Press releases

Strengthening the Philippine youth entrepreneurship ecosystem

8 June 2022
ITC News

Manila: Key stakeholders converged on the 18th May 2022 to validate the ARISE Plus Philippines Ecosystem Mapping Report and to discuss the key recommendations and findings for strengthening Philippine youth entrepreneurship.

The report was prepared by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in close consultations with Philippine partners including government, incubators and accelerators, private sector, and academia, to provide an analysis of the current entrepreneurship support ecosystem in the Philippines and ways to enhance the innovative potential of youth and their capacities to contribute to economic development in the country.

The workshop convened the entrepreneurship support organizations in the Philippines to discuss the report’s findings and recommendations for strengthening the Philippines entrepreneurship ecosystem. The outcomes of the discussions and feedback received will be considered by ITC and incorporated into the final report. The workshop also provided an opportunity for key stakeholders in the ecosystem to discuss the recommendations and findings for strengthening the Philippines entrepreneurship ecosystem.

The report methodology, the gaps and overlaps in the current service offering, the network analysis- a visual representation of the network connections and network density, user experience analysis, and suggested recommendations to strengthen the ecosystem, were presented during the workshop.

The report’s recommendations point to the need for coordinated action from institutions active in the ecosystem to enhance support for Philippine youth entrepreneurship. Support to youth entrepreneurs needs to be prioritized to impart key skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  An easy to access database to facilitate young entrepreneurs to obtain a clearer picture of activities and support programs available to them across the country was also recommended.

 “Recognizing that the youth are key drivers of innovation, the ITC is tapping the Philippines’ relatively young population, averaging 25.7 years of age, by including targeted support aimed at empowering youth entrepreneurs under the EU-funded ARISE Plus Philippines project,” said ITC’s National Project Coordinator, Ms. Maria Esperanza Alconcel, speaking on the occasion.

Dr. Rafaelita ‘Fita’ Aldaba, Undersecretary for the Department of Trade and Industry, Competitiveness and Innovation Group said, “Building the nation's innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem by supporting both youth and women is a key element of our inclusive innovation industrial strategy, which puts innovation at the heart of the country's industrial policies and programs, towards achieving sustained and inclusive growth in the country. Based on another report by the Startup Genome, Manila’s founders are relatively younger than global average and 30% are women.”

Steph Naval, the youth founder of Empath, a health technology company based in Manila, highlighted during the panel discussion, held as part of the workshop that, “Specific support must be offered to youth and women entrepreneurs as we face unique challenges. Programs can be sector specific or demographic specific to cater to these groups and to enhance networks between start-ups in the same sectors whose business objectives can complement one another”.

The specified actions and recommendations will be further aligned with the feedback of the institutions and published later this month, to ensure that supporters of youth entrepreneurship can consult them. The recommendations will be leveraged by the International Trade Centre to guide its work on youth entrepreneurship in the country as well as by Philippine partners to help them identify and develop support for Philippine entrepreneurs.

The workshop was conducted in Manila and online, in a hybrid format under the ambit of the ARISE Plus Philippines, a project of the government of the Philippines, with the Department of Trade and Industry- (DTI) as lead partner together with the Department of Agriculture (DA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), as well as the private sector. It is funded by the European Union (EU) with the ITC as the technical agency for the project.

The ARISE Plus Philippines project is enabling Philippine exporters to take advantage of European Union (EU) market access and the trade privileges granted under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP+). It supports the overall EU-Philippines trade relationship and trade-related policies.

Media contact:

Waqas Rafique

Public Information Officer

wrafique [at]