PH TO EXPLORE TRADE OPPORTUNITIES WITH CUBA. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez (left) recently met (18 October) with Cuban Ambassador to the Philippines Ibete Fernandez Hernandez (right) to discuss possible cooperation between the Philippines and Cuba, exploring mutually beneficial points between two countries. As Cuba’s Universal Health Care System is globally recognized for its excellence and efficiency, Sec. Lopez discussed with the Cuban Ambassador the possible collaboration of two countries in the field of healthcare and service. Undersecretary Nora Terrado, likewise shared that the Philippines is one of the largest manufacturers of serums and syringes around the world. According to Secretary Lopez, Cuba’s strategic geographical location in Latin America could be an advantage for the Philippines to penetrate the South American market. “We are open to explore avenues of cooperation, and our companies here in the Philippines are actually keen on expanding their operations abroad,” said the trade chief. Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will soon form and facilitate Joint Committee with Cuba to explore more ways of intensifying cooperation between two countries.

German delegation to participate in DTI SlingShot ASEAN event

Startup Asia Berlin (SUAB), the German-Asian startup platform that aims to enable the professionalization and direct cooperation between startup ecosystems of Berlin, Manila, Bangalore and Jakarta, will conduct its second Asian roadshow from 19 to 28 October 2017.

For the Manila leg and SUAB’s first Asian stop, the 2017 roadshow delegates will be participating at Slingshot ASEAN on 20 October, where they will engage in panel discussions and workshops. Particularly, SUAB, in partnership with QBO and the UNDP, are spearheading the panel on social innovation – a discussion on how startups can create social impact.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through its representative office in Germany – the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC-Berlin), has been collaborating with Berlin Senate on various activities related to startup ecosystem development. The visit of DTI Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado to Berlin in March 2017 and the participation of DTI Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) Director Senen Perlada in the Asia Pacific Weeks Berlin in May 2017 facilitated the SUAB participation in Slingshot ASEAN.

Slingshot ASEAN 2017 organized by the DTI, aims to highlight the milestones of the startup community in the Philippines and across ASEAN. With the theme, “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World,” this summit will present a platform for new breed of businesses that are still in their preliminary phase.

The SUAB roadshow delegation is composed of eleven (11) participants from Berlin and five (5) participants from each of the partner ecosystems representing various sectors such as fintech, IoT (internet of things), digital health, 3D movie production, and social innovation, as well as coworking spaces, innovation hubs and incubators. The delegation will travel through Manila, Jakarta and Bangalore with a program of matchmaking, business visits, excursions and participation in various international start-up events and conferences.

The city of Berlin, currently counting 1,800-2,400 startups, ranks 7th in the 2017 Global Startup Ecosystem Report. Said report was conducted by Startup Genome LLC and ranked startup cities in terms of access to funding, extent of market research, talent availability and start up performance and experience.

The StartUp AsiaBerlin program partners include the Unit for International Cooperation of Berlin’s Ministry for Economic Affairs, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Impact Hub Manila, Indo-German Chamber of Commerce in Bangalore, and HI Indonesia. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

CDO EdTech Startup to represent PH in Start Jerusalem            

A startup from Cagayan de Oro will represent the Philippines all-expense paid in Start Jerusalem (Start JLM) on 5-11 November 2017 after besting four other local startups during the Pitch Jerusalem, a pitch competition for innovative technology-based startups, held at the QBO Innovation Hub in DTI International Building, Makati City last 9 October 2017.

Headed by Co-Founder John Vincent Fiel, Wela School Systems is an EdTech Startup which aims to lessen the faculty’s burden when it comes to academic reports.  The startup offers a cloud-based grading platform that would enhance the productivity of teachers by automating reports and reducing the use of unnecessary spreadsheets. Also, they created a system that provides a better workflow for educators.

In Wela’s way, Mr. Fiel explained that instead of making multiple excel sheets, users can reduce it to two sheets and upload it to their system. Wela will do all the reports that teachers need, including the report card of the students, list of honors, and certificates, among others. Using the system could help the educators finish their report requirements in two days from average of two weeks before. Basically, the main goal is to automate the teachers’ end- to-end process.

The startup is currently serving eight private schools in CDO, Mindanao and is currently scaling in Luzon and the Visayas. Aside from assisting the teachers, Wela School Systems also has a mobile application for parents to help them track their children’s attendance, homework, grades, and receive announcements from the school, among others.

Together with representatives of other winning startups worldwide, Wela will be part of the “boostcamp” with workshops and sessions designed to take their product or solution to the next level.

The pitch competition was presented by the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines, in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry – Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and QBO Innovation Hub and ICCP Platinum Sponsor, Dayanan Business Consultancy and Event Sponsors TrueLogic Online Solutions and Payoneer.

Among the 30 startups who submitted their applications for the PITCH Jerusalem, five were invited to present their pitch. Aside from Wela School Systems, the four other startups who presented were Enguest, JazzyPay, MachiBox, and Teratomo.

The panel of judges were composed of Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ICCP) President Itamar Gero, ICCP VP for External Affairs David Elefant, ICCP Director Sagiv Massad, and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – International Cooperation Assistant Secretary Dr. Leah Buendia. Embassy of Israel Deputy Consul General Yulia Rachinsky-Spivakov also graced the event.

Start JLM 2017 will gather startup founders around the world to explore and experience Jerusalem’s booming start-up ecosystem. The city has been recognized to be one of the emerging technology and innovation hubs around the world.

The pitch competition was presented by the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines, in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry – Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and QBO Innovation Hub and ICCP Platinum Sponsor, Dayanan Business Consultancy and Event Sponsors TrueLogic Online Solutions and Payoneer.

Prices of Noche Buena products remain stable – Sec. Lopez

Manila – Amidst reports of price adjustments of some brands of hams and cheese products, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reported the assurance of majority of producers that supply and prices of Noche Buena products such as pasta, sauce, bread, and hams remains stable.

DTI made the announcement after convening with manufacturers to check the price and supply situation of Noche Buena products. DTI annually meets with manufacturers of Noche Buena goods in preparation for the upcoming Yuletide season when demands are at its peak.

“Several manufacturers assured adequate supply and stability in prices for the coming season, mainly due to the very tight competition among various brands fighting for market shares,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

The trade chief shared that market competition has enabled businesses to do creative product promotions such as bundling and discounts for the whole package. For example, sauces were bundled with pastas and sold at more affordable prices.

“This is competition at play. Even in the ham category, products are so competitive that discounts are being given and several variants that serve different market segments are being offered with affordable pricing,” added Sec. Lopez.

Several meetings with Noche Buena product players also confirmed that there will be no price increase for pasta, sauces, cheese, ham, and canned tuna until December 2017.

On the other hand, a premium brand of bread increased its price by only one peso per loaf while other brands of bread have kept their prices stable as of October this year.

Trade Secretary Lopez encouraged consumers to use “e-Presyo”, an online based price monitoring platform, to be guided while buying their Noche Buena products for the Christmas Season


HAWAII STATE OFFICIALS CALL ON PH TRADE CHIEF. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) welcomed the delegation of Goodwill and Trade Mission of the State of Hawaii headed by Governor David Ige on 17 October. DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez presented Dutertenomics, as well as updates on the economic and industry sectors of the Philippines. The trade chief highlighted PH initiatives in providing opportunities and increasing the capacity of Filipinos as a long-term solution to poverty. Meanwhile, Gov. Ige shared his excitement for the PH programs and conveyed that the success of the Filipinos is important in strengthening the relationship among the PH, the State of Hawaii, and the United States in general. The visit also served as a venue for the delegates to inquire on the status of PH’s agricultural products particularly mangoes and to look into the country’s manufacturing industry. In the photo are (seated from L to R) DTI Director Senen Perlada, DTI Undersecretary Nora Terrado, Philippine Consulate General Honolulu Gina Jamoralin, DTI Sec. Lopez, Hawaii State Gov. Ige with his First Lady Dawn Amano Ige, and Hawaii State officials and members of the Filipino Chamber of Commerce in Hawaii