In a show of support to local startups, leading fiber broadband provider Converge ICT Solutions Inc. provided free internet connectivity to the Geeks on A Beach (GOAB) conference, which connects emerging entrepreneurs with venture capital investors and technology, design, and innovation leaders.
Co-organized by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the social enterprise #GeeksPH, GOAB returned this year after a five-year hiatus. Over 300 technopreneurs, startups, investors, venture capitalists, and angel sponsors gathered at the Bellevue Resort in the beach town of Panglao, Bohol.
Converge Co-Founder and CEO Dennis Anthony Uy said Converge has always been supportive of small businesses and has always been inspired to become an enabling force for entrepreneurs to scale up their businesses.
“Just like many of the GOAB attendees, I was once a startup entrepreneur. My wife Grace and I started Converge with the vision of giving Filipinos access to world-class connectivity — the same kind that you get in progressive countries. From a startup in Pampanga, we challenged the giants and expanded our network nationwide to reach Visayas and Mindanao,” Mr. Uy said.
“May Geeks on a Beach continues to encourage and support Philippine startups so that more and more Filipinos will benefit from the digital solutions brought about by the creativity and innovation of our young businesses,” he added.
Leonardo Baniqued, Converge AVP and Head of Innovation and Product Management, expressed the readiness of Converge to work with startups.
“We have the broadest fiber network in the country and this means that our network is already available. We can now provide budding businesses with productivity solutions that will help them scale up,” he said.
Converge is going beyond connectivity products with the introduction earlier this year of Converge Workplace, a suite of cloud-based business productivity solutions which are especially curated for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs)
During the conference, DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy said he is heartened to see that the Philippines has been transformed into a pivotal regional hub for startups and digital innovation.
“Our vibrant startup ecosystem has been promisingly growing with more than 1,100 startups, 60 incubators and accelerators, 50 venture capitalists, and more than 200 co-working spaces nationwide that enable collaboration,” Sec. Uy noted.
Among the topics discussed in the GOAB conference are the evolution of the Philippine startup ecosystem, challenges of startup life, venture capital, trends, legislation and policies, and scaling up talent management. Other recurring themes included artificial intelligence, Web3, and cybersecurity.
A lightning pitch session also allowed startups under the DICT’s startup program – with projects ranging from an agri-tech platform to a security alert system – to showcase their projects in front of investors and other attendees.
Also present at GOAB were officials from the DICT and representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, and the local government of Bohol.
The GOAB conference capped this year’s celebration of the Philippine Startup Week, a series of events led by the government and organized by the country’s startup community.