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Startups make case for Baguio’s rise as hub

TDT

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When one thinks of Baguio, three things usually come to mind: breezy weather, breathtaking mountain views, and the best produce. But in recent years, startups and local offices of regional tech companies have sprouted in different parts of the Philippines’ summer capital, making it more than just the vacation destination it has always been.

And why not? The city already has all the makings of a hub for startups. While the ecosystem in the city is actually still in its nascent stage, according to the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s startup mapping tool, talent in the city is on a higher scale, leaning more towards “established” status. This means there’s a stream of people who can run innovative, and tech-driven startups in the city; all they need is the support of stakeholders.

On the frontlines of this endeavor are the startups who are already established in the city. Indeed, to have set up long before the big guys come in is a noble effort on the part of the pioneers. These startups are not just establishing offices up in the mountains for the cool address, they’re blazing a trail, building that ecosystem, and enabling an environment for Filipino founders, creatives and innovators who may have the next big idea. Below are some of the pioneering names in Baguio’s startup ecosystem:

Bitshares Labs

One of Baguio’s trailblazers in the startup scene is Bitshares Labs. The business solutions startup specializes in blockchain-enabled systems and platforms. The startup may be the first of its kind in the city, offering customized enterprise solutions through the “Bitshare” ecosystem.
Based on its social media accounts, Bitshares Labs only launched this year, and yet already counts a number of cryptocurrency platforms as clients, including US-based companies Einyx Avenue and Computamatrix.

With Baguio as its home, surely, it’s only a matter of time before enterprises in the city and neighboring provinces call on the startup to help transform their business processes. And that’s an event that will have a transformative impact on the city’s and the Philippine North’s startup ecosystem.

1Punch Inc.

While it initially operated as a marketing and sales firm in 2017, 1Punch Inc. has since expanded its services to talent training with the launch of its e-learning platform Institute of Learning (IOL) early this year. The site offers short courses on accounting and business, designed to equip curious professionals with basic financing skills and to help aspiring accountants review for their licensure exams in a gamified manner.
It may be less than a year old, but the innovative platform has already won recognition from the business community, hailing as one of the top startups in the country at the 2019 Ideaspace Startup Competition.
Founded by Baguio and Benguet-based residents, 1Punch Inc. also ensures to give back to the community by hosting events for students and young professionals about some of the latest tech innovations like blockchain. Just this year alone, the startup has hosted a blockchain and entrepreneurship summit in Baguio City.

FullSuite

Another regional player that has Baguio as its headquarters address is business platform FullSuite. The business solutions platform assists enterprise owners in both financial and government compliance from providing accounting services to business registration assistance.

On top of its extensive list of services though, it has also made a name as a Silicon Valley-level enterprise with its benefits for its employees. As stated on its website, its employees enjoy flexible working hours and free lunches prepared by high-caliber chefs every day.

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