Tech experts still seek better startup ecosystem

Technology experts urged Filipino startups to solve global problems and market their products abroad to grow their business, while the Philippines is still finding ways to build a conducive startup ecosystem with better tax, budget, and freelance work policies.

Dominic Ligot, founder of social impact-focused and artificial intelligence firm CirroLytix, said Filipino startups, especially those in the provinces, have slim to zero chance of obtaining financial support or approval for their technology projects from local government units, private organizations, and consumers as these entities also have tight finances.

“Technology is not cheap, and they have to justify their investment in their bottom lines,” Ligot said last Friday during the DEVCON PRO Summit 2023, a technology conference held at Whitespace Manila in Makati City.

“You cannot justify it if you’re just servicing the Philippines, even if the demand is high in Iloilo or the provinces. There’s no purchasing power. It’s only in Metro Manila,” he explained.

As a solution, he said Filipino startups should design products for foreign markets where they can find higher funding and a launchpad to build proof of their business profitability and impact.

Ligot, whose company won competition in the US and Europe for its space technologies, recalled how approaching foreign entities helped his company sell its one product.

“We won NASA competitions three times. We have one anti-dengue project using satellite and digital data. We went to the Department of Health, and they did not want to buy it. We found a client in Africa,” he shared.

“Find solutions for Vietnam, Singapore, or Europe because that’s the only way to justify the scale. Use Filipino talent to solve global problems,” Ligot continued.

While he recognized that Filipino startups’ shift to foreign markets could worsen the brain drain in the Philippines, Lingot said this could be reversed through startup tax reductions.


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