Innovative digital solutions from college students recognised at Philippine Startup Challenge finals
Team E-Pursuers from the University of Southeastern Philippines was declared the Grand Winner of the Philippine Startup Challenge (PSC) 4 National Finals held last 6 April 2018 at Green Sun Hotel, Makati City.
The Philippine Startup Challenge is a national startup competition which aims to encourage the youth to create innovative solutions to real life problems. The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) organised the Challenge, with support from the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), Huawei Philippines, Ideaspace, Launchgarage, and Philippine Society of IT Educators (PSITE).
This year’s edition of the Startup Challenge received 202 entries - a 25% increase from the previous year. The ten national finalists were announced in March 2018
The all-female winning team, comprised of Mariah Nicole Perez de Tagle, Daniella Javilles, and Annie Marrise Insong, developed a mobile wallet application, called Centsilyo, that digitally pays for items and also stores changes up until the last cent.
Centsilyo, a play on the word sensilyo, a Bisaya term for change, Team E-Pursuers envisions in reinforcing Republic Act 10909 (No Shortchanging Act of 2016), which prohibits business establishments from giving insufficient or no change to consumers.
Team E-Pursuers also received the Huawei Philippines Special Award, earning them an invite to join the Seeds for the Future Program in October for a two-week immersion in startup hubs in Beijing and Shenzhen, China.
The team will continue to develop the app with the support they gained from the competition.
“We will (pursue it), and we already talked to the people here that are willing to mentor us or invest in our app,” said Daniella Javilles.
Team Technogeeks’ Taptrack of the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines and Team Rocket’s Venturepal of the University of Cebu (UC) were in the second and third place, respectively. The Elaborators’ myMDLab of Manuel S. Enverga University Foundation won the Social Media Award.
Taptrack is a portable RFID-based attendance management system with SMS transmission for field workers, while Venturepal is an online investment pooling platform for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). myMDLab is a digital application which lets patients request for laboratory services at the comfort of their homes.
DICT Undersecretary Monchito B. Ibrahim, Mr Jojo Flores (Launchgarage), Mr Butch Meily (Ideaspace Foundation Inc.), and Mr Wellington Liu (Huawei Philippines) constituted the board of judges.
Ms Rosario Gruet, co-founder of Spring.PH (Software Products Incubation Group ) and PSC 4 head judge, noted how the judges had a difficult time determining the winners.
“The scores of the teams were close because we were quite happy with the teams’ (pitches) this year,” said Ms Gruet.
In his keynote speech, OIC Secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. said, “This is what the DICT is all about: cultivating a culture of innovation.”
 Launched by PSIA, SPRING.ph aims to be the industry platform to nurture, encourage, educate, and support the needs of Filipino software startups. To date, close to 50 companies (representing PSIA member and non-member companies) and 24 product teams have joined SPRING.ph.