Author: Candice Lleses

  • IDEAS Accelerate Vol. 2: Empowering Davao’s Best, Forging Mindanao’s Future

    We are thrilled to introduce you to the 2nd Issue of the IDEAS Accelerate newsletter, the official publication of IDEAS Davao, to support and empower Davao’s startup community.

    This newsletter is our way of sharing with you the amazing stories and achievements of our members, partners, and collaborators who are making a difference in Davao and beyond through innovation and entrepreneurship.

    In this issue, you will find:

    ✅ A feature on the winners of the Techstars Startup Weekend Davao 2023, a 54-hour event where participants pitched their ideas, formed teams, and built prototypes.
    ✅ A spotlight on the 2nd Mindanao TBi summit, focusing on how tech can be used for social good and uplifting communities.
    ✅ A showcase of the successful events and activities that we organized and co-hosted during the Davao Startup Week, such as the Tech Transfer Forum, Davao Innovation Night, and the Davao Startup Champion Awards.
    ✅ A summary of the latest news and updates from our closest partners and sponsors such as the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Science and Technology, and the Department of Information and Communications Technology.
    ✅ A list of the up-and-coming communities you can join to know more about resources that you can access to grow your startup

    We hope that this newsletter will inspire you to join us in our mission to create a thriving and sustainable startup ecosystem in Davao. Whether you are a budding entrepreneur, an experienced investor, or a curious observer, we invite you to be part of our community and discover the endless possibilities that Davao has to offer.

    To get your FREE digital copy of the newsletter, simply click on the links below 👇:

    PDF version:

    Flipbook version:

  • Kabalikat Awards 2023: DOST PCIEERD lauds innovation efforts of startup enablers in Davao Region

    The Department of Science and Technology recognized Innovation and Development Accelerators Consortium for Startups in Davao Region (IDEAS Davao) as its top partner in promoting and cultivating science, technology, and innovation in the region and the country.

    Of nine startup consortia in the country, IDEAS Davao was conferred with the Kabalikat Award in the TBI Consortium category by the DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD). It was given during the agency’s 13th Anniversary Celebration on June 28, 2023, at the Centennial Hall, Manila Hotel.  

    The DOST PCIEERD  Kabalikat Awards highlight the impact of collaborations in various fields, from the business, public, academic, partner regions, and consortia sectors to the regional startup ecosystems.

    The Council judged the TBI Partner based on its Operation/Implementation/Fulfillment of Consortium Plans/Deliverables, Contribution to the Science and Technology Agenda of PCIEERD,  and Compliance with PCIEERD Rules/Policies. 

    IDEAS Davao Milestones

    The  IDEAS Davao was established in December  2021 under the Regional Startup Enablers for Ecosystem Development (ReSEED) program of the DOST-PCIEERD. 

    The University of the Philippines Mindanao TBI led the implementation of the ReSEED Program in the Davao Region.

    The consortium aims to synergize the programs of technology business incubators (TBIs), accelerators, government agencies, the private sector, investors, and other startup enablers to achieve a more robust, inclusive, and conducive startup ecosystem in the Davao Region. 

    Among the active partners and members of the consortium are the local startups,  university-based TBIs UP Mindanao TBI,  Agilabs of the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP), UMAsenso Hub of the University of Mindanao (UM); regional offices of DOST,  Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); community and international organizations such as DevCon Davao Chapter, UX Davao, Social Entrepreneurs in Mindanao, Women in AI Asia Pacific, WordPress Users Davao,  ICT Davao, Impact Pioneers Network, E3 Hubs, Techstars, and local businesses, among others. 

    In one year since its inception, IDEAS Davao has engaged more than  2,300 participants and stakeholders in about 32 online and offline regional events cultivating the innovation culture in the Davao Region and promoting PCIEERD programs. These include hackathons, innovation, and investment dialogues, the first Mindanao TBI Summit, startup ecosystem mappings, capacity-building activities and workshops for startups and TBIs, and other collaborations mostly during the very first Davao Region Startup Week organized by the startup consortium in August 2022.

    They have also facilitated several partnerships between consortium members and partner organizations, such as with StartupBlink, Zuitt, DICT Davao Region, USEP, and the Embassy of Israel to the Philippines as well as the approval of two Mindanao-based startups to the DOST’s Startup Grant Fund program. 

    The consortium was also able to pool close to P1 million (USD 18,000) worth of funding and in-kind sponsorships.

    “We are thankful to the DOST for this award, and we could not have made these efforts to activate the startup ecosystem in the Davao Region without their support to us through the ReSEED Program as well as the active participation of the members and the trust of our partners,”

    IDEAS Davao project lead and UP Mindanao assistant professor  Miguel Carlo S. Guillermo.

    IDEAS Davao regional startup ecosystem lead Candice Kirsten Lleses said the Kabalikat Award greatly benefits the startup enablers and other regional stakeholders.

    “This recognition would motivate the startup community in the Davao Region to continue their work for the startups and expand their impact, knowing that their activities paid off despite being a fairly new organization,” said Lleses.

    These startup activities have also earned the endorsement of the Regional Development Council in the Davao Region to the City Government of Davao for including the Davao Startup Week as a regular event alongside the annual Kadayawan Festival. The consortium has yet to receive a positive response from the City Government.

    Future activities 

    IDEAS Davao was recently approved by DOST PCIEERD for another P10 million ReSEED grant to conduct several startup programs and activities until 2025. 

  • IDEAS Davao presents best practices at DOST ReSEED Program Assessment, University of the Cordilleras, Baguio

    The 2nd day of the DOST ReSEED Program presentations of consortium milestones, best practices, challenges, and ways forward is punctuated by IDEAS Davao represented by its Project Lead A/Prof. Miguel Carlo Guillermo.

    Among the accomplishments of the IDEAS Davao are the conduct of startup community dialogues in Davao Region, Davao City Startup Ecosystem Map and Roadmap, technology business incubator (TBI) management workshop, 1st Mindanao TBI Summit, Gender-Smart Business Incubator Training, Impact Investing Webinar with Villgro Philippines, hosting of three proposal writeshop with startups for the DOST Startup Grant Fund Program, 1st Davao-Israel Innovation Night networking event, and the launching of the 1st Davao Startup Week in 2022 with 25 different community partners, 20 Events, 1047+ participants, and reached 1300+ more through various exhibits and collaborative events.

    The consortium, through the leadership of the University of the Philippines Mindanao Growing and Developing Enterprises (UPGRADE), also facilitated about P4-million equity-free funding to a local startup in Davao Region.

    Albeit the accomplishments, Guillermo also emphasized the challenges hoping to solicit suggestions and learnings from other DOST-PCIEERD-funded consortiums in the Philippines. This exchange of advice and learnings would help IDEAS Davao to improve its implementation of the program and strengthen further the community of startup enablers and ecosystem in the Davao Region.

    The second day of the program assessment was also dedicated for a proposal writeshop for the consortiums that would help them access funding for the second installment of the ReSEED program.

    ReSEED is a program of the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Technology (DOST-PCIEERD) that aims to strengthen the startup ecosystem in the regions by establishing and formalizing a Regional Startup Ecosystem Consortium, developing a regional startup development plan, engaging with more mentors to upskill startups, and partnering with the regional development council.

  • IDEAS Accelerate: Here’s your 2022 Wrap-Up with IDEAS Davao

    As we look back at our first year as IDEAS Davao in 2022, we want to show some acknowledgment to our amazing community of startup champions this year through thoughtful documentation of our achievements in the community!

    With the goal of advancing regional competitiveness in sustainable and impact-driven innovation and business, let’s recall some of our milestones in the community this year.

    In this newsletter, you’ll hear about:

    • Davao Startup Week
    • UI/UX CrashCourse
    • Techstars Startup Weekend: Smart Cities Davao
    • Davao Startup Champion Awards
    • Startup Ecosystem Mapping & Validation
    • Mindanao Social Enterprise Forum
    • Davao-Israel Innovation Night
    • DevCon CodeCamp for Kids
    • WordPress Davao Meet
    • Saliyab Learning Series: Essential Skills in the Tech Industry
    • DICT Startup 101
    • There is No Planet B: How to Use AI for the SDGs
    • UPGRADE’s First Mindanao TBI Summit

    Download our newsletter here.

    We encourage you to continue sharing your amazing energy by collaborating with us for more events and activities this 2023. Helping YOUR business endeavors GROW helps everyone — and possibly connect you to more people interested in investing in your ideas. We’ll be featuring more stories soon in our future newsletter!

    Share your entrepreneurial journeys with us! Send us an email at or follow us on our social media accounts!

  • Call for Volunteers for the Davao Startup Week 2022

    The Davao Region Startup Week 2022 is the first region-wide event showcasing the startup community of Region XI hosting various activities that gathers entrepreneurs, startups, investors, government and private organizations, and ecosystem champions.
    It aims to mainstream local startups and enablers from the government and private sector supporting the growth of the startup community in Region 11 through programs and policies.

    We need volunteers for the following roles:

    ✅ 1 Communication Lead and 2 Communication Associates
    ✅ 1 Marketing Lead and 2 Marketing Associates
    ✅ 1 Creative Design Lead and 2 Creative Design Associates
    ✅ 1 Event Coordination Lead and 2 Event Coordination Associates
    ✅ 1 Finance Lead
    ✅ 1 Sponsorship Lead
    ✅ 1 Technology Lead
    ✅ 1 Technology Support
    ✅ 1 Marketing and Promotion Lead
    ✅ 1 Mentor and Judges Lead

    Why volunteer?

    The success of this celebration depends on the people who give their time and effort to make it happen. Being a volunteer is more than paying it forward, it’s an important ingredient that makes DVOSW22 a great experience for all its participants.

    Who can volunteer?

    Anyone can volunteer! Students are encouraged to apply as well.

    What’s in it for you?

    ✅ It is a perfect opportunity to connect with the Startup Community of Davao Region. Davao ranked 5th nationwide and 21st in Southeast Asia in the World Startup Ecosystem (Startupblink 2022 report) manifesting great opportunities for investments and talents to build business.
    ✅ You will meet people across Mindanao and various parts of the Philippines who have been working and supporting the community in growing its startup ecosystem.
    ✅ You will get a look behind the scenes of organizing one of the biggest Startup events in Mindanao.
    ✅ We will keep you in top condition, with food and refreshments throughout the event, and you can avoid the lines at the main conference food and drink stations.
    ✅ You will receive an exclusive volunteer t-shirt to wear at the event and show off in the future.
    ✅ You will get a FREE ticket to DVOSW2022, which grants you access to the entire event.

  • Join us in our Impact Investment 101 Learning Session

    The Impact Pioneers Network, the first impact angel investment network in the Philippines is conducting an Impact Investing 101 Learning Session. Join us on February 28, 2:00 – 4:00 PM Manila to learn about the Philippine impact investing ecosystem, and how you can kickstart your impact investing journey.

    The Impact Pioneers Network is proud to be partnering with UP Mindanao Growing and Developing Enterprises Technology Business Incubator (UPGRADE TBI), Department of Trade and Industry – Region 11, and Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry for this learning session. Hear from our partners about the startup ecosystem in the Davao region.

    Limited slots available. Register now at:

    For inquiries, please send an email to

    This event is brought to you by Impact Pioneers Network, jointly managed by Villgro Philippines and xchange PH. This activity by the Impact Pioneers Network is made possible through the generous support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

  • IDEAS-DAVAO Receives full support from NEDA-XI to boost startup support in Region XI

    The Innovation and Development Accelerators Consortium for Start-ups in Davao Region (IDEAS-Davao) received the full support of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-XI) in a resolution passed by the agency dated December 07, 2021 in the Regional Development Council XI Resolution No. 161 and 163, Series of 2021.

    The resolution supported the establishment of a regional consortium for startups in Davao “for exponential growth to access government funding such as Startup Grant Programs” led by the University of the Philippines Mindanao. 

    Furthermore, another resolution also approved the regional development research agenda and the 2017-2022 utilization assessment report for the first semester of 2021. Among many priority sectors, this approval aims to expand economic opportunities in Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.”

    “2021 was a year full of triumphs for us, Davao Region’s startup ecosystem ranked 4th nationwide, 19th in Southeast Asia, and 786th globally. We witnessed many of our Davao-based startups flourish in Davao’s diverse and demanding economic landscape. With the hard work of our stakeholders, we are gaining traction in many other aspects of business and entrepreneurship, such as in software, data, fintech, and many more. However, this achievement is not without its challenges. We still have a long way to go in terms of building better infrastructure to facilitate startups and lack of support for many budding entrepreneurs,” says UP Mindanao Chancellor Larry N. Digal in his opening remarks during a recently concluded event of IDEAS-Davao.

    Davao Region is one of the four pilot areas for the Regional Inclusive Innovation Center (RIIC) program with four technology business incubators led by higher-education institutions and multiple new startups.

  • DOST-Funded TBIs in Davao Eye to Establish the First Mindanao Startup Consortium

    Technology business incubators (TBIs) from different Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Davao Region, spearheaded by UP Mindanao Growing and Developing Enterprises (UPGRADE), recently concluded the Region XI Startup Community Dialogue on January 14, 2022, via Zoom platform.

    The Innovation and Development Accelerators Consortium for Startups in Davao or IDEAS Davao aims to establish the first Startup Consortium in Mindanao and provide an avenue for incubators, accelerators, government agencies, private sector, investors, and community-based organizations to discuss pertinent issues and address challenges that will shape the landscape of the region’s startup ecosystem.

    The dialogue was graced by Department of Science and Technology (DOST) XI Regional Director Dr. Anthony C. Sales, CESO III, Department of Information and Communications Technology XI Regional Director Alimbzar P. Asum, CESO V, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) XI Maria Belenda Q. Ambi, Davao City Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (DCCCI), Belinda Torres, and United States Agency for International Development-Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (USAID-STRIDE) / Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International Convergence Specialist Adrienne  Cacho, and attended by 26 other startup founders and enablers from private and public sectors.

    “We witnessed many of our Davao-based startups flourish in Davao’s diverse and demanding economic landscape. With the hard work of our stakeholders, we are gaining traction in many other aspects of business and entrepreneurship, such as in software, data, fintech, and many more”, UP Mindanao Chancellor Dr. Larry N. Digal said while highlighting Davao Region’s startup ecosystem rankings: fourth nationwide, 19th in Southeast Asia, and 786th internationally.

    IDEAS-Davao intends to facilitate collaborative initiatives to improve incubation programs, mentoring, networking, fundraising, and media exposure of TBIs for startups, funded by the DOST under the Higher Education Institution Readiness for Innovation and Technopreneurship (HeIRIT) Program.

    With the help of IDEAS-Davao, support for startups will be strengthened by aligning programs of implementing agencies under the Philippine Innovative Startup Act, providing opportunities and access for government funding, and acquiring investments from private entities to increase job opportunities and economic development.

    Read the full news article on the DOST RXI website here.

  • IDEAS-DAVAO Holds First Annual Strategic Planning

    The Innovation and Development Accelerators Consortium for Start-ups in Davao Region (IDEAS-Davao) recently held its annual strategic planning for 2022 at the Waterfront Insular Hotel in Lanang from January 17-21, 2022. Hosted and organized by UPGRADE TBI, the event aims to prepare IDEAS-Davao’s project management team in their implementation of their regional program.

    Together with valued stakeholders from different TBIs and startups, the IDEAS-Davao team brainstormed ideas and planned how they will be navigating through current challenges in the startup ecosystem of Region 11. The event was attended by leading management personnel in TBIs from different HEIs in Davao, namely, Vanesa Balayo of UMasenso Hub, Filmann Simpao of USeP AgiLab, and Jason Occidental of AdDU TechnoHub. To represent non-HEI stakeholders, CEO and founder of international award-winning Coffee for Peace, Joji Pantoja was also in attendance.

    The planning also pinpointed specific threats present in the startup ecosystem such as threats towards indigenous people’s resources, challenges in bureaucratic processes for startups, lack of access and information regarding programs, services, registration and incentives for smaller businesses, and the slow technology adoption of businesses in the region.

    Aside from threats, current opportunities in startup trends were also discussed, such as the rise of more inclusive startups lead by younger generations, the enabling of laws related to startups innovation, and the availability of government and private grants for investment and support.

    The establishment of the Innovation and Development Accelerators Consortium for Start-ups (IDEAS) in the Davao Region aims to synergize the programs of incubators, accelerators, government agencies, private sector, investors, and other start-up enablers to achieve a stronger, inclusive, and conducive start-up ecosystem in Region XI.

    The 5-day face-to-face strategic planning was done in cooperation with two other national programs, Higher Education Institutions Preparatory Training for Starting Technology Business Incubators (HEIRIT) and Women-Helping-Women Innovating Social Enterprise (WHWise: i B L E n D N I C E 4WomEn).