Key players in the innovation space in Iloilo City and their technopreneurship initiatives were showcased to students and academic and local government stakeholders at the recent Iloilo Startup Forum in Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT-U).

The Iloilo Startup Forum was part of the QBO x (Cities): Igniting Startup Cities, a roadshow led by the Manila-based incubator QBO Innovation Hub. The roadshow aims to spark the technopreneurial spirit among Filipinos, especially the youth.

Karla Legaspi, Startup Community program lead, presented to the audience various initiatives of QBO, which has recently integrated with IdeaSpace, a major private startup accelerator in the country. She also showed an overview of the startup ecosystem in the Philippines and where it is headed.

Their program associate Auguste Ku, meanwhile, discussed details about what makes a startup, the stages that these ventures go through, and the kinds of support that young founders can get from the private and government sectors, in a session that welcomed interactions from the mostly young audience.

A highlight of the Forum was the chat with “Iloilo Homegrown Heroes,” the key players enabling startup growth and development in Iloilo City.

They were Rayjand Gellamucho, General Manager of ISAT-U Kwadra Technology Business Incubator (KTBI); Krz Pareja, cofounder of workplace well-being platform Welby; Daryl Lasafin, program officer at FyrLab, the first private sector-led accelerator in Western Visayas funded by DOST VI; Ma. Lea Lara from the Iloilo City-Local Investment and Promotions Office and Secretariat of Innovate Iloilo; and Abraham Porcal, science research specialist at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 6.

They shared insights from their experience in the startup and innovation space in the region, including the characteristics that – in their view – will make young Ilonggos succeed in technopreneurship. They also announced the programs they are holding or involved in that support brilliant entrepreneurial ideas from talented founders.

The “Iloilo Homegrown Heroes” and the sectors they represent are part of Innovate Iloilo, a multisectoral movement that aims to make Iloilo a premier innovation hub by 2030.

Dr. Carmelo Ambut, vice president for research and extension of ISAT-U and Head of UMWAD Western Visayas Consortium, announced to the audience the university’s various programs for commerciable research, or “spinoffs,” and accomplishments in the field of technology transfer.

Under Ambut’s office is the ISAT-U Kwadra TBI, one of the dozens of university-hosted TBIs across the country supported by a DOST program on innovation and technopreneurship readiness among higher education institutions.

Noreen Bautista, marketing and programs head at Kwadra TBI and cofounder of sustainable textile sourcing platform Panublix, also spoke about startup life, giving the audience a glimpse of the journey of being a startup founder. Meanwhile, Velma Jane Lao, head of the Iloilo City Local Economic Development and Investment Promotions Office, spoke about the Innovate Iloilo movement.

ISAT U Kwadra TBI and Innovate Iloilo were co-organizers of the Iloilo Startup Forum.