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  • Team QBO

Becoming a Philippine Startup Community Champion

by Dave del Rosario, Head of Programs for Community & Ecosystem



When it comes to establishing a more diverse startup ecosystem in the Philippines, it starts with building relationships and networks. Since 2012, I witnessed the rise of the PH Startup Community and was able to take part in developing and promoting it. It all started when I applied as an IdeaSpace intern, and was later appointed as their Marketing and Advocacy Associate up until 2016. I decided to dive deeper and immerse myself in the countryside startup scene and assumed the role of Center Manager at iDEYA, the first Technology Business Incubator (TBI) in Mindanao inside MSU-IIT. For three years, I had the opportunity to take part in a national initiative to support, strengthen, and sustain efforts in building a more vibrant startup ecosystem in communities outside Metro Manila.


As a millennial working for the community, I had the opportunity to wear many hats to support startups and altogether shape the startup landscape in Mindanao through my various experiences—from being an IdeaSpace ambassador for Mindanao and a DICT Rainmaker for Region 10 to becoming a YSEALI alumnus. Having been part of these programs, I had the chance to work alongside various incubators and accelerators, NGOs and Nonprofits, and public and private organizations. With that, I also had a platform to develop initiatives focused on growing and strengthening the Mindanao startup community. To be part of something bigger and be surrounded by inspiring rockstar ecosystem builders was definitely a remarkable experience.


Having been a startup community champion myself, let me share with you a few reasons why you too should scale your impact and pursue playing a role in creating an inclusive, thriving entrepreneurial landscape in the Philippines.


1. Spearhead startup initiatives

Startup advocate programs provide ecosystem builders a platform to facilitate and co-organize startup events and programs in their respective regions. Depending on the needs of their communities, programs can range from startup bootcamps, workshops, seminars, and mentoring and feedback sessions to conferences, hackathons, pitching competitions, and meetups.


Through such programs, startup advocates can directly work with their local communities and amplify their impact on accelerating the growth of the Philippine Startup Ecosystem.


2. Access to a robust startup network and support system

Being a Startup Ecosystem Builder can sometimes be a lonely job. For this, it is crucial to continue growing our network within the startup ecosystem. In becoming part of startup advocate programs such as QBO’s newly launched QMMUNITY Advocate Program in partnership with Youth Business International and supported by Google.org, ecosystem builders can tap a wider community of industry partners, seasoned experts, and key institutions. This further promotes deeper collaboration among stakeholders and greatly impacts the success of proposed initiatives.


Also, truth be told, we need a strong support system to make our lives easier and our work more impactful! Advocate programs also provide the necessary support—from program development to execution—to enable startup champions to carry out their projects and ensure their success.


3. Cash grant and credits to successfully implement initiatives

In programs like the QMMUNITY Advocate Program, ecosystem builders will also be awarded access to a grant of Php 80,000 to develop initiatives that will create long-term economic opportunities for their local startup community. On top of that, advocates will also receive credits from partner institutions to help further their impact.


4. Hands-on training and mentorship opportunities

Apart from monetary support, startup advocate programs also provide mentorship and learning sessions to equip them ecosystem builders with necessary skills and knowledge. This empowers them to build a more dynamic startup landscape.


What’s unique about QBO’s QMMUNITY Advocate Program is that the chosen advocates will be matched with the right mentors to help them in strategizing and implementing their proposed initiatives. Through a full suite of resources, we’ll boost the QMMUNITY Advocates’ knowledge about the startup landscape to drive entrepreneurship to greater heights.


Apply to our QMMUNITY Advocate Program

If you’re committed to growing and empowering your startup community, I encourage you to apply to the program. Surely, it will be an unforgettable journey!


We’ll be selecting five (5) startup ecosystem builders keen on developing projects that support startups. The six-month program will run from May to October 2021. To join, submit your application by April 9, 2021 here: http://bit.ly/qmmunityadvocateform.


If you have any questions, feel free to email me at dave@qbo.com.ph.