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PLDT, Smart launch innovation challenge to help startups scale-up

In support of the country’s start-up communities and innovative ideas, PLDT and Smart recently announced their search for the next game-changer with the launch of the “PLDT & Smart Startup Innovation Challenge.”

Open to mature or established startups that are ready to take their businesses to the next level, the challenge aims to recognize innovative ideas that offer solutions to problems, from the basic to the most glaring ones, in the country today.

“Despite the challenges the country faces today, we see a very healthy and creative community of developers and programmers that only need the right opportunity and support to get their ideas flying and hopefully contribute to nation-building,” said Kristine Dara Ever Juan, head for Innovations Lab and Ecosystems Partnerships, PLDT.

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PLDT and Smart are looking for innovative startups with relevant and existing solutions on six focus areas: smart city, workplace of the future, healthcare, smart home, education, and sustainability.

Under smart city, solutions may vary from utilities, transportation, public safety, emergency response, while workplace of the future covers collaboration, business efficiency, and process automation. Solutions in the healthcare category may help improve COVID-19 response, and hospital services efficiency, while Smart Home can range from security, home automation, energy management. For Education, ideas on operations, learning, and gamification, while Sustainability could provide alternative solutions that impact on the environment, society, and governance.

Interested parties have until Sept. 30, 2021 to complete the requirements for their entries.

Bootcamp

The 10 most promising entries will then undergo a month-long bootcamp where they will undergo mentoring, prototyping, and rigorous testing of their solution.

During the Philippine Startup Week 2021, these teams will then have to pitch their projects to a panel of judges for the chance of winning cash prizes, 5G smartphones, Free Beyond Fiber for 1 year, and the opportunity to collaborate with the PLDT Group.

“Partnership with startup community is always high up in my Enterprise Innovations strategy: because startups bring energy, drives, passions, and out-of-the-box ideas to solve complicated problems,” said Melvin Jeffrey Chan, VP & Head of PLDT Enterprise Innovations & IoT Business Development. “Some startups capture the megatrend technologies like AI, IoT, 5G, the cloud, automation, wearables, and big data to reshape the future, while others look into solving sustainability problems through next generation technologies. We at PLDT Enterprise, wish to bring PLDT group closer to our Filipino startup community through PLDT & Smart Startup Innovation Challenge, and hopefully one day together with these startups, we can collaborate, co-develop, and co-market.”