Very often when we think of the Philippines, sandy beaches and azure waters are the things that come to mind. In recent years, however, the country had veered away from that tropical image and turned itself into one of the fastest growing economies in the world, next to China.
In just a few years, the Philippines has gained a reputation as a hotbed for tech startups and, 2015’s Geeks on the Beach Conference revealed, the country is aiming to become the home of at least 500 startups with total funding of US$200 million and valuation of US$ 2billion by 2020.
Rosanne Hortensius, general manager of Saleduck – a European online deal platform with presence in Southeast Asia- points out five reasons why the Philippines is an ideal location for startups in the region.
High Levels of English-Language Proficiency
The Philippines is one of the top five English-speaking countries in the world. This is a massive advantage as it makes the country a great place in which to conduct international business. Familiarity of Filipinos with Western culture also makes them a flag-bearer for business process outsourcing (BPO).
Thriving Outsourcing Industry
The Philippines maintains a huge BPO industry, employing over 1 million workers with a projected revenue range of $25 billion in 2016. This helps to create a pool of highly-skilled technical talent – the foundation of a tech startup world where demand for skills such as business intelligence and mobile app development is high.
A Tech-Savvy Generation
The Philippines is no stranger to advances of digitization and is considered as the world’s most active user of social media and one of the largest consumers of digital content. This affinity is extremely attractive to tech startups looking to enter the market. When you are a B2C business like us, it is very encouraging when you know that your target market is well-versed in the tools that draw them to your product.
With more than 130,000 graduates in tech-related fields per year, an increasing number of university graduates come equipped with advanced skills in programming languages and app design, among others. This breeds a highly capable workforce that can help propel any emerging startup in the Philippines. The costs of hiring locally is significantly lower when compared to having to outsource foreign talent.
Growing Number of Startup Support Groups
With the development of a startup roadmap by the Philippine government in partnership with stakeholders in the startup community, there is a growing support system for startups in the country. Incubators such as IdeaSpace, Kickstart Ventures and Launchgarage have opened doors to information access, mentorship programs and possible funding.