ranked sixth among the top countries where talents are being sourced.

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Featured in the Slingshot Philippines 2016 exhibit mounted at the PTTC is the electric quadcycle known as “eQUAD,” one of the first locally designed, manufactured, and mass produced electric vehicles by the Philippine Utility Vehicle (PhUV) Incorporated.

The current status of the Philippine economy will serve as a viable launching pad for local startups and innovators to make it in the global market. The country is the second fastest-growing economy in Asia next to China and it currently flourishes from a positive business climate, a population of young, English-proficient speakers; and the stable remittances from overseas Filipinos.

Slingshot Philippines 2016 was the direct offshoot of Slingshot Manila 2015, the official startup and innovation event for the Philippines’ hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organized by the DTI in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and other key industry stakeholders.  It was held in conjunction with the recently concluded 63rd edition of Manila FAME and Design Week Philippines (DWP).

Slingshot Philippines 2016 Project Team from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC), and the Office of the Undersecretary of the Industry Promotion Group (OUIPG).

Slingshot Philippines 2016 Project Team from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC), and the Office of the Undersecretary of the Industry Promotion Group (OUIPG).

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Manila FAME features home and holiday décor exporters that use indigenous and eco-friendly materials to craft top quality concept products with story and value.

DTI-CITEM empowers holiday décor exporters with a design update program

Design for Exports Program unites CITEM, local manufacturers, and designer Nina Santamaria in creating a brand new collection of festive décor for the global market

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One of the leading Filipino interior designers today, Nina Santamaria has been commissioned by DTI-CITEM to create new product designs for holiday décor manufacturers. The collections will be showcased in the Manila FAME April 2016 Boutique Edition.

The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) is working with interior designer Nina Santamaria and four handpicked Philippine crafts exporters – Accent Pieces, Basket and Weaves, Chilonia Fabrica, and Klassy Kollections – to develop a trend-forward collection of décor for Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, and other popular celebrations to be showcased in the April 2016 Boutique Edition of the country’s premier innovation and lifestyle event, Manila FAME. This project, under the Design for Exports Program, is one of the many export product development endeavors initiated by CITEM.

The Philippines’ Christmas tradition and décor export

The Philippines is known worldwide as the country that celebrates the longest and most lavish Yuletide season, beginning as early as September and stretching on as late as February.

Manila FAME features home and holiday décor exporters that use indigenous and eco-friendly materials to craft top quality concept products with story and value.

Manila FAME features home and holiday décor exporters that use indigenous and eco-friendly materials to craft top quality concept products with story and value.

Because the tradition of Christmas is deeply embedded in Filipino culture, the country’s holiday décor manufacturers understand both the religious and secular meanings of the season, and they are able to craft according to the market they cater to, from Europe to the United States.

The Christmas Décor Producers and Exporters Association of the Philippines (CDPEAP) reports that the bulk of the country’s holiday décor exports consists of handcrafted products made of natural materials and in traditional themes and colors. These are imported by the United States, which accounts for three-fourths of the market for Philippine holiday décor, and other countries such as Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, and United Kingdom.

In 2013, export sales reached USD 48 million. Although this is just a fraction of the houseware exports (USD 225 million) and furniture and furnishings exports (USD 253 million), the year-on-year growth from 2012 to 2013 is remarkable at 54.23 %, signaling the resurgence of the industry as markets have become more optimistic.

DTI-CITEM helps Christmas décor exporters expand their products and gain foothold in other festive décor markets

The Design for Exports program for holiday décor manufacturers initially focused on developing Christmas décor. However, the last edition of Manila FAME, held in October 2015, spotlighted on the commercial and design strength of Philippine-made holiday décor as well as tableware and home accents through the special setting The Manila Gusto Gallery: In Pursuit of Pleasure, developed and curated by German consultant Detlef Klatt. The setting and its products received great feedback from trade visitors and media as it highlighted a design harmony from two different sectors and featured new pieces from holiday décor manufacturers that veered away from the traditional Christmas décor. 

Holiday Colors

Holiday Naturals

In the Design for Exports Program, CITEM collaborates with local manufacturers and both seasoned and up-and-coming designers to develop new home, holiday, and lifestyle products for the international market.

“The collaboration saw the great opportunities in expanding this sector and assisting local SMEs in creating and exporting decorative products for other popular festivities and thus enter new markets in the global scene,” said CITEM Executive Director Rosvi C. Gaetos.

Continuing this program, SMEs in partnership with DTI-CITEM will venture into manufacturing for other celebrations – Halloween, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the like – that are popular in major markets like the United States.  

For the April 2016 Boutique Edition of Manila FAME, Nina Santamaria, who is at the helm of the creative direction for the holiday décor product development program, will design and curate a fresh collection of festive décor made by the participating SMEs. The new creations embody different looks – metallic, natural, and bold colors – while highlighting the innate charm of handmade ornaments crafted from indigenous and eco-friendly materials and emphasizing the craftsmanship of Filipino artisans.


Organized by CITEM, the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Manila FAME is the country’s only premier design and lifestyle event for the global market. A bi-annual trade show, it is dedicated to home, holiday, and fashion sectors featuring hundreds of exporters, manufacturers, and designers. Manila FAME will run from April 21 to 24, 2016, at the World Trade Center Metro Manila in Pasay City.

For more information on Manila FAME, log on to http://www.manilafame.com.

DTI-CITEM and UAP partnership connects PH MSMEs to over a million architects and builders worldwide

In photo, from left: (Standing) Norman P. Bagulbagul, Officer-in-Charge, Exhibition Design Division, CITEM; Ms. Katrina Pineda, Officer-in-Charge, Buyer Marketing Services, CITEM; Arch. Catherine Carunungan, Director, NATCON 2016; Arch. Roger Ong, Executive Director, Commision on Convention, Assemblies, and Exhibition; and Arch. Richard Garcia, Director, CONEX 2016. (Seated) Ms. Rosvi C. Gaetos, Executive Director, CITEM; and, Arch. Maria Benita Regala, National President, United Architects of the Philippines.

In photo, from left: (Standing) Mr. Norman P. Bagulbagul, Officer-in-Charge, Exhibition Design Division, CITEM; Ms. Katrina Pineda, Officer-in-Charge, Buyer Marketing Services, CITEM; Arch. Catherine Carunungan, Director, NATCON 2016; Arch. Roger Ong, Executive Director, Commision on Convention, Assemblies, and Exhibition; and Arch. Richard Garcia, Director, CONEX 2016. (Seated) Ms. Rosvi C. Gaetos, Executive Director, CITEM; and, Arch. Maria Benita Regala, National President, United Architects of the Philippines.

The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) forge a partnership that aims to fortify the foothold of Philippine design and architectural enterprises in the global scene.

“We recognize the magnitude of this partnership as it establishes new networks for Philippine MSMEs with major players in the industry. It will open new platforms to showcase products and new opportunities to demonstrate the local arts and crafts of artisans and designers not only to the 24,000 members of UAP but also to the leading architects and builders worldwide who are connected to UAP through significant organizations such as UIA (Union Internationales des Architectes, or International Union of Architects) and ARCASIA (Architects Regional Council),” said CITEM Executive Director Rosvi C. Gaetos. UIA represents more than one million architects in 124 countries all over the world while ARCASIA  is an association of 17 national institutes for architects in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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Through this reach of UAP to numerous architectural organizations and events, the collaboration between CITEM and UAP will strengthen the presence of Manila FAME and Philippine MSMEs abroad, connecting the trade show and its participating manufacturers, exporters, designers, artisans, and entrepreneurs to key individuals in the construction and building industry, various related sectors, and numerous architects and builders associations in the world who are constantly searching for top quality, eco-friendly, and innovative products and services in the market.

CITEM, on the other hand, is the owner and organizer of Manila FAME, the Philippines’ premier bi-annual showcase of design and craftsmanship. The exhibition features unique, innovative, and sustainable furniture, home furnishings, holiday gifts and décor, as well as fashion accessories, all designed and crafted by Philippine artisans for the highly discerning global audience. A show attended by industry decision-makers, Manila FAME brings thousands of local and international trade buyers and visitors, including owners, managers, and purchasing directors of global lifestyle retail companies to source from the best export manufacturers in the Philippines.

Manila FAME is also attended by seasoned and rising design talents, both from the local scene and abroad, looking for the latest trends in design, materials, and production, and most especially, for stirring, one-of-a-kind, design concepts.

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“Creative inspiration is vital to all architects. UAP’s collaboration with CITEM and Manila FAME will provide the NATCON-CONEX delegates an invaluable source of inspiration and innovative ideas,” said UAP National President Architect Ma. Benita O. Regala.

Over 2,400 Filipino and foreign architects are expected to attend NATCON-CONEX 2016, all of whom will be granted access to Manila FAME. Similarly, top buyers and VIP guests of Manila FAME will also be welcome at the NATCON-CONEX 2016.


CITEM is the organizer of Manila FAME, the Philippines’ premier design and lifestyle event. A bi-annual trade show, it features finely selected furniture and home furnishings, holiday gifts and décor, and fashion accessories, designed and crafted in the Philippines for the global market. Manila FAME will run from April 21-24, 2016, at the World Trade Center, Pasay City, Philippines.

The country’s leading building and construction exhibition, the UAP CONEX unites all construction industry sectors and demonstrates state of the art products, technologies, equipment and materials in the market. CONEX will be held on April 21-23, 2016, at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City, Philippines.

For more information, visit www. manilafame.com