IdeaSpace, QBO seek to diversify startup scene

Female-founded or female-led startups will be the target of the combined efforts of IdeaSpace and QBO Innovation Hub, local startup accelerators that realigned earlier this month under the guidance of Katrina R. Chan, who was appointed executive director of both organizations.

“We are committed to working on improving diversity and inclusion within the startup community and will ramp up our programs to support women entrepreneurs,” she said in an e-mail interview with BusinessWorld

More than 160 programs benefitting all startups–not just female-led ones–have been conducted by the unified team since the lockdown started, reaching more than 36,000 participants online. “Our goal is to be a one-stop shop for startups,” said Ms. Chan. “We will keep up these efforts to provide continual support for our tech startup community amidst this crisis.”

The new internal structure includes a Community and Ecosystem team for outreach and stakeholder engagement; a Startup Development team for startups across different stages; and a Strategy, Investments, and Partnerships team for startup investments, growth, and sustainability. Service teams in marketing, finance, accounting, human resources, and administration are shared by both brands.

“The realignment will unify IdeaSpace and QBO to carry out the work of our two strong brands,” said Ms. Chan. “We have always shared the same mission, which is to elevate the Philippine startup system.”

Programs under IdeaSpace and QBO will continue to be operated under the respective brands, but will be conceptualized by an integrated team. The vision is to enable founders to seek the combined organization’s support at any point in the startup journey–from conceptualization to incubation to acceleration.

Ongoing programs include IdeaSpace’s flagship acceleration program, which has been running since 2012, as well as its programs in partnership with Google for Startups, UNICEF (the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), ING (the ING, or Internationale Nederlanden Groep, Group), the US Embassy, and Youth Business International. — P. B. Mirasol

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