Manila, Philippines. 6 July 2015 – Economic growth that is truly inclusive, driven by entrepreneurial activity from micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Asia Pacific region: this is the promise headlined at SlingshotMNL, the official technology startup conference of APEC Philippines 2015 happening in Manila on July 6 and 7.
SlingshotMNL, which was inspired by the idea of catapulting MSMEs into the global stage, brings the ideas of thought leaders from the United States, South America, and Asia into a forum that seeks to answer the all-important question: “how do we help startups create immense value for the diverse economies of the Asia Pacific region?”
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, who opened the event, said that “endeavors like SlingshotMNL enable MSMEs to participate in the global value chain.”
Secretary Domingo noted that startups have the potential to contribute greatly to the economies in which they work through the product and process innovations that they introduce into the market. MSMEs account for 97 percent of all enterprises in Asia Pacific economies. These enterprises also employ 50 percent of the workforce and comprise 20 to 50 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in these economies.
To nurture MSMEs, APEC maintains a three-pronged approach that includes helping SMEs build management capacity; improving their access to financing; and creating a healthy business environment that helps small companies succeed.
Further, DTI Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo, Jr. noted the importance of startups to the government’s inclusive growth agenda and stressed the need to support the sector: “We believe that SlingshotMNL will create new connections between startups and key stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem.”
But the scope of SlingshotMNL is not limited to the Philippines. With more than 600 million people, the ASEAN region has become the world’s fifth largest market next to China, India, Europe, and North America. The economies of the Asia Pacific Rim comprise an even bigger chunk of the global economic pie. In 2012, APEC member economies represented 40 percent of the world population (2.8 billion people), and accounted for 47 percent of world trade (USD 21 trillion), while contributing 57 percent of the global GDP (USD 41 trillion).
Earl Valencia, founder and president of Ideaspace, a leading Philippine accelerator, described the implications of this bullish climate to APEC startups: “SlingshotMNL is really an apt title for the conference, especially since it describes where the Philippines and the Asia Pacific is from an economic perspective. We are primed for rapid growth and there is no better time to be a startup. IdeaSpace is happy to support this initiative as it is aligned with our vision for the Philippine technology entrepreneurship ecosystem.”
The region-spanning nature of APEC is very clearly reflected in SlingshotMNL’s speaker lineup. Speakers from Stanford University, Startup Chile, leading accelerators and incubators from all over Asia, fast-growing startups like AirBnB and Uber, and award-winning journalists will be joining entrepreneurs, executives, policy makers and the academe in what is envisioned as one of the most pivotal startup summits in the Asia Pacific region in 2015.
Aside from plenary sessions, SlingshotMNL 2015 features eight workshops, three pitching competitions, networking receptions, and an exhibition of more than 100 startups from Asia and the Philippines. Over 1,000 delegates and other participants signed up for the conference.
SlingshotMNL 2015 is organized by the DTI, spearheaded by its Foreign Trade Service Corps, together with the Department of Science and Technology, and in partnership with the Philippine startup community, including organizing partners led by Ideaspace and supported by Kickstart and spring.ph.